Robert, I live in and older section of Canyon Country and have a garage with a flat roof. I’ve been watching the home improvement stations and learned that you can purchase prefab trusses to add to the top of a flat roof in order to make it a pitched roof. They sure made it look easy and we are seriously considering it but need to know if we need to pull permits to do so. The building and roof are already there and I’d only be adding the trusses, plywood, paper and shingles so I don’t think so, but am I correct? – Nick A. Nick, Absolutely this needs to be permitted. You would be adding load to the structure and foundation, and you need be sure that both are able to accommodate the additional weight that would be put upon them. I’m assuming this is for aesthetics and not storage because that would need to be engineered prior to any drawings. Remember that the city planning and permits department is there for safety and there are very specific tasks that need to be done and done properly, in order to do a job like this especially with earthquakes in mind. You will need to provide your plans either from an architect or if you’re handy you can prepare a sketch and plan of what you’d like done. You can present it to the city and they’ll guide you through the process. You are correct, these items are available pre-fabricated, you’ll just need to provide your rise and run measurements and anything you’ll be doing with your trusses and they’ll fabricate and deliver to you. If you are handy you can do this work with plenty of help, otherwise I’d leave it to the pros. Make sure that anyone you hire is licensed and insured, and have them purchase the product. This is very doable, good luck to you. *** Robert, (Received Via Phone) I’ve read your article for a decade as you’ve written, and I really pay attention to what you have to say. I thought my dog had messed in the house and it turns out that wasn’t the case. I opened up the wall, knowing this was the next step and I discovered that this must have been going on for a long time because inside the wall was pitch black with what I think is mold. I am panicked, don’t have a lot of resources and really don’t know what to do. – Eisa N. Eisa, (Given Over Phone) This is a bit of a pickle. I wish I could guide you to “just do” one thing or the other to solve this at no additional costs to yourself, however when mold is a concern, there is protocol that should be followed so that the mold spores do not become airborne. Putting a fan to this area is not an option prior to proper abatement of the mold, as any movement of the affected area can cause the spores to become airborne and your home will become a toxic environment which could possibly affect any person or pets that are allergic or easily affected by respiratory issues. My best advice is for you to call a reputable abatement company and have them take care of this for you. Unfortunately as a homeowner, this is one of those unfortunate issues that need to be tended to by a pro and ultimately is a cost. I did give you the name of a reputable company and they are very fair. Once you have the area abated, then you can move on to the troubleshooting of the leak that you said you think may be coming from the planter. If this planter is in fact the source, you can do two different things; you can excavate it and put a waterproofing system into it like we discussed, or you can go with what may be the less expensive option and just tear this planter out and redo that part of your yard. Once you have the accurate source of the leaking you’ll be able to make more educated decisions on the course of action that you wish to take. If funds are an issue, sometimes eliminating these planters is the best option because of the cost of waterproofing materials. Please feel free to call me again if you need further advice during this process, I’ll be happy to do what I can. Good luck. Robert Lamoureux has 38 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at firstname.lastname@example.org.