Building a ground level addition to your home is almost as complex a project as building a home. There are several major concerns when adding a ground level addition. Because the job is so complex and because so many building code and zoning regulations must be considered in the planning, an architect or building designer should be hired early in the process. You should, however, be certain that you know what you want before design work begins.
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The first major consideration in planning a ground level addition is to determine the best placement for the addition on your site or property. At this point the zoning regulations will dictate setbacks and may limit the size of the addition. Building code regulations may dictate some building materials and construction requirements, especially regarding the foundation. Your homeowners association or neighborhood organization might also place restrictions on the size and materials used for additions. Positioning the addition on the lot can be especially difficult if the land slopes. In addition to the zoning and building code regulations and the natural slope of the land, you must also consider how your addition will seamlessly join the existing house and what changes must be made to provide access from the house into the addition.
The second consideration is deciding what kind of foundation is appropriate. Your addition will need to be built a level with the existing house, whether it connects to the ground floor, basement or second floor. The way this will be accomplished on your property will determine the type of foundation needed for your addition. The size of your addition will also be an important factor in determining what type of foundation is appropriate. A small addition might be accomplished with a bump-out or with a post foundation –like the support for a deck. A larger addition will require either a full foundation or a slab-on-grade foundation. Contractor Selection Workbook
The third consideration is to create an addition is a perfect match for the existing structure. For example, a home built entirely of brick will need an addition built entirely of brick. Not only will your colors and style need to match, but also all materials. Windows, shutters, roof line, doors and the like will all need to be consistent with the existing home. It is also important to make the addition seamless in appearance. The shingles need to match the existing roof and the pitch of the roof must also match. Finally building the addition must also accommodate any imperfections in the way the existing structure was built. For example, if the floor is not perfectly level, adjustment will need to be made when the addition is built. If the rooms to which your addition will connect are not perfectly square, adjustments will need to be made as the addition is built.
The fourth consideration in your ground level addition is how it will connect with the rest of your house. You will need to consider not only where it will connect, and but also what changes must be made to the existing home to accommodate access to the addition. It might be necessary, for example, to add a hallway in the existing structure. Demolition will also require repairs to the existing structure and finishing work to make the addition appear seamless. 
The fifth consideration is how the construction work for your addition will affect your family life. You will also want to limit the number of inconveniences to the construction by continuing to live in a home. These questions will need to be discussed carefully and thoroughly with your contractor.
Many of the smaller details of a new living area will be relatively minor compared to these big questions. Taking the time to discuss these issues with your contractor and to make careful decisions, will make your entire project go faster and easier. If you pay attention to the major considerations when adding a ground level addition, you will eliminate many mistakes and later changes that cause both frustration and cost increases.
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