When acting man envisions a plan with profit (money or psychic) as an end, he must include a best guess of both future prices and the future wants of the consumer (which may be himself — acting man qua consumer). Are there any other obstacles?
Of course there is uncertainty. And there is the most pernicious unknown of all: government.
My father simply wanted to make a small change to his house — what he considers his own property. All good and well, until government stepped in and derailed his plan.
Writes John Fedako from Sarasota:
We live in Florida; a pleasant place to live when you have grown up in the snow, sleet and cold rain of the North.
When we retired to Florida, the house we built was a typical Florida house, which means open design, lots of sliding glass doors, a large screened-in lanai, and usually a pool. We chose not to have a pool. Because of the native bug population and the summer heat and humidity, the lanai was seldom used and so after all these years we decided to close it in and essentially increase the size of the living room that opened up into the lanai. It would serve as a place for quiet reading or computer use.
I considered doing the work myself but the task seemed too much for just one person and so I called a local building contractor who specialized in room enclosures and additions.
I was naive enough to think it was my house. I had no mortgage; all my taxes, insurance, and utilities were up to date. I even have the deed secured in a safe deposit box at the bank. So I would hire the builder to install some windows and a door and close it in; work I could not do alone. All done to my liking; after all it was my house.
The builder was very professional. He arrived with a measuring tape and sketchpads and proceeded to measure all the existing walls (the outside of the house) that would now serve as the walls for the expanded area to include in the design sketch. He was definitely a registered builder; had all the credentials issued by the County and his company had been doing similar work for years.
We discussed the type of door and windows (sliding he recommended), the inside and outside finish, stucco or not to match the existing house and other details. We arranged for another meeting to discuss costs and scheduling plans and other minor details such as my contribution of some finish painting and other minor woodwork. That is when we were shocked to discover there was another aspect of the job I had not considered.
The builder told us that the county may require us to increase the size of our bedroom windows since the lanai was no longer an egress and the fire code required a large window for egress for us and ingress for fire fighters in case of a fire. We could now not get out the same way as we did before since there was a door as part of the lanai and there was a pocket door between the bedroom and the large window in the bathroom.
My idea of using existing electric outlets just inside where the sliding glass doors are was not code (keep in mind that the existing sliding glass doors would be removed). There was an existing outlet in the lanai, overheat lights and a fan – more than sufficient for us as a reading or computer space. The electrical code required us to have outlets in the room because we may use a space heater during the occasional Floridian cold spell and running extension cords from the outlets in the living room may present a potential fire hazard. We also needed switches in the room. The present switches for the overhead lights and fan are located just inside the sliding doors and would not be code; switches must be provided inside the room to meet standards and pass inspection. The insulation on the only outside wall, a two foot high panel just below the sliding windows had to meet standards and be inspected.
The door had to meet hurricane standards at a cost of some $2000 even though my present front door and sliding glass doors do not. The windows had to meet hurricane standards at a cost of some $4000 even though the ones we have now do not.
The air conditioning would probably have to be increased even though we always cool at 80 degrees and did not feel additional cool air was needed. An air conditioning expert could come and make the necessary measurements to determine requirements to meet standards.
I do not know the total amount of the additional cost. But, needless to say, I canceled the project.
Thanks to the county and its building regulations, jobs have been lost. But everybody is safer (supposedly, anyway). And sadly I now realize I am no longer the sole owner of my house.
Thankfully, we have a government that protects its citizens from their own stupidity.