Starting a new home improvement project can be very exciting for homeowners. Whether you are preparing for your first project or are a veteran to the process there are several steps to keep in mind as you begin to plan. From landscaping to home additions the following tips will help your next project run as smoothly as possible.
1) Familiarize yourself with your property lines and applicable zoning and building regulations. The zoning and size of your lot has a major impact on the kind of projects that can be completed on your property. Factors such as the size of your completed project or the use of a detached structure, for example, are affected by such coding and ordinances and a project must comply with them in order to be approved by the city.
2) Get to know your neighborhood guidelines. Many, but not all, residential communities have their own set of design guidelines to maintain architectural integrity and unity. Such guidelines standardize such characteristics as residential styles, materiality and size, among others. Some projects may even require approval from your local homeowner’s association. Check your homeowner’s manual for the information you need. Study the trends of your neighborhoods (style, color, size, etc.) and develop your project accordingly.
3) Put it on paper. Whether they are floor plans, sketches, or photographs of similar finished projects, having visual references for your idea will help you realize your vision. Oftentimes, it is beneficial to consult with a professional or someone with experience in your type of project to receive feedback and helpful suggestions.
4) Secure a permit from the City. The city of Virginia Beach requires building permits for a number of kinds projects, including but not limited to detached structures, additions and pool installation. Visit the Department of Planning page:
Planning and Community Development
5) Prepare your site. Be sure to take all necessary safety precautions in building your project.
6) Begin your project! As you construct, employ green building and renovation techniques to reduce the impact of your home improvement on the environment.