Expert Q&A: How To Plan an Addition or New Construction


This month we are talking with Tony Edwards, NCLGC and owner of AG’s Home Solutions about the planning process for an addition to your home or building a new home.

Q) Tony, what is the first thing a homeowner needs to do when planning an addition or new construction?

A) The homeowner should contact the local zoning department/health department (if it’s on a septic tank) and make sure they are able to add the addition. Depending on the municipality you are building in, you may be required to have a survey done. Greenville, Winterville and Washington all have different requirements. For smaller projects, it can take a couple of weeks to develop plans. On more complex projects it can take 4 to 6 weeks or even longer.  It helps if the homeowner has a realistic budget in mind or sets a budget with the builder. Make sure the builder and architect/draftsman collaborate on the design. When the builder and designer work together in the beginning it can save questions and changes during the construction phase. We recommend working with Michael Moore at Designco Construction for residential construction plans. He is our featured supplier in this month’s newsletter.

Q) How long does the planning/drawing phase take, and how much does it cost?

A) Depending on how complicated the design is or how decisive (or indecisive) the owner is can determine the time it will take to complete the design. Cost can vary again depending on the complexity of the design or the changes the owner makes. It also varies if we can layout your kitchen and bath in house ($500 - $800 and up), or if we rely on our design partners for more detailed technical drawings ($1,200 and up). The cost for a full remodel or new construction design is based on heated square feet and can start around $2,000 and up. 

Q) Once the plans are finalized, what is next?

A) Once the design is finished, the builder can prepare a detailed estimate or proposal. This can take a couple of weeks depending on how many tradespeople are involved in providing quotes. The customer will also need to make selections of finishes and then enter into a contract with the builder. After signing the contract, the builder can pull permits which can take two to four weeks.

Q) Do all additions require permits?

A) YES! Building permits may seem like an unwanted hassle, but they are required to protect the homeowner. Having the peace of mind that comes with knowing all work has passed inspection is invaluable. Whoever you hire to do your additions or renovations make sure they are a fully licensed and insured general contractor. You can probably get it done cheaper by others, but you are losing all the protection that a Licensed General Contractor offers. Want to research your contractor? You can do so by clicking HERE.