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Hey Y'all, we have the motorhome at the shop, and Mrs LSG wants us to stay closer to the grandkids for a few years. So we have been looking at houses near the kids / grands and our synagogue. Also looking at houses to put on the burn site of our former home. Well still have the well & septic there. One of my ideas was to build an apartment above our 3 car garage. So, Mrs and I are wondering about good layouts for a 12' x 36' space upstairs of garage. We have 200 amp power to garage, and LOTS of headroom, and four dormers that are 54" wide and stick out 48". Just need 1 bedroom apartment for 2. Is this enough room ? Ideas ? LSG
 

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Hemi, our burn site and garage are way out of town, and in a township with no zoning. Anything goes. LSG
There may be no zoning, but building code still probably applies. There is a minimum square footage requirement, and if you have dormers I'm guessing you probably have a cape cod-style second floor. Note any square footage under the ceiling angles at which the height is less than 52" does not count towards square footage. Check minimum ceiling height clearances as well.

Other considerations are where your plumbing and sewer lines will run, as well as ducting. For a space that small, I'd HIGHLY recommend looking into ductless minisplits (aka heat pumps with capacity to heat and cool). My 750 sq foot second floor which is cape cod style, brand new (2 br, 1 foyer, 1 full bath) is heated and cooled entirely by two minisplit heads (cassettes). They have no problem keeping it toasty or very cool, and are very energy efficient.
 

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That is a mini/split heat/ad unit in the ceiling. Pretty much flush mounts and the flaps open when fan is on...14'x36' if you take out the width of the steps coming up on one end..
 

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There may be no zoning, but building code still probably applies.
As Lizer posted, there has to be some sort of building code requirement. I tend to lump zoning and code together, sorry for the confusion. My first stop would still be whatever local agency is responsible for this type of structure. No sense in ruminating about it if it's not allowed.
 

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Hemi, Lizer, Bosss, going to go measure height tomorrow. I think my dormers will qualify to add for floor space, but it may have to be considered an exceptionally nice garage rather than an apartment. Not sure about the building code, the structure is already there, I don't have to 'build' or 'construct' anything. Already have electric, water, and septic. But the township has a 2 bedroom and 640 sq ft minimum. I'll be 506.

I'll have to consider the electric code. My former home was code compliant when redone in 2000, but an electrical problem, perhaps from lightning, burned it. Want to be better protected next time. I'm thinking up to date circuit breakers, lightning arrestors, that sort thing.

Also want to have swing-up stairs, so I can use my block & tackle for lifting things upstairs. Looking at fire escape at the windows Lots to figure out.

And those A/C heaters are exactly what I had in mind. Bosss, your daugter setup looks nice. LSG
 

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Maybe this doesn't really apply here...When building a log home, we first poured a slab and built a 2 car garage and instead of hanging garage doors in the open lentils, we built studded walls with windows that bolted in. Lived in that as a one bedroom with living room and kitchen / laundry and single bath for a bit. When the cabin was done, out came the bolts, down came those 2 wall panels, in went two garage doors and the rest is history.
 

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That is a mini/split heat/ad unit in the ceiling. Pretty much flush mounts and the flaps open when fan is on...14'x36' if you take out the width of the steps coming up on one end..
Yep, that was the first thing I spotted!
 

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Hemi, Lizer, Bosss, going to go measure height tomorrow. I think my dormers will qualify to add for floor space, but it may have to be considered an exceptionally nice garage rather than an apartment. Not sure about the building code, the structure is already there, I don't have to 'build' or 'construct' anything. Already have electric, water, and septic. But the township has a 2 bedroom and 640 sq ft minimum. I'll be 506.
One of the reasons for dormers is exactly that--to increase square footage within the structure. Building code doesn't just apply to if you're 'building' something, it dictates HOW something must be built AND designed and it covers almost everything. For example:
  • Requirements on stairs, minimum width (32"), riser height, and riser depth. Must have railing with minimum height, and the railing must have a return to the wall so clothing doesn't get snagged on the end of it
  • Minimum distances between a toilet and adjacent fixtures, minimum space in front of a toilet, minimum overhead clearance in front of a toilet, and minimum clearance in a shower. Minimum clearances go from the center of the fixture.
  • Width of doors
  • Egress windows--even second story bedrooms must have an egress window, don't remember exact specification but thought it was something like 5.7 sq ft minimum of glass--basically the size required for a firefighter with oxygen tank to be able to get through the window. Windows have a minimum sill height too.
  • Width of hallways (must be minimum 32" wide)
I spell out these random things just to give you an idea of how varied and far-reaching the residential building code is. The second floor in my cape cod was completely unfinished. Not even framed, no wiring, no insulation, nothing. I started at the floor joists and worked up from there. Read every page of the residential building code, read every page of the NEC for residential. Built everything on that myself, did all the wiring myself, plumbing and mechanical were contracted. Everything done under permit as well. I had to study all of that so I could design it, and design it to be within code. Every room I designed had its own considerations to be considered to be within code compliance. My brother is an architect so I can leverage that resource as needed, and I have master electricians and plumbers in the family I can leverage for information as well. But, if you want to do it to the code, there's a lot to consider. Even if you want to do it to code and never have it inspected, it's still good practice as much of what the code stipulates is 'best practice.'

I'll have to consider the electric code. My former home was code compliant when redone in 2000, but an electrical problem, perhaps from lightning, burned it. Want to be better protected next time. I'm thinking up to date circuit breakers, lightning arrestors, that sort thing.
Probably not a whole lot else you could have done there. Breakers are still the same though arc fault breakers are now required by NEC--IF your jurisdiction goes by NEC. Michigan does NOT because arc fault breakers could add $400-700 to the cost of the panel, and the electrical contractors complained, so that requirement went out.

Also want to have swing-up stairs, so I can use my block & tackle for lifting things upstairs. Looking at fire escape at the windows Lots to figure out.
Would absolutely not be allowed for entry to a living space. It would also cause an egress issue.
 

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Of codes don’t allow for an “apartment”, just build a nice “office” complete with bathroom, break room, and waiting area.




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Of codes don’t allow for an “apartment”, just build a nice “office” complete with bathroom, break room, and waiting area.




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
So commercial building code then? Even worse. Any structure for human dwelling that's build has a code to be in compliance with. Whether you chose to partake in said code is another question all together.
 

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Just thinking if the issue is having a bedroom above the garage makes it a living space, maybe having it as a personal office or even a man-cave might relax the codes.

At my place up near Chicago, you can't have a bedroom in the basement by the city code...but I can call ita a den with closet and get the permits needed without a problem. Sometimes it matters what you call the space.
 

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Just thinking if the issue is having a bedroom above the garage makes it a living space, maybe having it as a personal office or even a man-cave might relax the codes.

At my place up near Chicago, you can't have a bedroom in the basement by the city code...but I can call ita a den with closet and get the permits needed without a problem. Sometimes it matters what you call the space.
No bedroom in the basement even with egress window?

I'm still not with you though. Calling it something different only to use it for the other purpose still defeats the purpose. My neighbor actually lost his teenage son in a house fire. Fire started in the basement near the furnace, son's 'bedroom' was in the basement and he had no way out. Couldn't make it to the stairs. Keep in mind the OP is going to be highly sensitive to this too, having lost his own house to a fire.
 

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I ran into something similar when I was having trusses built for my garage. One of the places kept putting a 7' ceiling height in their design. I kept telling them I wanted 6'. They finally said they couldn't do that because of Code. I told them I was building a large garage and the "upstairs was for storage only". By not "going by code" we lowered my overall truss height almost 3 feet (had to keep a minimum width for ceiling and as mentioned above for side wall height). Now there's a 3' ceiling width, 6' height. Not to code for habitation, but a ton of room for storage, which is what I wanted. Mine is 10x52.

My point is that there's a lot of things to consider :)

Sorry to hear about losing your home, that's awful :(
 

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No bedroom in the basement even with egress window?

I'm still not with you though. Calling it something different only to use it for the other purpose still defeats the purpose. My neighbor actually lost his teenage son in a house fire. Fire started in the basement near the furnace, son's 'bedroom' was in the basement and he had no way out. Couldn't make it to the stairs. Keep in mind the OP is going to be highly sensitive to this too, having lost his own house to a fire.
Yeah...even if we put a full egress window down there, the city still won't let you have a legal bedroom in the basement. This is in Highland Park, IL.

I do plan on putting a full egress window down there. I can put up a wall and closet and functionally make it a bedroom...but when I sell the house, it's still listed as a 3 bedroom home (with an office with closet in the basement). Was thinking about adding a bathroom too, but it's not worth the extra cost.
 
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