Stand up and be counted!
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Stand up and be counted!Posted by Phillip T. Kiteley II at January 23. 2005
I would like to say hello to everyone out there who is tickling their brain with ideas of modernism, modular construction, and affordable design for the masses. Please ring in and be heard. No idea or comment is too big or too small. Discussion fuels new ideas and that is what creates a movement such as Modernism, Prefab, and affordable housing. Please share your philosophical or scientific ideas with the rest of us. New ideas fuel our passion for life. Come one, come all....What is your idea?
I would like to be available for random discussions at the following days and times:
all days of the week, from 8-9 p.m. as a minimum, so that those willing to discuss their ideas feel like there will be someone to discuss them with.
Please feel free to contribute suggestions on how to make this forum a better resource for the Grand Traverse Region of Michigan.
Re: Stand up and be counted!Posted by Hendry at February 03. 2005
I'm glad to see a discussion group in Michigan - thank you Phil!
I am outside of the Grand Traverse area, but I will make this my 'spot' until more regional groups pop up.
My wife and I are currently seeking a site to build a home, one that we expect will be at least modern-ish. Not placing it in a development is a priority, but limits our options significantly...
Re: Stand up and be counted!Posted by Phillip T. Kiteley II at February 05. 2005
Thanks for stopping by the board, brooks.
If you don't mind, tell a little about yourself and your future plans. I see this site as a great way to network. I don't know of your intended building location or plans, but if I can be of any help, please let me know.
Are there any topics that you would like to start a discussion on? It would be nice to see some more activity on our regional forum.
Re: Stand up and be counted!Posted by Hendry at February 11. 2005
What I hope to do…
My wife, two children, and I are currently seeking a lot to build on. We may have found one that will work, but it’s not yet a ‘deal’. Following a purchase we are allotting at least two years to plan to home. Our wish list is short actually…we really like concrete and few interior walls. I may elect to use SIPs, ICFs, and some steel framing. Have you, or anyone that stops by here, had experience with any of the three?
Re: Stand up and be counted!Posted by Amanda Tarasow at February 12. 2005
Greetings - I too am outside the Grand Traverse region. We are down near Ann Arbor.
I am a landscape horticulturist getting back in the swing of things after several years off raising children. Looking forward to the growing season and continuing to incorporate modernist sensibilities in my designs.
It is always nice to see modern home/landscaping that takes place in areas that have real weather! I find endless desert-climate 'modern' homes uninspiring - we have mosquitos and it rains - we need screens and places to keep our stuff dry.
Wonderful to hear from all of you - have your heard about/will you be attending the Michigan Modernism Expo in April? Supposed to be a wonderful show - might make it myself this year.
amanda holmes tarasow
Michigan Modernism Expo
Re: Stand up and be counted!Posted by Fran Loosen at February 13. 2005
My husband and I are thinking of moving to Ann Arbor but we know nothing about housing there. We both love modern homes, existing or build. Anyone out there able to give us some thoughts about what the Ann Arbor area offers?
Re: Stand up and be counted!Posted by Phillip T. Kiteley II at February 13. 2005
I have only had direct experience with concrete,wood and steel, as I did Commercial project management for several years before getting into residential design/building. I have been doing a lot of research lately via the internet. Some topics that I would strongly suggest reading up on before you get into the design phase....Thermal mass/storage, passive solar design, green building, thermal insulation.
I think these topics offer much food for thought if you are interested in building the best home possible for you and your family.
What is your intended building location?
If you need any links, I think I could provide some.
Re: Stand up and be counted!Posted by Amanda Tarasow at February 24. 2005
SuggestionPosted by uncleho at March 05. 2005
Don't mean to hi-jack the region, but why don't you just make this the Michigan Region? I don't know why it is so specific... seeing as how us modernists are far and few between. I would think making it broader gets more Michiganders, which can only help spread the wealth of knowledge.
I'm a Metro Detroiter who's going to GC his ginea pig modern abode this year in Walled Lake. I've been working on a dream house and other interim desings for about 8 years now (just planning/designing stages) and have learned a lot... but still plenty more to learn.
I'm actually trying to draw the prints right now... having spent the last ~5 months trying to model it in CAD. Hopefully I can record a lot of notes, details, experiences, ups, downs, and what not... and publish it here for others to learn.
My design constitutes elements that seem to be found in most modern designs:
1) Simple, bauhaus design.
2) SIP walls and roof.
3) Slab first floor.
4) Rainscreen exterior - cedar, cement fiberboard, corten.
5) Large windows - floor to ceiling (combos for cost reasons). Possibly semi-commercial.
6) Roof deck.
7) Radiant 1st floor.
8) Structural framing to help supplement wide spans and SIPs... of engineered lumber only.
9) MDF cement fiberboard flooring.
10) Alternative interior wall sheathing.
PS I don't know how I managed to fat-finger that emoticon in line 8)???
Re: Stand up and be counted!Posted by Gregory La Vardera at March 05. 2005
The number eight followed by a parenthesis is your wacky smiley! Try periods?
Re: Stand up and be counted!Posted by Hendry at March 09. 2005
Huh. maybe we could let all of Michigan in for the time being... What do you think, Phil?
Things are looking up for me. I have a puchase agreement on a site and have started to write checks for a driveway permit, perk test, etc. If everything checks out, I should close on the purchase by mid April.
I was able to learn a few pieces of design related information:
A. I will be able to stain/polish/seal lightweight concrete (used as part of a radiant heat system). Even google didn't help much in discovering this!
B. I discovered ductless and miniduct A/C systems. If I have ductless heat, I'm not real interested in having ducts for the A/C. Accomodating ducts in the design might not be as much of a challenge.
Plus, no floor vents - yay.
Re: Stand up and be counted!Posted by Kevin Rhodes at March 26. 2005
I just joined and was interested to see that you're in TC...I work out there about once a month. Beautiful place, even if it does have a rather unforgiving winter! So may I ask, are you an architect or a builder or contractor?? What's it like trying to pursure the modern aesthetic in the overgrown cottage atmosphere of the region? While driving around the area my wife and I have often said, Oh, man that would be a great place to build an Eames/Koenig/Ellwood-like steel and glass place. Big question for you, could one even consider having walls of glass in a climate like that without a CEO of GM income to pay for the heat?
Re: Stand up and be counted!Posted by Phillip T. Kiteley II at April 05. 2005
Sorry I didn't back to you sooner. I have a 15 week old baby, so things have been a little busy.
I am a residential designer/builder. I am licensed as a builder in Michigan, but I am trying to focus more on the design side of the business, as that is where my heart is. I have a B.S. in counstruction management, also.
I started out in commercial construction, which is how I became more interested in Modern structures with their application of raw materials. There isn't much modern in this area, but there is a little.
I think if you assembled the right team to design/build a glass walled structure, and you were creative in the design process, you could build a home that you could afford to heat. It would definitely cost a bit more, and you would have to comply with the design energy codes enforced by the local building inspector.
Hope that gives some insight.
Re: Stand up and be counted!Posted by Kevin Rhodes at April 08. 2005
Congratulations of the baby! I guess that's who the cutie is on your accompanying picture. Thanks for the thoughts, i.e. you think that it could be done. Forgive my ignorance while I try and educate myself but is it simply a fact that glass, regardless of it's thermal rating or whatever will lose more heat that a solid?
Re: Stand up and be counted!Posted by uncleho at July 22. 2005
Glass is a good conductor of heat or cold. Air spaces for double pane help reduce the transmission, but not by much. The compromise is how thick a gap is practical. Then there's the gases they inject in the gap - some transfer the energy less, but there's cost associated.
The thing you must look out for is the code regarding the percentage of glass versus insulated wall on your house. Beyond a certain limit, you must make it up by better insulation or higher efficiency HVAC. It varies on cities usually.
Re: Stand up and be counted!Posted by Jason Butka at July 22. 2005
I have been wasting my time in the general discussion board looking for all of you!! Well here goes... I am planning (almost done) a modern style home (more mid century than new) and I already have the land (rolling hills, old apple orchard). BTW for those looking for land in Michigan I highly reccomend the MLS site:
It allows you to look for land by county and alphabetically lists areas by city (also lets you look for waterfront other details).
Now here is why I am posting. I am building an ICF home incorporating such technologies as, Geothermal heat/ac/water heater and making an attempt to green it up as much as possible. I was hoping that there would be a few fellow dreamers who are ready and willing to build within a year or so. The reason is that perhaps by uniting in numbers we can create a certain amount of leverage in bargaining.
If this seems like something youd be in to please speak up and we can go from there. Thanks for your time and I hope to get to know you guys/gals as I am sure to read this DB for years to come.
Oh yeah, I will be building in Northern Oakland County, I am hoping that proximity will not be a big problem in some of th ethings we can accomplish (heck even furniture shopping will be cheaper if 5 of us want to buy furniture right?)
Re: Stand up and be counted!Posted by uncleho at July 23. 2005
A few of us answered your call on the General Forum and you have yet to reply. Maybe you should leave a note there to come here and discuss your thoughts.
There seems to be at least ~4 of us I think building in Metro Detroit in the coming year.
Spill it, man! What is your plan or notions? I left a few questions for you in that other post. Maybe you can share some details of why you are chooseing ICF and geothermal.
My first question regarding ICF is WHY? What do you consider its pro/con? Is your whole house going to be ICF? Which brand ICF... as they're not all created equal? I find it rather laborsome to install (my perception from talking with builders who have tried) and requiring some support gear.
I'm going with SIP and Superior Walls precast foundations for their speed of erection - they are both factory made and installed in panels.
Geothermal? Again... WHY... same as whys for ICF. My (3) biggest gripes on GT are: 1) Initial cost is huge (that and my lot does not have real estate to layout the field anyways), 2) ROI was estimated to be ~30 years when compared to natural gas cost today... 30 years????, and 3) electric heat is required for our cold Michigan winters to supplement the GT... unless you can afford a lot more GT plumbing to draw that energy out of the earth.
1) I think for a group of us to get together, the BEST way would be FIRST - to communize our general shell's building material (i.e. stick? ICF? precast? SIP? etc). Each product has different means of building and hence, different builders or installers. The shell of the house is the most costly and the most potential for us to use leverage, but we cannot IF we have divergent taste in materials.
2) While we may not agree on #1, we might be able to agree on this one. Everything else in the home can/may be easier to communize. Contractors for: plumbing, electrical, flatwork, insulation, roofing, siding, landscape, finish carpentry. Then there's furnishings from fixtures to lighting to hardware to cabinetry... and what you mention about furniture.
I will elaborate on my idea about collectively forming a group in order to lower costs for all of us and please feel free to speak up with any suggestions.
However this first:
A question asked as to why I want to go with ICF as opposed to SIPS or other materials.
I feel that it is the more suatainable out of all the other materials. I have seen structures made of concrete that have been made in Roman times that still stand today. I can not say this for wood materials. And no I do not plan on living 50 years but I also am cautious using wood frame due to water/mold issues. My extereior will consist mostly of EIFS(stucco) and although the problems have been fixed I feel more comfortable having EPS and concrete rather than wood.
As far as cost goes, I have spoken with a builder who comes highly referred from several different sources (Homeowner down the road I live on now, Michigan Conrete association, and a subcontractor) who starts at $110/sqft for ICF. I have no idea how much a reputable builder using SIP systems cost.
I am not absolutely opposed to SIP's but I do need to be convinced from ICF.
1) The research I have done shows tons of carbon monoxide eminating from the average home due to other heating/cooling methods.
2) I am going with radiant floor heat and have been quoted at $10,000 more than a conventional install for GEO but the unit is an AC, Heat, and Water heater in one. I will say that I do have a few more questions about this as well but I plan on finishing my research with a company named MICHIGAN ENERGY SERVICES who will look at my plan, give me several options, and from that will come the final decision.
I know that if I had to I could use a gas backup rather than an electric backup.
I will finish my conversation in another post.
Now to the original thought of communizing our efforts to build our modern homes.
Uncleho said it correctly when he stated that it can/may be easiest to combine our efforts for purchasing fixtures, lighting, furniture (mostly because regardless of building phase most of us can hold on to these items until they are installed).
I also agree with Uncleho regarding the shell of the home. Perhaps we could debate some of these issues in order to come to an agreement on the building system.
Another way we could save money is by trying to assimilate window sizes/styles.
Is this going to be easy? I highly doubt it. If done correctly is it going to be worthwhile? I honestly believe yes.
I propose we find out whereabouts everyone who is ready to join the venture-build lives and try to meet at a central location to share plan ideas, material ideas, etc. I live on the east side (harrison twp.).
I would be happy to share my building design ideas and see what you all have as well.
I would also be willing to get a builder there at some point (2nd 3rd meeting?) in order to better gain knowledge on how we can use our group leverage.
Since I am currently and ICF fan I suggest someone eles prepare to research a SIP builder and perhaps we could invite that builder to a seperate meeting.
Is it going to be a peice of cake? NOOOOOO
Could it set a trend across America? Well that would be neat.
Will we save money? If we cant then we just will not do it.
Post on this if you are:
1) Ready and able to build your new home
2) Ready to remodel (you would be in the furnishing group)
3) Are serious and are certain you will be ready in a years time
4) Willing to possibly sign a contract if a builder requests that as assurance that we are all definitely serious.
I know one thing for sure. MOST people here have educated themselves rather well to what 'system' they would prefer to use. I hope we can communize, but I won't hold my breath. That is not to say we still couldn't share other areas to save. Just a hunch.
First thing, we all need to break down into various general facets... our PLAN or STRATEGY on how we each prefer... regarding building. I think there is more to it than just deciding ICF or SIP... or whatever method of HVAC. What I mean is... let's talk about the basic core of WHO will do what on their own projects.
1) Do some plan on just hiring a builder to build? Or would they rather act as a GC and sub-contract the work out to save on the mgt cost? I plan on being the GC.
2) Do some plan on getting an architect to make plans? Or can they do that themselves? Or find a residential designer to draft the design? I plan on drafting myself as much as I can, except for the structural stuff. There may come a time when I would have to find professional help, because I have design facets that are currently beyond my knowledge and ability to Google.
Those (2) questions I find to be important in HOW we can unite. It is just as important as the Stick vs ICF vs SIP debate. Although that can very well tie in, because of one fact - a lot of SIP or ICF dealers are ALSO their own installer.
I have been pursuing a dream home for about ~8 years now and have done everything from buy property to even getting a near full set of drawings from an architect... all before finally putting that project on hiatus in favor of a downsized practice/gineau pig house, which is the one I have been designing for the past ~9 months.
During those first ~3 years I studied the many material alternatives to STICK. ICF, SIP, precast, hay, etc. From the suppliers I spoke with and builders of each and a few misc builders, I came to the conclusion that ICF was:
1) Too varied to choose from (there are SO MANY types that range from 'normal' to innovative and of varying installation methods). The tech is relatively new and with so many types out there and so few builders of them to find that it was impossible to get a reliable answer from the few I did find... that could refute some of the Cons I was told.
There are many SIP companies, but they all make the same thing in general. The only difference is core (EPS or urethane) and sheathing (OSB, CFB, or sheet metal). Those really don't amount to much, except the sheathing in metal, but then those are very specific in their application. In the end you can say that all SIPs are created equal... differences being insignificant (unless you bought SIPs from Jimmy Joe Bob's garage).
2) Very labor instensive, because of the many pieces... especially if you planned on doing the whole house with them. And as with #1, you could have varying methods of install depending on the brand/style. Setting a SIP should be a lot simpler... especially if you can keep the wall designs simple. I never bought into the notion of If you can build with Legos, you can build with ICF. That was too much marketing BS for me and my questioning often times supported my fear that it was not that simple.
SIPs build basically the same as those panelized stick walls built by factories today. And with most SIP dealers sending the drawings to factory for 'panelization', the installer crew ends up with a customized wall schedule that allows him to install per a set of assembly drawings... little or no field cutting.
3) The common brands seem to share one thing - a lot of support structure to hold the weight of the cement mass during the pour. Then if you have a (2) story, I assume you cannot pour (2) floors at once.
SIPs, depending on particular wall's function, may not need any support during the erection. If they do, it is no different than stick walls, which is a lot simpler than supporting the mass of cement against the bulge.
4) The temperature constraints of cement curing can limit Michiganders.
SIPs can go up in any weather.
5) A nail base for attaching exterior or interior sheathing seems more difficult to me being that you're nailing into cement all the time.
Although you lose the 16OC nail structural base that is a stick wall, you still have a full face of OSB. Even most stick walls today only limit the OSB to corners for structure. Exterior siding with a full OSB (and 4' or 8' OC structural studs potentially) is nice with SIPs.
6) I've seen about (3) ICF houses in states of limbo in the past ~(5) years. Now I don't know what this means, but it is worrisome. I wish I could find the owner. I've also seen (2) ICF houses (I cannot remember the brand ICF) and studied the wall results. I see deflection of the walls that seem unacceptable - on a wall that was ~25 feet long, you could EASILY see a bow of at least ~5 inches.
7) Electricity seems sucky in either ICF or SIP, so we'll call it equal.
8) Strength. You mentioned that concrete structures have been around forever. I just don't see it being that simple. I know of timber framed structures in old Europe that are hundreds of years old. Fire is the only destroyer of those structures I saw, but then fire melting EPS around ICFs would ruin your house also - causing a total demo and rebuild... as I cannot imagine the shell of cement could hold itself up without the would cross members of the floor and roof. Then there's the issue of getting the EPS back on the cement. Cement and SIPs have their inherent strengths and weaknesses. I cannot say one is better than the other. I can say that SIPs are no toy wall. To me a stressed skin assembly like a SIP is like what you see in a military aircraft wing or the floor pan of the Corvette. It is a wall that is weak and nothing as separate components, but when glued together can withstand earthquakes... because of some inherent flexibility and give... something I can't imagine cement having without the rebar. I can imagine the ICF wall cracking under that pressure, but then this is all moot, because Michigan doesn't suffer any bad weather.
9) Cost. Now this one is hard, because I could never get any cost out of anything ICF, but it seems the labor could easily beat SIP... unless you have a crew of migrants, which is not normal. I have seen PSF cost of SIP ranging from $6 to $12. My quote is $12 PSF including labor to install, but doesn't include the structural framing member, but that is always hard to figure in, because all houses are framed differently. SIPs' cost is the BIGGEST downside
The only ICF product that seemed like it had staying potential in the building industry was RASTRA or PERFORMWALL, but RASTRA is not available in MI and I could never find anyone doing the other here. The general problem with ICF for me is figuring out WHICH one was worth a damn and then finding someone to do it. It seemed even MORE rare than SIPs and they are rare themselves! It hard enough to find a builder with SIP or ICF experience, but when ICF comes in 500 flavors versus SIPs maybe 3... (and all of that is mainly the core material or exterior sheathing (OSB, CFB, or metal), but other than that SIPs are really all the same in structure and install... something you cannot say of ICFs, because they DO have peculiarities depending on the brand/style.)... it is very hard to sensibly choose an ICF. THAT is my worry... amoung other things I noted.
My conclusion on SIP is by no means final. My biggest obstacle in it is the lack of SIP installers/dealers. They know they have a captive audience in SIP lovers, so they charge accordingly. I know the dealer I have is $$, but from my many interviews with them, I have seen a lot of justification that I cannot imagine finding the all of the SIP dealer/installers.
I am still trying to quantify the whole project cost and right now it ain't too pretty, but damned if I can get myself to deciding on Stick. The BIGGEST problem with Stick build I find is FINDING THE BUILDER who has experience with modern style building. The main problem is the details that often associate with modern and it is these details that, without experience, makes it very difficult for any builder to just DO. Things like a flat roof. Metal work. Certain materials like CFB or Corten or sheet metal. I find this as difficult choosing WHICH type of ICF!
I have found a house that is modern and industrial in style (what I prefer), but I only know of the architect. I hope to find the builder soon in case I have to go STICK as a Plan B to a very $$$ SIP avenue.
Unfortunately I do not have yard space for the field of hoses that GT requires. I'd rather not have to drill mega deep either as that isn't cheap. If you have the bucks, then GT seems a responsible method, but I do not. The modern styling cues is expensive enough for me right now.
I do plan on radiant, but will use gas to heat the water.
One BIG issue for me is the issue of ventilation. SIP people are always selling the issue that SIPs are so tight that they need ventilation above and beyond what is normally found in stick homes. Trying to meld this with normal HVAC has been a headache for me. DO you know of any ME professionals that I can pay to engineer an HVAC system for me?
One last thing. Sooner or later we will all need to discuss our own personal range of budget or at least SIZE of the house. I have to think size (and hence profit margin for builders) will factor in on how a builder we could find would decide on whether/which job to take on. If one of us is a 10000 SF home and the other is 1000 SF, then there is a lot of disparity. Not to say we should all make McMansions, but that is certainly a question for certain builders, right?
The house I am building is large at 3000 SF, but this is also an investment property for us (We don't plan on living here long as it is a practice house... and the taxes on the property would kill us in the long run!). Where we are building almost necessitates the size... for a good ROI.
THe savings I am trying to harness is mainly from my being the GC and the mnimalist/industrial styling that should result in material savings (i.e. I don't plan on fancy moldings or brass fixtures or granite floors.). I also plan on doing some finishing work myself. Industrial interior design that I have chosen will hopefully reduce material and labor cost, too. What is killing me is the windows (large expanses of glass = $$$) and SIPs. Other things will also tend to add normally unnecessary cost, but I'm trying to figure around them right now.
I don't want to shoot down the idea so fast by jumping ship, but I cannot imagine going to ICF now. I have invested ~6 months of hard design time into SIP and falling back to stick is a lot simpler than falling back to ICF.
It's not to say we still couldn't use the same builder... because building a home requries a lot of disciplines that a builder may poses with either his personal crew or sub contractor associates (i.e. If we could find a common rough carpenter/builder/framer, he most likely has people to do other facets like roughfinish plumbing/electrical/carpentry, which I could still use.). You see... IF I go with the SIP, he will just do the SIP shell for me. He does not do the foundation or plumbing or electrical or finish carpentry. He just builds the closed shell (SIP and structural members that hold the assemblage together... like LVLs, joists, headers, girders, columns, posts, etc.). I will still need to use the other trades.
Like many I fell in love with massive glass. Unfortunately I learned that big glass = big $$$ and also big constraints. It is almost too late for me to turn around and change window size, because most all of them are floor-to-ceiling height assemblies... and I designed the house to follow a certain style that uses their largess to accentuate the industrial look. Maaan, if I had to do it over, I would change some of my notions in order to find more affordable window companies. I can share my research and some cost on this.
I live in Howell, but plan to build in Walled Lake. I work in Ypsilanti. I have no problem gettin together somewhere central to chat and share thoughts. Maybe you could IM the others who replied to your original posting on the DWELL LABS forum so they can read our discussion and input.
I am building within a year (or less). I just got approval from the Novi Zoning Board on some issues and now I have 90 days to get my drawings together in order to get a permit or else I have to reapply.
Contracts? One step at a time. We have a lot to discuss and share.
Re: Stand up and be counted!Posted by Jason Butka at July 25. 2005
Regarding the wood homes of Europe, most of the standing structures have recieved replacement wood over the years and are usually supported by posts that rival a 100 year old tree in width. And as I have said before, I dont plan on appreciating the house for 500-1000 years because I know I wont have the chance.
I am not saying that SIP is a weak system (it is actually very structurally strong) I guess my largest concern is due to the fact that it is made of OSB wood and I have seen houses that have the OSB wood get a little wet and then it is a nightmare. Sure, that was no fault of OSB, rather some construction worker did not properly complete his job, but since I am going with tons of windows I realize that my chances for water infiltration are raised considerably.
ICF can have bows in it that is why it is important to have a good builder (which I had no problem finding builders or looking at their projects). And any reading I have done shows ICF (w/ fiber additive) can have a fire rating of 4 as opposed to SIP rating of 2.
Although we have both googled research it is safe to say that we are not experts in the field. Educated? Sure as best as we can be. And the problem of finding the actual truth to what is best is not made easier by asking the experts. If I ask a SIP installer what system do you think he is going to promote? :huh:
Let's face it, here we might have a problem agreeing, but this should not detract us from communizing. Perhaps when all is said and done we may have a small group of people who use ICF and a small group that use SIP.
You asked about General Contractor and do-it yourself Contracting. I will probably get a GC that allows you to put in a lot of sweat equity. Really, I just want the builder to build the shell (electricity, heat/ac, basics) and let me take care of the finishing of other items (floors cabinets, etc.) either by myself or allow me to sub it out if I can not do it. I just want to be sure that there are two layers of people who can be held accountable for the actual structure of the home. The plumbing/interior finishing is stuff I have done before and have no problem doing time permiting.
Well here's my take on this. If you want a modern style home, and you do not mind paying 30% of the homes cost to someone hire an architect (a $100,000 home will cost you $130,000). They are like having an attorney that does a good job at designing homes. The good ones are active in the construction phase and usually want to help you decorate and landscape (free designs).
Designers are the guys who for some reason did not finish a degree in Architecture. Therefore they tend to be much less expensive (mine is charging about $1300-$1800 for a 2800sqft home w/ electric plans).
HOWEVER, I highly reccommend that you gather a great deal of knowledge about what the design of the home you want will be.
As people who desire modern homes tailored to our lifestyles our tastes are not mainstream and a designer (at least none I have met) will be able to appreciate that. I have poured hours, days, weeks into my home plans. I often burn a weekend away dilligently working on my design for 30 hours on those two days.
I have a feeling that many of us modern dreamers actually look forward to the challenge of designing their own home. It is difficult and you often have to repeat your ideas so that they finally understand your madness.
In summary, an architecht and a designer are as different as a dishwasher and a sink. For the dishwwasher (architect) you simply need to add soap and tell the machine what kind of wash cycle you want. With a sink you have to add the soap as well as do a lot more labor. The truth is that both will get your dishes clean, it is just a matter of how you want to get there.
My idea to band together may seem difficult but let us try to go for the gold and collaborate on the complete construction stages as a team. If we can not manage that lofty goal, let's go for the silver and focus on other methods to save ourselves money. The possibilities are truly limitless but it will take time to organize and dedication from those who will benefit.
Re: Stand up and be counted!Posted by uncleho at July 25. 2005
We really need to just meet. Either the others are not interested (maybe we scared them with our insanity:grin:?) or they rarely visit the site. I IMd them yesterday, too.
Re SIPs - We'll have to agree to disagree. It seems like you've done your share of research and so I'm glad - I like picking people's minds for knowledg! I still would like to know which brand of ICF you plan to use as I found it incredibly difficult to decide which one. I wouldn't mind seeing the finished homes or homes under construction by your suggested builder.
Re GC - I still definitely want a heart attack out of my project, so I must be my own GC 8). The hard part in any home (hopefully good assumption) is the shell. If it was stick, I'd be more willing to get a GC or builder, but for now the SIP installers I've found can either build the shell (with structural framing and decking) and let you do the rest or they can do it all. That leaves most of the responsibility in their hands and just me for oversight. I still plan on finding the rest - foundation, excavation, demo, plumbing, HVAC, electrical. Actually, even if I am my own GC, what's to say I couldn't share your GC's subs? They'd have to judge if it was worth it for them, but that is still pseudo guarranteed work, right?
Re Arch vs designer - I couldn't agree more. I never even heard of a residential designer until a couple of years ago, but yeah... you hit it on the nail. I know exactly what you mean by coming to the table with knowing EXACTLY what you want. Trust me... I go into so much detail that it leaves most people confused, because they are not used to it in the residential building field. What I lack is the good knowledge arch OR designers have gained in their training and experience - detailing by verbage and graphics in certain cases... especially regarding code on functional stuff like foundation spec'ing to drainage details. Everything else is fairly straight forward and I can handle (except the structural, but I provided a structural engineer with my model concept and he is detailing the... details for me right now). My problem with a professional is finding one with knowledge of detailing unorthodox installation of things typically/fashionably modern today (ex. rainscreen of corten fascia). The ones that know are $$$, but then they come with good knowledge in hand. I agree with each paragraph you wrote. I've been there and understand... especially explaining repeatedly on things.
What you suggest is not necessarily difficult or challenging. Trying to troubleshoot an Electron Beam welder failing while production pressure is on your butt - now that is challenging! I found in my few years of adulthood that doing well (or even OK) on a project that includes people is having the right personality to work with them. Leaving any egos at home and using the Golden Rule... and putting yourself in their shoes sometimes before you stick your foot in your mouth.
Do you want to plan a meeting soon? Here's a pic of my abode FYI. I'd like to talk about the big cost items like windows. If your windows are big, then we have something in common and can share info there. I have some decent data.
Re: Stand up and be counted!Posted by Hendry at July 26. 2005
It looks like my needs line up reasonably well with uncleho - SIPs, radiant concrete floors, some glass, etc. However, I am located near Lansing, so I may be too far away to make my participation easy.
I do plan to hire a GC because my wife and I have a 4 and a 1 year old - and, due to our works schedules, we both spend a lot of time alone with the kids during the work week (this would also inhibit my participation). This would not give us the freedom to watch over EVERYTHING at all times...
I have contacted a local builder that is constructing SIP homes at the same price per square foot as the other homes in cookie-cutter type subdivisions. Nothing fancy, but I am only looking for simple anyway.
I’d be glad to share what I have learned from research and contacting builders through this forum and also find sources in Michigan for some of the components to our future homes.
Real quick, this is the type of ICF that my lead builder uses www.greenblock.com
Have either of you heard os SCIP's? They are a concrete SIP. I contacted a few people on them and am waiting to hear back about local sources of information. I know that U (uncleho) had a concern on hanging pictures and stuff but I know by experience that a simple and inexpensive wall anchor kit ($5) comes with a mortar bit for your drill and covering the hole is just as simple as plaster repair.
I am not sure what the costs are (just heard of them) but as I have said before OSB scares me.
Brook, I think we all want radiant heating which might be a good common ground to start on (as well as windows). As far as your proximity, that might prevent you from participating fully but there are several ways that you still may benefit with us. I know that some GC'c are not too proud to travel 1-2 hours (or other trades for that matter) so do not discount yourself yet. I would imagine however with your distance and children that it might be difficult for you to arrange a meet with us?
Uncleho Since you live in Howell I am in Harrison twp. We might be able to meet as early as Friday/Saturday (July 29/30) perhaps at a coffee shop in Pontiac (I dont know of any of the top of my head). Let me know how that sounds for you and we can PM each other w/ contact info.
HOPEFULLY my designer will have the final details of my design finished early friday, but I'm bringing a snorkle cause I wont hold my breath. :laugh:
Also, there is a local glass company (mount clemens) that I have had prior dealings with and they have always been very reasonabbly priced, on time, and excellent quality. I suggest that even if we do not share window sizes that we give these guys a bid on our project. I need to see if they do doors as well.
I will attach a pic of what my house will sort of look like (did this w/ MS Paint). It will be about 2800 sqft, rather simple L shape and the Great room will have floor to ceiling windows on most of the walls (16' high) and all shed roof (saves $$) inclines.
The front (which is the view you will see) is by far much more private than the rear when considering windows but since I will be building on 14+ acres I am not overly concerned about privacy.
Re: Stand up and be counted!Posted by uncleho at July 26. 2005
I will read up on the Greenblock.
The only cement faced SIP I've seen uses Viroc (CPB) as an exterior sheathing. Because brittleness, it is mainly just a non-structural SIP for post beam-like structures or commercial steel framed stuff. I'd like to know what you've learned, though.
OSB? Wow. I think you had a traumatic experience with OSB when you were a child? While not the best product on earth, I think it is far from being as wimpy as you make it out. I guess I trust the sheathing and wrap I plan on using, so lasting a century is not a concern for me. If anything my problem is the foundation, because I am on a lakefront.
Part of my liking of SIP is the massive nailing surface with the OSB. Since I plan on doing as much finishing as possible, I need as much help as I can get. My interior walls is planned to be a mix of drywall and cement fiberboard. Screwing them up WITHOUT drilling holes should ease the pain. If I can get a ceiling pseudo industrial enough and still function and look good, I will forgo the drywall ceilings - more cost savings.
I don't think Brook is far away. I seem to be in the exact middle of you two - one on the east side and the other in Lansing? Can we meet this weekend in say... Farmington Hills? I'm sure we could find a Library there or Novi or Wixom or whatnot.
Windows... I found that I have to use semi-commercial stuff due to large window sizes (unless I break down and make them smaller, but that would really screw up the design flow). The stuff I found so far are aluminum - Champion Crystal. Others possible are fiberglass, but damn are they expensive. JB's aversion to OSB is similar to my aversion to wood windows.
14 acres????? ops: What are you a land baron??? :grin: You're lucky... I had to beg and sell my children into slavery to get approval of something beyond the 13' that theoretically was my limit on my lot.
Friday or Saturday is fine with me. I say a library, because it has outlets so I can bring my computer - I cannot remember squat any longer!
Land baron :laugh:, no, but I did get a real great deal and the property around me is now starting to go fast and of course that means the $$ is jumping. I got in when the getting was good.
Re: windows, The company I mentioned earlier does the aluminum thermal broken windows and they allow you to look around the factory and ask questions. I have no idea what the pricing will be but if you get a look at my plans and then I relate the #'s back to you that information might help us decide what direction to head.
I think Friday evening would be okay for me If you live in Howell and Brook is not coming I suggest we meet at a Pontiac Library but if Brrok is coming then Farmington sounds ok too. saturday will be tough because I have some work on the property to do, and an early morning charity benefit to attend that day. I also have ticks to the Buick Open that require I get up early on Sunday so Saturday is out for me this week.
Uncleho if you get a loc on a library in Farmington I will get a loc in Pontiac and if/when Brook replies we will decide then. We could always meet Brook at a later date if he/she is not available this weekend.
BTW, I know OSB is not wimpy when used in the panel system and used properly. I worked in construction as a young lad and saw a lot of people letting OSB get a little wet for a little too long. If you can ensure 100% that this is not a problem for you then I say use it. You being your own GC might allow for that, I however have a busy busy year ahead of me and know I can not commit to every small detail. (plus my parents were too poor to buy a 2x4 to beat me with so they used OSB... I still have the splinters). :wacko:
Talk to ya soon
Re: Stand up and be counted!Posted by Hendry at July 28. 2005
Yup, I will have to hold off on any meetings....there is just little opportunity and time available to me! I'll keep up with the forum posts though
Re: Stand up and be counted!Posted by Jason Butka at July 28. 2005
Sorry to have hijacked this conversation. I am new to the discussion board and therefore ignorant to the etiquette. Reading other posts I have seen people complain about off-topic conversation.
I have moved this conversation to Uniting Michiganders. Please follow progress there. Feel free to join at any time.