Hallelujah! After what we thought was a permanent setback to our permit application process, we had a breakthrough when it turned out that the consultant who reviewed our plans (and listed numerous additional things we'd have to submit) was just a stopgap measure until the new township inspector, G, started. And G's first day was the day that Ken happened to choose to go into the office to find out what the heck all the new requirements were for. He knew many of the things the consultant had listed weren't required for residential properties in Pennsylvania. Lo and behold, G gave us a pass on almost all the notes from the consultant. The only thing we absolutely had to do was provide a structural analysis that showed the existing building can withstand the load of a second story. I guess that makes sense. I kinda want to know that, too.
Ken cracked open some structural engineering books, talked to some structural engineers at work, and found a software online that allowed him to plug in info about the house structure and then spit out the calculations he needed. It took some brain grease, but he ultimately cranked out the analysis the township wanted. And lucky for us, it said the house could withstand the second-story addition. I thought it would be cool if the software would show a video of a crumbling house if your answer was that the building couldn't handle another story, but it wasn't that cool. Just kicked out "Structure is adequate," which felt kind of, well, inadequate, but it was all we needed for the inspector's office.
When Ken went last Thursday morning to hand in that paperwork, the inspector handed him our permits. He'd had them put through since he knew Ken would ultimately submit what was needed. We left on a short vacation that morning simultaneously thinking, "We're doing this!" and "We're doing this?!" We're sort of still at the same stage right now. That point where we know we're about to get underway with an enormous mostly-DIY project, but we haven't yet begun.
Unless you count the fact that I just ordered a truckload or two of building supplies through 84 Lumber, which sort of commits us to this whole set of shenanigans, I suppose. While I'm mentioning our supplier, let me just give a shout-out to Gene O at 84 Lumber in Claymont, Delaware. He was unfailingly helpful to Ken when he needed truss diagrams and take-offs throughout our permit and budgeting processes, and since we had planned to order--and now have ordered--all our lumber, siding, and windows through them, he gave us a break on pricing. Compared to Home Depot's prices for the same items and quantities, it looks like we saved roughly 10-12%. So big thanks to Gene, who now is probably on his way to Hawai'i to retire on the commission he just made on our staggering order.
In one to three weeks all those supplies will show up at our doorstep, and we'll have piles of stuff everywhere--in the garage, in the yard, in the family room maybe. I'll be sure to get some pictures of that mess for posterity and post them here. And I'll start this weekend with taking our "before" pictures since our deck's days are numbered (3 at most). Come Monday we expect an excavator to be making a gigantic hole in the earth under where the deck currently resides, so said deck needs to vamoose, and we will help it along this weekend.
Progress, people! Progress! Now I'm off to Home Depot's nursery section to buy a few money trees so I can get those good and established before the next time we have to order stuff.