LA Living: What You Should Know About Remodeling Your Home in LA

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There’s plenty of reasons to remodel, which explains why nine out of ten homeowners plan to remodel their house. And two-thirds of those homeowners plan to do so within the next two years. 

Remodeling your home can be overwhelming. But as long as you’re prepared, well educated, and have a solid team by your side, home renovations can be as smooth as butter.

If you live in beautiful Los Angeles, there a few things to know before you remodel. Let’s examine the top four things homeowners should know when remodeling their LA homes.

1. You’re Gonna Need a Permit For That

Renovation permits seem like a headache for Los Angeles homeowners. But if you do your research and prepare ahead of time, you should be able to obtain all necessary permits without any problems.

Permits are designed to protect homeowners. Remodeling without a permit is considered illegal construction. Unpermitted construction leads to problems that affect the home’s resale worth as well as the value of neighboring properties. Illegal construction also creates issues with insurance and compromises the community’s safety.

LA residents require permits for most home remodeling projects that alter a home’s structure. According to the Los Angeles Public Works, permits are needed for:

  • New buildings
  • Home improvements
  • Building additions
  • Remodels and renovations
  • Adding new or expanding electrical, plumbing, or mechanical items
  • Grading work
  • Miscellaneous items (such as fences, pools, walls, decks, and fireplaces)

When planning your remodel, budget in extra time to obtain the permit. Permits can take weeks to months to be approved. Permits take longer when numerous people apply for them. Spring and summer are some of the most popular times for home renovations, so try to get your permit requests completed during the off-season to speed things up.

If you’re undergoing home renovations, your hired contractor is usually the person who obtains the permit. In certain cases, the property owner may retrieve the permit. 

Construction permits can be obtained from LA’s Building and Safety District Office. Residents may also apply for permits online using the Los Angeles Electronic Permitting and Inspection website.

2. Draft a Realistic Timeline and Budget

The planning stage is one of the most important steps of a successful home remodel. It’s essential to work with your contractor to develop a realistic timeline, budget, and set of expectations while your home is under construction.

Before you move forward with any remodeling plans, sit down with your contractor to set up a practical renovation schedule. This should break down everything the contractor will be doing into a logical timeline. Make sure you and your contractor agree to the schedule. Use the timeline as a reference throughout your renovation.

Next, adjust your schedule to best work with your renovation plans. Let everyone in the home know what to expect during the remodel. Some rooms may be blocked off and unable to be used, which is important to factor into your daily routine.

Finally, don’t forget to budget money as well as time. Get a clear understanding of what your total investment will look like, then budget a little extra for backup. Your contractor should supply an estimate of what your final cost will be. If expenses increase during the renovation, your contractor should let you know.

While reviewing timelines and budgets, establish a contract with your construction team. The contractor might have their own contract, but homeowners should have one as well. Your contract should review your expectations for your construction team to follow while on your property. The more communication with your contractor, the smoother your home renovation will go.

3. Consider Seismic Retrofitting

Anyone living in the city of angels knows they may experience an earthquake, or multiple, at some point. Each year, California usually experiences two to three earthquakes that are magnitude 5.5 or higher. Seismic forces of that capacity can lead to structural damage in buildings.

Seismic retrofitting techniques, also referred to as earthquake engineering, prevent damage to your property from seismic forces. Upgrading existing structures with seismic retrofitting can make them more resilient to earthquakes.

Seismic retrofitting seeks to:

  • Protect buildings and people from earthquake-related damage
  • Reduce hazard and losses of non-structural elements
  • Strengthen buildings in earthquake-prone areas

Older buildings and homes are strongly urged to undergo seismic retrofitting. While renovating your home, consider incorporating a few seismic retrofit techniques to increase your home’s safety, strength, and durability.

4. Don’t Forget About Title 24

California is a state devoted to decreasing our environmental impact. Title 24 is a building code that sets eco-friendly standards for construction projects. Title 24 limits wasteful energy consumption in new and existing buildings across the state.

Home remodeling that affects a building’s heating, cooling, and water symptoms must adhere to Title 24’s requirements. This includes home renovations like adding doors, replacing windows, or inserting insulation to a home.

Title 24 has been in place in California since the 1970s. It is updated every three years to reflect modern changes and technologies. 

Whoever is responsible for your home renovation must submit all appropriate documents to your local building authorities. This includes a variety of certifications and verifications to prove your updates comply with Title 24. If you hire a contractor or architect, they should handle Title 24 compliance on your behalf.

As a homeowner, keep Title 24 in mind when designing your remodel. Title 24 may restrict residents or require homeowners to incorporate alternative energy sources into their plans. Overall, Title 24 has been successful for California. Residents find energy efficiency leads to lower energy costs, increased comfort, and an enhanced interior environment.

Are You Remodeling Your Home?

The time has come to transform your house into the home of your dreams. LA homeowners need to keep a few things in mind, like permits and regulations. But as long as Californians are prepared, there’s nothing to worry about during your home remodel. 

Remodeling your home is easier than ever. Thanks to our team, we’ll take all of the stress off your next home construction project. Click here to contact us and learn more about our services for LA homeowners.