Already Built Construction Permit

This client came to us needing an Already Built Construction Permit for their house in Renton, Washington.  The house was remodeled several times without a building permit over the last 25 years, and to sell it, all the work was required to be brought into compliance.

The primary issue with getting a permit, revolved around the Washington State Energy Code.  The contractor did not insulate the master bedroom and living room addition well enough to pass inspections.  The permit jurisdiction is King County, since the house is located outside the Renton city limits.  King County Department of Permitting and Environmental Review were very helpful by letting us submit under the energy code that was in place at the time the remodeling started.

We started by drawing the existing conditions of the property.  In most cases, this would constitute the “as-builts” or the “before” condition of the project.  For this project, this set of drawings represented the proposal we wanted to bring into compliance with the energy code from 1991.

The submittal requirements included having all the floor plans at 1/4″ = 1′-0″.  The elevations are at 1/8″ = 1′-0″, but the section cuts are at the larger 1/4″ = 1′-0″.  We were also required to provide a wall section at 1/2″ = 1′-0″ detailing relevant structural and environmental data.

As part of the submittal, we did a calculation that added up the thermal values of floors, walls, and ceilings in the area that we wanted to permit as heated space.  There was enough insulation in the floor, and in the ceiling, but not in the walls.  Additionally, there was no way to verify the thermal values for all the windows and doors in this space.

In the absence of window and door data, the King County forms for Already Built Construction Permits, require that a large number be used to represent them in this calculation.  This was a big hurdle to bringing the construction into compliance so that they could sell the house.

Ultimately, we proposed all new windows and doors for the addition, thereby bringing down that number in the environmental calculations, and just making up for the R-13 rated walls, which should be at least R-21.


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