Have you wished for a cheaper prefab?
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Re: CraningPosted by Sara R. Sage at January 25. 2005
As far as I know, modulars built to UBC specs need to be craned on the foundation. A two story home will result in a larger savings because the footprint is smaller, like Greg mentioned.
IMHO, I think the less desirable tradeoff of building a two story home is that it feels smaller than a one story. (Also, one story homes are better for little kiddies and lazy dogs.)
Re: 2 v 3Posted by Zachary Anderson at January 25. 2005
regarding the number of modules: odd numbers are more interesting to the eye.
just a thought.
Re: Have you wished for a cheaper prefab?Posted by Jeffrey Rous at January 25. 2005
Just an interesting pondering about cost of one vs. two stories. When I was investigating the cost saving for a two story design, I found, for a site-built house, the foundation/roof savings for putting 1/2 the house above the other 1/2 is virtually wiped out because you need 1) additional floor structure for the second floor 2)a staircase 3) extra sq. footage to accomodate the stairs (90-130 sq. ft.). Is this not as true for modular construction because all modules are built with floors and ceilings to survive the trip so that foundation saved does not get transfered to floor structure?
Re: Have you wished for a cheaper prefab?Posted by Gregory La Vardera at January 25. 2005
I think you are right Jeff - you also loose sqft to the stair, and if you are not digging a basement the additional foundation cost may not be that great. At the same time the modules will contain floors and ceilings whether they are one or two story so there is no additional framing.
Sara said she mentioned this initiative to Irontown during one of her conversations and there was interest on their end to learn more. I feel more confident that they would be up to tackling a project like this.
Re: Have you wished for a cheaper prefab?Posted by Patrick Breitenbach at January 26. 2005
Interesting tidbitPosted by Sara R. Sage at January 26. 2005
I was on the phone all day with Irontown, hammering out the final details for our house and we started talking about another modern home they're building that's in the beginning stages. Irontown thinks that if they were to fabricate a line of modern homes it would be much easier to have cabinetmakers local to Provo custom make the cabinets. The cabinetry can be in any style and custom designed with the home. The expense of shipping, assembling, etc Ikea cabinets to Provo is comparable to what their cabinet makers charge. They also don't feel comfortable issuing a warantee from a company they're not familiar with- There are no Ikeas in Utah.
If we had more time, I would have certainly done this and skipped out on assembling the cabinets myself. Irontown seems to be very adaptable and willing to make accomodations for modern design.
Re: Have you wished for a cheaper prefab?Posted by Sara R. Sage at January 26. 2005
[quote:pbreit format=text/html]I'm a complete lay person but I would have thought multi-story was more
expensive in general. Just seems a lot more complex from a design,
engineering, plumbing, assembly, etc. perspective.br
We thought so too, that's why our house was designed as a one-story. I sometimes wish that we were building a two story to save $ on the foundation and free up more space on the lot.
Re: Have you wished for a cheaper prefab?Posted by Gregory La Vardera at January 26. 2005
Ultimately the group will decide the 1 story vs 2 story question. It will have to depend on the prevailing size of the lots that people have available. If the lot sizes favor a two story design that will be the way to go. If larger lots that will take the house on one level are what the group finds is available then that can be the solution. I have a feeling that smaller lots may be more likely for a group seeking this cost solution. The question will be whether or not it dictates a vertical arrangement.
Sarah, that is very interesting news about the cabinet vendor. During the design process we will have to examine the finish options that are possible on their product.
I am really feeling quite positive about this - I feel like it will come together now more so than when I started this.
Re: Have you wished for a cheaper prefab?Posted by Zachary Anderson at January 26. 2005
is there a webpage for this yet, in case i find someone who might be interested?
Re: Have you wished for a cheaper prefab?Posted by woody at January 27. 2005
I have been struggling with the buy a lot first versus design a home first and find a lot that fits problem for a while now.
There are not a lot of affordable lots in the bay area and I dont want to end up holding the lot for a year before I start the construction process.
I think it will be easier to get people on board if you have preliminary one story and two story designs, then build from there towards the one that makes the most sense for the group.
I feel like there needs to be a starting point in order to really get this conversation rolling. Just pictures, you dont need to provide measurements, etc. yet.
Zac - there is no web page yet. I will create a page here at LiveModern for Draft 3 of the proposal which I'll be creating soon to add more info.
attatt, I know it is a real chicken and egg conundrum with the lot and the house. I stated in the last draft of the proposal that I don't expect people to have a lot coming into this, and that in fact it may be better if they don't have a lot. But I think it will be useful if people have been looking and have some sense of the size, setbacks, and build-able area that will be likely for land they are seeing in their market.
What I would like to see happen is to gather 8-10 people who are interested, I'd like to have at least 8, and then before any commitment is made to vet a few ideas for a one and two story scheme among them, privately, not on the web. At this point we can see if this self selects anybody on the basis of the house program or lot dimension, or simply their location. Hopefully we can come out of that with potential group of 4-6 parties that will be willing to commit to the process. Then I can take in feedback on the sketches, any developing info on potential sites, and begin the design process in earnest.
I have had several inquiries already so a few more weeks have to pass before I'll think about using other means to attract more participants. I would like to have the option keep the design process private if that is the preference, so attempting to attract people with design sketches will make that impossible. The other reason for this is I want anybody reading this to know there will be no teasers - if you are interested you have to contact me. If you need a teaser there is a good sized body of work in my stock plans and the Sage's house that will give you an idea of where I am coming from.
This question might be a little late in the asking, but I haven't been on the board much lately, so here goes: Is this idea being explored because people seem to be interested in the IDEA of prefab or is prefab just the best way to get it done? Couldn't a person buy one of Greg's plans, maybe have him adapt it to their land, incorporate the cheaper materials as is being suggested for this project, then still come out with a house in the same price range? I'm guessing there could be more customization this way too, without too much extra cost from Greg. This would result in a little more of a custom feel to the house, and there could potentially be more choice. Or, could a person just bite the bullet and hire an inspired architect like some of the folks on this list to design a house to fit into the cost goals?
I'm trying to think of my wants and needs with a house, and right now, we're looking at buying a house that we can drastically renovate, or find a lot and build. The bugdet would be the same for me, so I'm assuming the house I get will be a work in progress. In this sense, building a house with cheaper finishes has a real appeal if the basic design is what I want. Heck, the renovation model might be a lot more expensive, although it could render a much better location.
So, why prefab? Is it just to save time and hassle on the building end, or is there real savings in using a factory? That's prefab's promise, but it hasn't happened yet with modern design as this thread points out. Is this because people who want modern homes want fancy finishes too? I'm really interested to see where this goes.
Honestly Adam, I think it is a little of both. Prefab is riding on some hype no doubt. It would be possible to take one of my stock plans, make economical material decisions and end up at the same point. Or hire an architect for a one of design and pay for the fee with reduced size and or material choices, and essentially get to the same point. But you will have more work individually to manage the process and hire and manage the builder of the entire house.
With a modular house you still have to manage the onsite work for the foundation but the scale is much reduced. The real advantage comes from building multiple copies of the house and tapping some economy of scale, even if small. This is something that a half dozen individuals can't muster by building on their own. Its like a virtual subdivision where the builder can work faster by virtue of becoming familiar with the house as they repeat the house.
I'm not proposing it because I believe it is The answer, but because I have gotten the impression that people wanted a less expensive prefab. It is possible but nobody was attempting to create a such a product.
Well it's a great idea, especially if you could get it to the sub $100/sf level. If the Glidehouse is selling fairly well, I can't see why a less expensive one wouldn't do even better. The Sages' experience is very interesting and inspiring, and a good test run in many ways.
It is a tempting comparison, but I don't want to think about it like that. If the GlideHouse team decides to create something that met this brief it would alleviate the need for this effort. If you are right and it would sell better then I would wonder why they would not try. I'm not sure it it is so.
Well, I think the existing prefabs are trying to be everything for everyone. That desire to have it all makes the house more expensive. Your proposal makes the compromise in materials, and the question is, are there people willing to compromise just to get into a modern design? I would certainly think so... at least there's more thought going into the design than most other low-cost solutions.
Re: Have you wished for a cheaper prefab?Posted by Adam Burke at January 28. 2005
Wow! That's great news, Marshall! I wasn't implying that the Glidehouse is too expensive, just that it doesn't qualify as affordable in my opinion. I think the difference in finish materials is where the savings is, so it's great to see people moving in that direction. Keep us up to date on this development. Sounds really interesting.
The Breeze House is super cool, by the way.
Re: Have you wished for a cheaper prefab?Posted by Marshall Mayer at January 28. 2005
The GlideHouse has an environmental agenda which plays into the cost as well as the market and who the house appeals to. Prefabrication serves the Green Building market in the same way it serves the modern market. Green houses are not readily available on the spec market and so somebody who wants an environmentally friendly house is left to hire an architect and design a one of a kind house which may include systems unfamiliar to a local contractor. Great benefit comes from consolidating that demand from remote clients in a factory construction setting and a stock design.
The issue is not that the Glide House is too expensive - its designed to serve a group of clients with a certain concern, and its been proved out already that they hit a viable market with this product.
So this effort is aimed at a group with a different set of concerns, some overlap no doubt, but cost is of greater weight here. This obviously won't be a Green house, although the nature of building in a factory is better for the environment in many ways no matter - it will still be better in that regard than a site built house of similar materials.
I'd like to keep this up at the top this week and I hope some more people will take an interest. I feel very close to taking a first stab at defining our group of people. Its very possible that we may be able to have a south western group centered around IronTown in Utah and a north east group centered around an unidentified factory in Pennsylvania. So anybody in the east that thought perhaps this was all going to happen out west, take a good look at this idea again.
Re: Have you wished for a cheaper prefab?Posted by Gregory La Vardera at February 03. 2005
I have been looking at factory web sites on the east coast.
This one is in central PA: http://www.pennlyon.com/resi.html
And this one north of NYC: http://www.westchester-modular.com/
I have not made any contact with them yet - too early, but I thought east coast lurkers might find it of interest. These locations cover a great deal of the north east and east coast.
Re: Have you wished for a cheaper prefab?Posted by Daniel Burns at February 05. 2005
Charlie Lazor beleives he can get his FlatPak house down to $100/sq. ft.
Re: Have you wished for a cheaper prefab?Posted by Gregory La Vardera at February 05. 2005
I believe he will be able get the Flatpak house down to $100/sqft. I also believe he will be able to continue charging 10% of the cost as a design fee! Seriously its a great looking house and system and if he had the quantity to achieve that cost we wouldn't need to do this.
Re: Have you wished for a cheaper prefab?Posted by Jeffrey Rous at February 05. 2005
If THAT is $100 per sq.ft. (or even $110 with design), then I will be truly amazed. It looks like $130-150 just for construction. I have a big question not only for the Flatpack house but also for Glidehouse, LV House, etc. How do these things pass the new energy codes? It looks like we are barely going to make it and we do not have nearly the glass that some of these houses have. Are the codes just not in place in most areas of the country? Greg, I think The Cube House might have some trouble, but the Pump Houses and Steel Case House would have trouble passing.
Re: Have you wished for a cheaper prefab?Posted by Gregory La Vardera at February 06. 2005
Jeff, I don't think the energy code is that hard to satisfy. Using the Department of Energy's free ResCheck software I ran rough numbers on the Steel Case House - probably the worst offender in terms of energy profile. Using the Cold Climate version with SIPs panels I came up with the following.
Maximum UA = 499
Your Home UA = 486
2.6% Better Than Code (UA)
Area or Cavity Cont. or Door
Perimeter R-Value R-Value U-Factor UA
sipsmroof: Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) 1152 48.0 25
sips wall: Structural Insulated Panels 1280 30.0 44
window walls: Structural Insulated Panels 2000 21.0 15
Window 1: Wood Frame: Triple Pane with Low-E 48 0.230 11
window wall windows: Wood Frame:Triple Pane with Low-E 1700 0.230 391
I used a rating for triple pane low-e glass, and fairly high wall u-values based on SIPs consttruction. I adjusted the amount of window area to the maximum I could while still passing and it comes up to 1700 sqft of an available 2000 sqft on the three sides of the house that are primarily window. I ran the Calculations for the NJ Energy Subcode which is moderate compared to places north of here. I don't think it unreasonable to expect you might not be able to have that much window in a colder climate.
Re: Have you wished for a cheaper prefab?Posted by woody at February 07. 2005
The flatpack house looks very customizable, just like most other modern pre-fab homes that are actually on the market, so I think if energy efficiency ever became an issue, you just eliminate one or two windows.
Owner/builder also has the option of upgrading the windows to a higher standard of materials. I'm not sure about the exact quality of what glidehouse or flatpack use, but from what I have experienced, they are very willing to work with buyers to any end, so what ever level of energy efficiency is desired cna probably be reached.
Re: Have you wished for a cheaper prefab?Posted by Gregory La Vardera at February 07. 2005
The flat pack is open ended in terms of design so obviously you can configure it to meet the energy code. The Glide House is pretty conservative in terms of glazing and I can't imagine having any trouble meeting code.
I don't anticipate any problem with the energy code for the common modular either.
Re: Have you wished for a cheaper prefab?Posted by Marshall Mayer at February 07. 2005