Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Once the plans for the structure and layout of the house were completed, the next step was to get it all ready for permitting. This is a rather tedious process involving describing every detail of the structure and surrounding areas. Pb Elemental spent October drawing out all the detailed plans.

During that time, a set of the plans were also submitted to a structural engineer. The structural engineer's job is to figure out what type of framing should go where and how it should be attached so that the house can stay upright and not fall apart or exhibit other unwanted behaviors.

One challenge the structural engineer had for this project was to figure out what was necessary to implement the cantilevered portion of the house. Before we submitted the project to engineering, we were debating whether or not there should be a post to support the cantilever. Once the engineer ran the numbers, he determined that it would require around $15-20K of structural steel to have a freestanding cantilever of that size! That result pretty much made the decision for us. Even with the post, there will be some steel I-beams in the house to support the structure, but much, much less of it.

As soon as the engineer and Pb were done with their work (around the end of October), a full-sized set of plans were submitted to the city (along with a ~$3k deposit from me), and then it was time to wait.

About a month and a half later (around mid December), the city came back with two minor corrections they wanted to the plans. The corrections were no big deal to make, so a week later we re-submitted. By mid-January (along with a second payment), we got issued permits from the city! Total elapsed time for permitting: about 2.5 months (including Christmas and New Years). Total cost to get permits: about $5K.

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