From A House To A Duplex And Back Again

masonry constructionThere are two kinds of duplexes in the Twin Cities; those originally built as duplexes, and those that used to be houses.

Generally speaking, those that fall into the latter category often never seem to flow right. There’s always a kitchen in a former bedroom, and a couch and TV stuffed into a corner somewhere.

There’s another problem with metro housing. Many times, there aren’t single family homes big enough to accomodate growing families.

As a result, several times a year I’ll have someone ask me about the process of converting a duplex back to a single family home.

Fair warning. While the process isn’t necessarily complicated, it isn’t something you can just undertake on a whim either.

The city of Minneapolis requires a duplex home owner get Zoning and Plan Review approvals before they will issue a building permit to change the use of the property.

To achieve this, someone from the Zoning department will verify that the conversion is in keeping with the city’s zoning ordinance. After receiving a stamped approval, the duplex owner must then meet with a Plan Reviewer who will make sure your plans comply with housing and construction codes.

The reviewer will need to see floor plans drawn to scale that detail the new layout of the property, as well as the significant changes you’d like to make.

The plans need to be for each level of the home, including even the basement and attic. They must also be thorough enough to include locations of windows, doors, and stairways. They should indicate where new walls are to be built, doors and windows moved to, kitchens removed and so forth.

Ultimately, it may be most useful to have both before and after plans along.