Home Addition

Hi David,

I have a question on a home addition.

I want to add around 200 square feet to my existing 3 bedroom, 1Bath 1953 single family ranch house.

I want to make an existing bedroom into a master suite and add a bathroom and walk-in closet.

I am planning to knock down two existing walls and max out on the setbacks on the two sides in an L shape, basically adding 5 feet on one side and 8 feet on other side of the existing bedroom.

My main question is, is it just enough to hire an architect/contractor for a project like this?

Or, do I need a structural engineer as well? Totally lost here…BTW this is in the city of San Jose, CA.

I am also worried of the structure of the roof, beam support especially as I am building on both sides of an existing home.

Any particular questions that I should be asking or points I should discuss with the city/architect or contractor?

Your response is much appreciated as we are under tremendous stress in understanding the process of doing this home addition.

Thanks in advance,


I spent several years working for architects in San Carlos and San Mateo, just a few exits up the peninsula from you, so I have a good idea what you're headed into.

If there are any structural questions (and it sounds like there are), you're going to need a structural engineer. Unless you already know an architect or an engineer, it can be difficult to hire one for a small project like yours.

I would start by looking for a contractor who specializes in remodel work. Ask your neighbors or friends if they can recommend someone, or drive around the neighborhood and look for construction activity. A good contractor is likely to have an ongoing relationship with an architect or an engineer which will help keep things under control.

Good luck,
David Moore
David Moore, AIA
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