Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Building plan approved

Finally! The building plan that we submitted to the Alameda County Building Department has been approved. It was a pretty involved process, lots of meetings with the plans inspector, title 24 calculations and the like. Once I submitted the plans for approval it took about two weeks for them to review and approve. I have building permits in-hand today!

Makes me wonder why so many people even bother doing renovations without pulling permits. The premise of the purchase of this house was that the rear addition was possibly not approved by the Alameda County building department. I requested the old file, where I found a wealth of information related to the original building and the addition as well. The job card for the rear addition was complete, and the inspections were signed off as expected. It was confusing, since the original addition building plan application (dated 1961) showed a much smaller addition. However, when all the flooring and walls were removed, it is obvious that the foundation is a single-pour running the entire perimeter of the room, which implies that it was always this big, just not reflected on the building plan.

Upon further discussion with the AC building inspector, since the house is in unincorporated AC, and since it was 1961, the attitude was way more laid back than in some other areas. Chances are that the plan changed once the addition was begun, and new plans were never submitted. Good to know. Now, however, the plans will reflect the true size of the house.

Pouring the Foundation walls

The cripple wall along the entire North side of the house was sitting on a rotten sill plate. The sill plate was under grade at least six inches in some places, which led to water seepage and the eventual rotting of all the framing members. How was this house still standing?


The most logical solution was to remove the cripple wall, drill and epoxy rebar into the existing concrete T-forms and do a new pour up to the level of the floor joists. Let the fun begin. The first step was to create beams to support the house while the cripple wall was removed. (Not that the cripple wall was actually doing anything in it's current state, I suspect that the stucco was the structural support here).


Forms up, concrete poured...

And, the finished product...
Note the rough-out for ventilation, we will be inserting some sort of MCM-themed block here.

Holmes on Homes

Just because I find this guy intolerable, here's a little tribute.

Serbs throwing things through windows.

Week Five, heavy demolition completed

Moldy floor joists in the back room

Weeks Three and Four

Weeks Three and Four slowed down a bit. Christmas holidays, the visit of family, those sorts of fun things that kept us away from the house. On Dec 26th, Mary and Kuki (inlaws) and Tasha and I went over to do some cleanup. It was great to have the help, and I think that they were thrilled to be able to be outside doing some yardwork. Mary was complaining of the heat, but we are never sure if it is a hot flash or actually related to the external temperature. Kuki attacked the beast of a Firethorn bush that was taking over the front of the house. Maybe there is room for a Firethorn in our yard, but the thought of having to argue with that monstrous bush while replacing the dining room and bedroom windows was too much to handle.

Week Two, more demo and some landscaping

The demolition continues. I've met a lot of the neighbors, who all seem very nice. They told me that the previous tenants in our house were likely drug dealers, and that the owners removed eight 20ton dumpsters of garbage before they listed the house on the market. Since that time, I've removed two 30ton dumpsters of rotten floors, moldy drywall, hardwood flooring with pets stains.  At the end of the second week I developed a rather nasty cough, most likely due to the dust and mold. I bought a good respirator, and several gallons of bleach. I've since then sprayed the whole house, walls, floors, framing members, etc down with bleach and let it sit for a few days while I was at work. The house smells better now, but I still have a lot of work to do.

Tasha and I worked at the house this weekend, which consisted of some yardwork and demo.
Can I just take this opportunity to marvel at the fact that in mid-December we are picking fruit off the trees and planting flowers in our yard? We both grew up in a cold climate, so we aren't used to this. It is very nice.