Coastal Construction Expertise
Construction in a coastal environment requires additional levels of expertise to ensure the structure is built to withstand the elements that come with coastal living. The most important structural element is the building’s foundation which must be resistant to weathering, decay and corrosion with little to no maintenance and remain viable for the life of the building. Saltwater coastal foundation systems must perform all these functions while being exposed to punishing weather, salt corrosion, tidal surges and more. Therefore, they must be designed and engineered with higher standards of stable construction than those used for inland foundations. They are designed to elevate buildings above anticipated floodwaters by driving pilings deep into the soil. Partner, Mark Hardt, realized early on that there was a need for a system that provided the critical connection between the top of the pile driven and the house above. He designed and developed the Mark III – Mechanical Hardware System. This system offers the elements of adjustability, dependability and ease of installation. The versatility of the Mark III system allows for modifications to the primary components, tailoring to accommodate a combination of piles and beam types used together. This exclusive design allows for new and existing construction applications.
Most buyers understand that there will be the expense of Transfer Tax when purchasing unimproved land or land with an existing structure. But some are caught off guard by another type of Transfer Tax that exists in Sussex County, Delaware. This extension of the Transfer Tax is known as an “Improvement Tax”. This tax is accessed when a building permit is applied for less than one year of taking ownership of the land in which they want to build and must be paid entirely by the homeowner. The State of Delaware assesses a 2% tax rate on the construction contract minus a $10,000 exclusion. The County then requires a 1.5% tax on the entire amount of the construction contract, along with proof that the State portion has been paid. The County will not issue a building permit (or a Certificate of Occupancy) until both taxes are paid in full. This waiting period is a great time to begin designing your dream home with the design/build team at Miranda, Hardt & O’Leary Contracting. Our team will ensure that your plans are submitted for a building permit as soon as the waiting period expires and that are crew is ready to commence construction upon approval.
Regulations & Building Codes
Setback is defined at a minimum distance which a building or other structure must be set back from a lot line. Sussex County Planning and Zoning recently revised the regulation to read that unenclosed decks, steps, porches, platforms, etc. may encroach 5 ft. into the front yard setback and 5 ft. from the rear and side property line. If it has a roof, awning (ex. portico), or is enclosed, it shall not encroach into the setbacks. For property owners that wish to build on a narrow lot, this is to their benefit. The downside to this change is that although the County has allowed certain unenclosed structures to encroach into the defined setback, the town in which the property is located may not have adopted these same changes. The same holds true for Building Codes. Although they are required to following County Codes, each town also has their own set of Building Codes they enforce. For example, each coastal town has a different set of rules when it comes to the days of the week and the times of day in which construction is allowed to take place. Because these are resort towns, the days and times may vary during peak season. This is just one of many factors that must be taken into account for new construction and renovation projects.