By Joe Murchison

During the past month, many passersby on the 15000 block of Bond Mill Road in West Laurel have noticed workers tearing down a dilapidated house and then reconstructing it. Particularly striking was that, after everything else had been torn down to the foundation, a small, tattered section of the front wall was left standing.

Home project
Despite efforts to keep this old wall standing, the owners have had to obtain a building permit for a new house rather than their initial addition/remodel permit.
Photo Credit: Joe Murchison

At one point that wall fell down but was re-erected with new boards attaching it to new floor joists. Why was the construction crew intent on keeping that wall up? 

Avis Thomas-Lester, public information officer for the Prince George’s County Department of Permitting, Inspections and Enforcement, said in an email that the owners of the house had initially obtained an addition/remodel permit in February. She said that by May, county inspectors had determined that the project wasn’t an addition but rather was a new house, even if it used part of the original  foundation. The county ordered the owners to obtain a new-home permit.

The owners could not be reached for comment. Their contractor, Afolabi Abudu, said he still considered the project to be a remodel, but he has applied for the new-build permit. He said that the new permit will not increase construction requirements—the remodel plan already had included, for instance, the installation of a fire sprinkler system. (Maryland is one of the few states in the country that requires that new homes be built with sprinkler systems.) Since the new permit does not impose additional requirements, Abudu said that construction will proceed as planned.