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Flatpak House construction problems

by E.G. last modified Jun 29, 2011 03:51 AM
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Flatpak House construction problems

Posted by E.G. at August 29. 2007

Are there any other people building a Dwell Home/Flatpak House reading these forums? If so, I'd like to hear about your experience because of the problems we're having trying to get ours constructed.

Just recently our windows and exterior panels were delivered, and our builder has informed us that NONE of the windows will fit into the existing frame of the house. They are all too big. Shock that this is, we have also discovered that Empyrean (formerly Deck House and current manufacturer of the Flatpak components) knew the windows wouldn't fit even as it was manufacturing them. Evidently the first Flatpak (built in Massachusetts) was faced with the same problem last summer, and its windows were forced into place with sledge hammers.

Has anyone experienced my frustration in wondering what are the supposed benefits and efficiencies of prefab? What is the point of all that precise engineering and construction in the factory if the builder has to recut and reconstruct all the components on site?

If you've started a Flatpak--or any other similar prefab house--have you faced this or similar problems? (Or even if you aren't building one, have you heard about what's going on?) What were your builder's solutions? I'd love to figure out a way to put up this house without destroying the windows I've already spent thousands of dollars on.

 
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Re: Flatpak House construction problems

Posted by Morgan Shanahan at September 28. 2008

Hi There -

I know you posted this about a year ago, but we're strongly considering building a flatpak house, and I'd love to talk to you about your experience, and hear how it all turned out.

If you're willing to share, or if anyone else has similar experience, please let me know!

 

-m-

Re: Flatpak House construction problems

Posted by richierod at October 03. 2008

Yes, please post a follow up!

 

 

 

    -R.

Re: Flatpak House construction problems

Posted by Jeffrey Rous at October 06. 2008

I missed this a year ago, so I am glad I caught it now. We are almost done building a house. We used steel SIPs (steel frame with eps foam as a core). About 80% of the panels had to be either remade, modified on site (with a sawsall), or discarded and replaced with steel studs and spray foam insullation. Because the walls included structural steel posts, there were places where the panels just didn't all fit. The frames used a combination of sledgehammers and guys literally jumping up and down on the panels (yes, 25' in the air) to wedge them all into place. Then the builder did not measure the rough openings for the windows which caused more problems (same problem in the post). On top of that, the foundation was not really level enough for perfectly square panels which further complicated things. Framing took us over 4 months. I later talked to someone who built the modern house before me (same company) and the one that built the next modern house after us (same company) and we all had nearly identical experiences.

 

On top of that, the electrician and plumbers really hated cutting through the stuff. Yes there were built in chases, but lots of stuff did not work with those, there were no vertical chases and the structural steel posts got in the way.

 

All in all, I am convinced that the necessary pre-planning, production tolerances and quality control necessary for this type of prefab just make the system too expensive for the most part and that stick-built with icynene insulation is the cost effective way to go. I did like the roof panels though (6" solid eps with steel skins). They were pretty cool. But they were made to be cut to size on site, so we did not have the same issues.

Re: Flatpak House construction problems

Posted by Rodney White at October 15. 2008
Hi, That post was made by my partner. Our builder had to hack away at the frame of each window to make them fit. It was another unanticipated delay. Fortunately Empyrean (The company worked with Lazor Office for less than a year engineering and producing the exterior components.) paid for the additional labor. You can check out our website to see how the house has progressed. http://www.flickr.com/photos/rwtb/ If you have specific questions let me know.
 
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Re: Flatpak House construction problems

Posted by Renee Adelmann at October 18. 2008

Hi Rodney...just one question...

 

Would you do it again?

Re: Flatpak House construction problems

Posted by Peter Smith at October 29. 2008

Previously Jeffrey Rous wrote:

"On top of that, the electrician and plumbers really hated cutting through the stuff. Yes there were built in chases, but lots of stuff did not work with those, there were no vertical chases and the structural steel posts got in the way.
All in all, I am convinced that the necessary pre-planning, production tolerances and quality control necessary for this type of prefab just make the system too expensive for the most part and that stick-built with icynene insulation is the cost effective way to go. I did like the roof panels though (6" solid eps with steel skins). They were pretty cool. But they were made to be cut to size on site, so we did not have the same issues."

 

 I have no experience with steel SIPs but  to suggest that folks totally reject SIPs is a bit extreme as there are other choices, including the hybrid model we are using. My builder, who has SIPs experience, is currently erecting the external walls of our new house with 4" and 6" SIPs from Premier Building Systems http://www.pbssips.com/

 However, we will be framing the internal walls as that is where the bulk of the plumbing (including radiant floor heating controls) and electrical work will happen, because  they had found on a prior build that the speedier wall erection was then offset by more plumbing and electrical hours. Those walls will then be insulated, both  for noise reduction and to fully optimize the radiant heating zones.

 Premier Sips do have horizontal and vertical chases and his plumber and electrician have experience working with such SIPs. Also, the window openings are to be cut on site, in the erected SIPs.

 Shortly, I will be posting the latest SIP photos to our blog at http://ccmodernist.blogspot.com/

 

Re: Flatpak House construction problems

Posted by Matt Kent at June 29. 2011

Companies large and small experience production issues from time to time. Hopefully your chosen company admits to their errors and corrects the problem before it escalates. Working in the industry in flooring systems I can understand too well the frustration from both buyer and supplier. Good luck!

Matt

http://orange.floorcoveringsinternational.com/

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