6 posts / 0 new
Last post

I need to tear down two rooms and rebuild them but the city code say I can not tear them all the way down and build new because I would violate the codes. Right now I am grandfathered in. How can I repair the rooms without tearing them all the way down?:rolleyes:

A. Spruce
Re: Rooms

Rooms? I can't see the municipality having any problems with you doing whatever you want to rooms within a structure.

If you're referring to separate buildings, then yes, they often restrict what can be done. If you repair what is there, that is different than tearing down the structure and building anew. Remodels dictate that only what is being improved must be brought to code. If you demolish the structure and build new, then current codes apply to the entire structure, from the foundation to the roof covering.

Re: Rooms

Spruce's advice is good.

In most cases, replacing electrical, plumbing, insulation, or even wall surface (plaster/sheetrock) doesn't require submitting a comprehensive plan (a sketch will do); you'll just have to make sure it's "to code" before each phase of inspection.

However, any structural changes -- removing and adding walls, moving or changing the sizes of doors or windows -- may require submitting plans that have been reviewed by a structural engineer.

Remember that there will be several required inspections including but not limited to: rough mechanical (including plumbing, electrical, HVAC); structural; insulation; wallboard nailing (before taping/mudding!); final mechanical; final inspection. Any violations noted during an inspection must be corrected (and possibly reinspected) before work can progress. After a successful final inspection you will be issued an "occupancy permit" -- this is an official document that informs future buyers or tenants that the work was completed satisfactorily according to code.

The above inspections must be done in phases as the job progresses. For example, you can't do a rough plumbing inspection after the sheetrock is up. And you can't do a structural inspection before the plumbing, wiring, and HVAC are complete; the inspector wants to see that the structure hasn't been compromised by the other trades. In many areas you'll have to call different departments/inspectors depending on the system being inspected.

Re: Rooms

Codes and zoning regs change, but what is already existing is usually grandfathered. When you modify the exterior or structure, you generally are required to comform to current codes.
I worked on a project recently that would have required a fire rated wall along the property line. There was an existing large storefront window that wasn't rated of course. The owner wanted to replace all the single glazed storefront with new framing and insulated glass. We couldn't put in new glass and framing at that location, but could leave the old glass & framing in place because it was grandfathered. How much sense does that make?

Re: Rooms

I would like more specifics. I think Spruce is probably right in suspecting the poster is actually talking about structures, rather than walls within a structure. A structure could well have been built legally years ago on a concrete slab, but current codes would require a full foundation. Or it could be too close to a lot line. Not a safety issue, so it was grandfathered, but if the building is to be torn down, they would not allow it to stay in that location.

Re: Rooms

You need to say exactly what you mean by "tear down" and what you are planning to do.

Your building department may reject your ambitions, if they feel that they are no lnger "remodeling" but actually "new construction".

If you in doubt to where the border line is, consult an architect/draftsman who is familiar with your local codes.

One thing you don't want to do is violate your codes.

Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.