Mar 11, 2016 9:20 pm
I'm considering the option of designing and then building a kit home where I would build the kit pieces myself.
After I do the conceptual design I would commission a professional designer to do all the detail, organise engineering approval and working drawings. I would then build, at my leisure, all the kit pieces ready to ship and install on site when the time is right. I am able to build in steel or timber. Because of the C4 wind rating and potential high BAL rating of the sloping build site the sub floor piers and sub floor framing would probably have to be steel. The rest could be timber or steel.
Has anyone here direct experience in doing this and if so what are the pitfalls (including costs) I should be aware of?
Re: How difficult to build a DIY kit home?2
Mar 14, 2016 1:33 pm
That would be the way to do it if you can as some of these kits around are getting damn expensive and are questionable as to whether they are value for money. . . Ive not heard of anyone who has, but if you do, please post details here of how it is done.
Re: How difficult to build a DIY kit home?3
Mar 14, 2016 4:18 pm
Most kit homes I've seen only come in a limited range - a few mods aside that is. I don't know any kit home builders that do custom builds although if they made it worth their while they probably would. I think what you are after is just a framing & truss company that could build it in timber or steel ( ask one for a quote ) or if you are intent on doing it yourself just pre-build them all off site ready to be loaded onto a semi for delivery onto your site. You may have to get one of these companies to build the roof trusses though unless you do a traditional framed roof.
Re: How difficult to build a DIY kit home?4
Mar 14, 2016 6:28 pm
I can't answer your question but you should also consider the issues of logistics and storage.
My understanding is that most kit homes are flat packed and delivered in one go. I.E. a semi-trailer turns up and unloads all your first fix materials for your house in one day. If you don't have a large shed to store the materials in, you risk the materials being left outside and damaged by the time you need them (or they may be subject to theft).
If you follow the traditional build path, one only has materials delivered just-in-time when the materials are actually required.
As an OB it is a good idea to have a secure shed on site to store tools and materials that can be damaged by water (I.E. bags of cement and plasterboard) or damaged by direct exposure to sun.
Re: How difficult to build a DIY kit home?5
Mar 14, 2016 8:38 pm
I'm trying to go down this path now myself. As others already said, you'll need to work out storage and logistics first. The next most important thing is the real man power that you have on hand especially since you're on slope as well. You better work out which parts you can do yourself and never overestimate your own ability. Trying to rectify something you have no idea where goes wrong is the last thing you want to do.
For myself, I know I can design my house and let professional to work out the engineering part. I know I can work with things inside the house and I know what materials I want for every part of house. But I do know that there is no way for me to erect the frame and walls on my own on the slope, so that's something I would left professionals to finish off.
List everything you can think of in an excel file, then you'll start to understand what you will be facing.
Re: How difficult to build a DIY kit home?6
Mar 14, 2016 9:25 pm
I see my last post has disappeared so I'll be brief this time....
Thanks guys for the feedback.
Storage of the kit pieces is not a problem for me. Logistics for the site is a problem and that's why I (and my wife) want to build as much of the house as possible. The incredibly poor response (including many no responses) from suppliers (from large building companies down to plumbers) has forced me to reduce dependency on others as much as possible.
I'm looking to use a roof SIP (structural insulated panel) such as the Ritek product. This will provide a roof and a ceiling in one hit and also provide the high cathedral ceilings we're aiming for.
Constructing the wall panels in manageable and insulated sections via steel or timber frames is what I'm considering now. I could buy wall SIPs and I'm investigating some options on that now. I don't have costings yet. In the meantime I'm wondering "Why not just build all the wall sections myself?".
Perhaps someone else has already evaluated this option and concluded the costs or other factors didn't make it worthwhile. Hence my initial questions.
Re: How difficult to build a DIY kit home?7
Mar 14, 2016 11:01 pm
I think your poor response is probably due to materials you choose.
I have been weighing up pros and cons in going for SIPs, ICF, EIFS, hebel and other alternatives myself.
What I have been looking at is mainly cost upfront, long term cost, cost and effort of rectifying things if things start getting out of hand.
The main thing is that I would choose to use something I can get information and help from multiple source if needed. That rules out SIPs and ICF and most of those systems are generally not compatible to each other, so when you are stuck, you are really stuck.
For EIFS and Hebel, you'll have more choice in suppliers and general there are more people ready to help out (at a cost) just in case for these systems.
Currently I am leaning towards Hebel myself. I'm on a steep slope and had been planning on my build for few years. I have my own storage and will build both driveway and shed in first place. My build will be at top of my block but access is at bottom, so with driveway and shed in place, problems with logistics are easier to manage.
Re: How difficult to build a DIY kit home?8
Mar 15, 2016 11:47 am
Some of those you mention snowing are reportedly very good products particularly the SIPS and EIFS. The biggest problem in a country like Australia is where the building industry and most trades are pretty conservative. Most don't want to know about any of these " new fangled inventions" and just want to stick with what they know ie stick framing and cladding or over in WA double brick homes.
The biggest problem you will find is finding trades willing to work with these products.
Forum member Rufftuff did a roof using EPS panels...
and if you do a search in the OB section you will find more info on SIPs etc.
The biggest issue I have with Hebel is that I have seen quite a few homes clad in it but a lot have cracks in them after only a few years. Someone I know who has clad a few said that if you follow all the instructions properly, use the right screws, the right battens spaced accordingly etc then you won't have problems. Most of the ones with problems were project homes so I guess like anything you get what you pay for.
Re: How difficult to build a DIY kit home?9
Mar 15, 2016 1:30 pm
One other product you could consider for walls is Zego. I have not used it but it would look attractive for a DIY.
Perhaps the most important question is the value of your time. It you have plenty of time and cannot otherwise use it to make money then DIY is the way to go. However if you could use your time productively in your employment then DIY makes no sense, leave building to the professionals.
When I choose to work on the tools my time is only worth around $50/Hr but when I work as building consultant it is many times more than that.
Do your sums and accounting, allow for the risk of errors then take a cold shower, If then you are still keen then yes give it everything you got.
Foremost Building Expert in Australia,assisting with building problems/disputes, building stage inspections,pre-contract review advice for peace of mind 200 blogs http://www.buildingexpert.net.au/blog
Re: How difficult to build a DIY kit home?10
Mar 15, 2016 8:10 pm
Stewie D: You are right on spot. Somehow people here are very conservative. I still heard a lot of people saying EIFS are not for proper building and they will get blew away if wind too strong... blah blah blah..... I have checked with few tradies and while they are ok to work with this system as it's getting popular for second floor, they aren't convince to work with ground floor in this system somehow which is understandable due to lower impact resistance even with XPS as base.
I have stayed at house built using hebel before and frankly speaking I didn't look at it at all at early stage of my thinking. It does look like a better option now as more tradies are experienced and willing to work on them now. (May be due to the huge number of apartments appearing these few years) It's a good system if done properly as you say. So I'm betting on it.
I have looked at Zego as an option as well. It looks really amazing and can be filled with concrete bit by bit as I was told. The only problem is that it needs a flat ground to work with, which means very expensive excavation for slope blocks. If block is flat, there's no doubt to consider this as option. But as building-expert said, this system really good for DIY. If ask for professionals to do it, cost will skyrocket easily.
I think you'll need to account for other cost as well like inspections etc.. There will be quite a few experts you would want to align before you get start. Like me, I'm trying to find inspector so that when I start my build later this year or next year, I know if I did anything wrong for each stage.
Re: How difficult to build a DIY kit home?11
Mar 16, 2016 8:49 am
We looked at Zego as an alternative to Besser blocks for our lower storey after a client told me that they had considered it for their build about eight years ago. I still get emails from the company after I signed up to download a few pdfs off their site.
The Zego blocks can certainly be put up fast. As long as you drop in the reo at the right places as you go one person who knows what they are doing or someone familiar with the system can lay all the blocks in three - four days for something like a three bedroom house. It is just like a giant Lego set. A DIYer would just take a bit longer.
Where it falls down though is that being so light it does tend to move around a lot so you need a lot of back bracing. Really windy days can play havoc with walls once you get up to about six ft high ! Window and door openings need a lot of work too - even more so if your walls and openings don't work out to full or half block sizes.
Quite a few blowouts when pouring the grout has occurred from some of the reports I've read also.
Still, the thermal qualities of the walls once finished are impressive and running services in the foam is apparently pretty easy too.
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