By Narisa Lin
Purchasing a home is a sign of an important milestone in our lives and a major investment too. If done incorrectly, the consequences can be disastrous.
GC Square USA is a full service architectural and design firm located in Bellevue, Washington. They have completed a myriad of residential and commercial projects around the greater Seattle area and California, such as the Washington Place Hotel, Tacoma Marriott Hotel, Yesler Terrace, and more. Besides their building and interior works they also conduct a preliminary feasibility study for developers and do visual identity design.
Yang Liu, the designated architect in the office and Jing Li, the founder of the office, share insightful information for Seattle homeowners, showcasing their knowledge of the city’s codes of conduct and design.
One major problem they identified was that a lot of people are unaware that they require permits to reconstruct their houses and it often leads to a violation notice.
“We want to encourage homeowners to understand and not try to avoid getting a permit from the city,” said Liu. There are different types of permits for the various construction works ranging from building, fire regulatory, to mechanical permits. They strongly suggest for you to double check with the city’s permit website. Along with permits, there are building inspections to ensure that everything is in compliance with the city’s building codes.
Liu and Li advise Seattle first time homeowners to always check if their house is situated in an environmentally critical area, for example, wetlands that provide habitat for wildlife and fish and protect water quality. They explain how these areas can sometimes be underground and not visible to us, so it’s crucial to talk to professionals and use online resources such as the online map tool. This ECA code could largely restrict the development to your house.
Lastly, they recommend people to chat with professionals before the construction process so that way, it would be right from the start and you would decrease the risk of losing money on correcting the previous work.
Purchasing a place to call your own comes with a lot of challenges but can be a lifelong fulfillment if you do it right.