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Old 09-21-2010, 01:56 PM   #1
SL6RAM
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Default Reusing an existing foundation

I have question about reusing an existing foundation. I know the answer to my question will vary greatly depending on the town/state/etc. However, when I called the building department they wanted me to give my name address etc. I don't want to give them any details yet because I'm afraid of the repercussions. Anyway, I have a 30' by 60' barn that was built about 70 years ago on a poured foundation. I had a concrete guy inspect the foundation and he said it looks good. He explained that it might not be below the frost line (42" here in CT) but there are no signs of frost damage. I would like to tear the building down (rotted sills, collapsed walls/roof, etc) and rebuild on the existing foundation. Do you guys think the town will allow me to reuse the foundation? Will I have to dig around the foundation and prove it's 42" deep and the correct thickness etc? Thanks in advance
Joe
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Old 09-21-2010, 02:13 PM   #2
Ryland
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Default Re: Reusing an existing foundation

A friend of mine "Fixed an existing structure" by replacing sections at time but always leaving some of the original structure intact until the very end.
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Old 09-21-2010, 02:31 PM   #3
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Default Re: Reusing an existing foundation

Rebuilding on a part of an old foundation is a common method of building "new" cottages on lots that could not be built on under current laws. Many old time cottages were built much closer to the water than the current 100 meter setbacks but as long as a part of the original foundation is used, it is considered to be a rebuild rather than new construction. (At least here in Ontario.)
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Old 09-21-2010, 02:37 PM   #4
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Default Re: Reusing an existing foundation

That is a tuff question, you never know what the city guys are going to say. I think you should do a bit of excavating on your own to see how deep the foundation is. The footprint is going to be the same as existing but is the structure going to be different in other ways, like are you adding a loft or second story area etc. If not, like ryland said, just replace it section at a time.
Good luck
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Old 09-21-2010, 02:44 PM   #5
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Default Re: Reusing an existing foundation

Thanks for the input. Maybe I'll try digging near the foundation by hand to get a better idea of how deep it goes. Rebuilding a section at a time isn't really an option. Here are some pictures. The new building would have 12 foot walls and a 6/12 pitch truss roof.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Barn2.jpg (143.5 KB, 24 views)
File Type: jpg Barn4.jpg (144.4 KB, 22 views)
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Old 09-21-2010, 02:44 PM   #6
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Default Re: Reusing an existing foundation

It is possible but they are going to want to see a lot of it exposed and will want core samples and analysis or at least they did on a project we did in NJ. In the end we put in new because of time restraints. The only other exception is I believe if it was done under a permit and you can get the relevant history. Just remember the planning Nazis are out to justify their jobs and make the county money.
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Old 09-21-2010, 02:48 PM   #7
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Default Re: Reusing an existing foundation

I have a feeling it's going to be a headache to use the old foundation. It's too bad because it's been there 70+ years and is in really good shape. I'll just have to call the town and see what they say.
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Old 09-22-2010, 06:55 AM   #8
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Default Re: Reusing an existing foundation

You don't always have to do section by section for a rebuild... As long as the result resembles (size for example) the original building, and there was some part of the original building that was left, you may be good. But, you eventually will have to ask the 'right' people. I'd recommend someone (probably a lawyer) who knows the local government and how they do things. That may limit your repercussions if you do decide to go.

Just never phrase this as a new building--instead call it a 'restoration' or 'rebuild' or just a 'repair'.
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Old 09-22-2010, 07:05 AM   #9
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Default Re: Reusing an existing foundation

id call it a repair/improvement and state that your main concern is safety as the existing building is unsafe, and no longer stable
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Old 09-22-2010, 07:27 AM   #10
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Default Re: Reusing an existing foundation

Glad I asked the question here first. This is good advise. I think the key words when i go to the building department are going to be safety, restoration, repair, and improve.
thanks again everyone,
Joe
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Old 09-22-2010, 07:27 AM   #11
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Default Re: Reusing an existing foundation

When I had our has built in NJ in 1994 I didn't have the money to finish the attached two garage everything was done and inspected block walls,foundation and pad all I had to do was the stick framing and finish it was all inspected by the township when I went to finnish it 2 years ago i had to dig around the whole foundation exposing everything and get a engineer to write a report on it to get my permit keep in mind it's still the same inspector that did all the original inspections and final CO what a hassle.
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Old 09-22-2010, 08:47 AM   #12
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Default Re: Reusing an existing foundation

just go for a re-roofing permit, and go to it.
I have heard over and over its much easier to repair/improve than to get a new build... i am interested in this as we have a foundation for a building that the previous owner took down and sold, id like to put up another building using the old foundation.
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Old 09-22-2010, 08:53 AM   #13
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Default Re: Reusing an existing foundation

My only fear is that I get a permit to re-roof or repair, then when they come out they see that's not the case and make me tear it down. I will resuse some of the existing structure. Alot of the framing can and will be reused. hopefully this won't be a problem.

By the way, does anyone know of a good way to get rid of the existing building. One company wanted $11K the other wanted $7K. The barn is empty.

Joe
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Old 09-22-2010, 09:20 AM   #14
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Default Re: Reusing an existing foundation

Quote:
Originally Posted by SL6RAM View Post
By the way, does anyone know of a good way to get rid of the existing building. One company wanted $11K the other wanted $7K. The barn is empty.

Joe

Call your local fire department and see if they'll burn it down. Seriously. In my home town they used an old house on church property for training. They set it ablaze and put it out several times before letting it burn down to the foundation.

Also, you probably need a permit for demolition as well. But that's a good thing as you'll be able to ask for a re-assessment to lower your property taxes.
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Old 09-22-2010, 09:24 AM   #15
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Default Re: Reusing an existing foundation

I have a buddy that is on the local fire department. They won't burn it down for liability reasons and because of it's location. Thank you for the idea though.
For $7K I could just burn it piece by piece.
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Old 09-22-2010, 09:30 AM   #16
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Default Re: Reusing an existing foundation

Do a search for selling barn wood. It is a commodity. You might not get much or anything beyond the removal and cleanup...and be sure to negotiate the cleanup, but you might be able to broker your headache away.

Of course, with the recession and lack of building finding a buyer might not be a quick or simple process but its worth checking into.
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Old 09-22-2010, 09:37 AM   #17
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Default Re: Reusing an existing foundation

How old is it? Some of those old barns are built with lumber that people now will pay good money for, i.e. oversize beams, rough hewn logs, etc., especially there in the northeast. (I've been watching This Old House!) I think those places are called architectural salvage yards.
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Old 09-22-2010, 09:40 AM   #18
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Default Re: Reusing an existing foundation

It's about 70 years old, all stick built. I was told that it would be worth something if it was post and beam and or it had "barn board" siding. The siding is a lap siding, that's about 4" wide. I'll still look into it though, some of the lumber is still good. It would just be alot of work to take all the nails out, etc.
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Old 09-22-2010, 09:45 AM   #19
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Default Re: Reusing an existing foundation

Flooring is commonly made from the siding. I think the nails are left in to give it character. Heres a couple of places that might be near you...

http://www.woodwood.com/

http://www.reclamationlumber.com/

Might be worth checking into.
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Old 09-22-2010, 09:49 AM   #20
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Default Re: Reusing an existing foundation

thanks for the links JamieK, i'll check that out. I didn't realize places like that were so close.
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