We got our permit

It took a few more days than planned, but Todd at Olson Kundig got the documentation together today. Gay went in to pick it up and take it to the Seattle DPD to get our permit.

Permitted to build!

The structural engineer had some concerns about the changes we were making and initially said we’d need to add three beams to the main floor, a floor we are trying not to disturb at all, and reinforce the concrete footings in the basement. He asked to see the existing structure in the walls and ceilings in the first floor and to see the basement foundation. Schuchart/Dow opened up a couple walls and dug into the basement floor to give him access. He did his math and determined that the existing house structure is good enough. It turns out that the main floor had two steel beams at the north and south walls of the foyer. This house sure was built well. How many houses built in 1909 have steel beams? The footings in the basement also are much deeper than they thought at first.

The structural engineer did require us to strengthen the rafters in the roof because we are adding insulation and drywall to the attic ceiling, which increases the load. And the garage requires a new steel beam because we are lowering the floor above the garage to use for storage and it will carry more weight. The existing steel beam is also very rusty due to water damage from a leaky roof.

The building permit doesn’t cover the garage because the permit clerk couldn’t find any documentation on the garage in the records for the house because it was built so long ago. Without that, he couldn’t be sure that we aren’t changing its original use or even that the garage is legally built. He approved the permit for the house only. He told Gay to go to the microfiche department to find old records of the garage. There was nothing on microfiche, but they did find a building permit for the garage in 1911 in the original Seattle ledger, a book that is practically disintegrating. So this should be adequate evidence to prove that the garage was legally built as a garage. The old permit application also mentions a greenhouse on top of the garage, so that may be enough to prevent it from being considered a “change of use”. Gay got an appointment with the planning review people for September 30 where we can try to get the permit for the garage and, hopefully, do it without a plan review and get it that day.

But at least we can do the work on the load-bearing walls in the house now. And once we get the final estimate from Schuchart/Dow for everything we’re doing, we can work on getting the construction loan.

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