Comments0 by in House Extensions
August 15, 2014
Does a Builder Need Access to the Existing Structure?

Home extensions are a very big emotional and financial investment. You also have to take the time factor into consideration if you are going to be very closely involved in all the decision-making. The one way of being shielded from any ugly surprises is to know what is expected before you embark upon the project; it will help you prepare for it in a much better way.

Apart from all the questions about planning, design, materials, schedules and costs, if you are adding a room or two or even an entire second floor to the existing structure, you will need to know whether the builder will need access to your home. By knowing what areas the builder will need access to, at what time and for how long can greatly speed up the completion of your home extension.

The Specifics:

When structural work of this scale is being carried on in your home, it is ideal to actually go and live in a different place for the duration of that project if possible. Masonry and carpentry work can get very noisy and it can be very difficult to live in a house when construction work is in progress.

The times when a builder will need access to the existing dwelling are:

  • Second Floor: In most cases, if you are adding a floor, the contractor will tell you that they will not require access till the point of time a stairwell is being created and installation of the stairs has to be completed. But this is something you will have to confirm at the outset.
  • Ground Floor: If the extension is on the ground floor, the only time they will need access is when they have to remove an external wall to create connecting doorways/spaces to the new rooms.

Cordoning-Off the Area:

If your building contractor is going to need access to the existing structure, you will need to know how they are going to protect your property and ensure that there is no damage or excessive dirt. It is best to have this conversation before the actual work begins and any demolition takes place.

The Considerations:

If you are going to be living in the house while the work is in progress, provision should be made for moving through the rooms. The things that you should be worried about are:

  • Dust: Even if elaborate Zip Walls are put up, fine dust can get through the smallest of cracks and before you know it, there will be a fine layer of dust everywhere. If possible, have your contractor close-off the area where the construction is taking place, from the rest of your home. A good compression-fit temporary wall should be constructed. This will also help in keeping out insects and other pests. Air handlers or running air-filtering systems can pull out the dust from areas that are not under construction.
  • Heating & cooling: If possible, heat your house without using your air-conditioning system. Alternatively, you can block out the cold or hot weather inside the construction area, or else the dust from that section will simply get pulled into the air-conditioning system and spread to the rest of the house.
  • Noise: This will be incessant. Scratching Sheet-rock sanders, whining saws & thumping nail guns will jam with bellowing compressors. In simple words, you will have very little peace and quiet, which can be torture for someone who works from home.

The New Look

The one big way of keeping a check on the noise and dust pollution is to ensure that the builder stays out of the house until the point that it is really imperative for the construction team to come in to the existing structure to complete the work. And so, before you pull out that sledgehammer, give a thought to all of the points above. It will afford you some peace of mind and help you maintain your sanity even as your dream house gets a makeover!

Have a great week and thanks for reading.

Shane Caldwell
0414 446 572

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