M Padgett Engineering & Construction
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Legal Disclaimer:  We try our best to verify the accuracy of this information however, it  should be considered for reference only and we do not guarantee the veracity of it.  (Remember the phrase, "You can't believe everythinng you read on the internet?").  Keep in mind too, that laws and regulations vary from location to location.  Some items here are opinions only.  Please contact us if you have questions or need more detailed information.  If we cannot answer it, we will do our best to refer you to an appropriate party.

This is a list of some frequently asked questions that we receive (and we are always adding to it!).  Don't hesitate to contact us if you have one that isn't listed here or if you have something to add.  Also, see our Information & Links tab. 

  • Design & Engineering
    • Q:  When is an Engineer's or Architect's Seal required on a set of plans?
      • A: For residential work under 5000sf it is generally not required on a set of plans unless the house is in a seismic or high wind zone (i.e. near the coast).  In those cases usually engineered structural details are required.  For commercial work, it is almost alway required.  This will vary depending upon jurisdiction too.  Some building departments, especially in larger cities and counties, require it for almost everything.   
    • Q:  What kind of plans do I need?
      • A: Every project is different and requirements vary considerably from municipality to municipality.  What is required along the coast and in a higher seismic zone, i.e. in Charleston County, is usually much more complex than in for example, in the country in a more rural, inland county.  Residential projects usually have much less stringent requirements than commercial ones.  

  • Construction
    • Q:  Do I need a building permit?
      • A:  Probably.  Believe it or not that can vary depending which jurisdicition you are in and of course, the type of project you have.   Residential work costing more than $200 generally requires a permit. Commercial work costing more than $5000 generally requires a permit.  When in doubt, call the local building department and simply ask.   There are quirks you might not expect.  For example, some places say a permit is required for hardwood flooring but not for carpet or vinyl.  
    • Q:  Can you tell me how much my project will cost?
      • A:  We can do an inital cost estimate (a.k.a. ballpark estimate or rough order of magnitude estimate) based upon the general scope of the project provided.  The more defined the scope generally the more accurate the estimate.  
    • Q:  Is the cost/SF a good way to price building?
      • A:  Yes and no.  The type of build and level of finish can significantly affect the $/SF price of a project. For example, a new custom designed brick house in a high end subdivision with expensive stone floors, high end appliances, custom trim work, etc. can easily be in excess of $250/SF whereas a more simple "spec" house with vinyl siding built on a concrete slab can be as low as $80/SF.  Simple metal buildings on slab can start in the $25/SF range.  So, understanding that, it can be a good reference point to start.  But keep in mind, the layout, lot, structual design, quality of materials, and other factors can significantlty influence the cost.

  • Inspections & Consulting
    • Q:  Do you do commercial property inspections?
      • A:  Yes!  We have a custom format that is similar to ASTM and InterNACHI standards.
    • Q:  Do you do residential home inspections?
      • A:  Yes!  We do.  We follow the standards of practice adopted by state law. 
    • Q:  How much do inspections cost?
      • A:  Please contact us for pricing. We have a price sheet for residential inspections.  Commercial and specialized inspections are too varied to have set prices.  We can typically give a price or a price range over the phone after a quick discussion and/or from looking at pictures or an MLS listing.  
    • Q:  I'm buying a house built in 1985. Does it have to be brought up to building code?
      • A:  Building code "grandfathers" structures that were built prior to the current building code as being compliant to the code in effect at the time they were built.  If a remodel, addition or upgrade is done to the structure then some parts of the structure may be required to be brought up to modern building code.  Fire and life safety items are often the case.  There is usually a financial threshold associated with the remodel or upgrade such as 50% of the value of the structure to trigger it.  
    • Q: Can you help us with our insurance claim?
      • A: Possibly. There are many, many factors that go into insurance claims.  It is very important to read and understand the type of policy you have.  Also, each insurance company is a little different. Please give us a call to discuss.