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Try one of our new Construction Bargain Strategies for free. Coupon code: CBS. One strategy could save you $1,000 or $10,000 or maybe $50,000 when you build or remodel.


The Owner-Builder Book: Special Reports in Electronic Form

The Owner-Builder Book: Special Reports in Electronic Form
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Author: Smith
ISBN: 1932272062

This is the downloadable .pdf of The Owner-Builder Book: Special Reports. This is the brand-new fourth edition; extensively revised and expanded to 312 colorful pages of bright ideas for building and more than a thousand links to make it a completely interactive learning experience for you. You can click through to helpful topics in our 25,000-page database (as well as other helpful sites) and contribute, question, or correspond with knowledgeable owner-builders in seconds who have "done it right".

We believe you can't do better than to read everything you can lay your hands on before you build. There is so much money to waste through ignorance. No skilled student of owner-building gets all they need from one book, be it ours or one of our distinguished colleagues. Case in point: At our workshops we ask people how many of the Ten Commandments of Owner-Building they remember after reading The O-B Book. Nobody could remember more than three, even though they were all planning to build within the year. That sort of unfamiliarity costs money and house quality.

So how do you master the subject? Not by memorizing; nobody does that. But by "immersing" yourself in the subject. It wouldn't hurt you to read a dozen books. We think our spin on it is money-saving, focused, and practical, and these reports are the proof.

Laced with several hundred new comments and suggestions by people actually building, here's a collection that should save you a hundred times it's cost. Several new reports are now included in response to reader interest.


Topics Include:

Special Report 01: House features that netted us $140,000

  • How to choose features that promote resale value
  • Popular O-B features
  • What your lender needs to know about your house features
  • What should your blueprints include?
  • What purposes your house plans serve
  • The roles of Architect vs. Draftsman vs. Engineer in design
  • Special Report 02: 100 ideas to make your house save money or effort

  • Geothermal systems
  • SIP's (Structural Insulated Panels)
  • House mass and orientation
  • Passive and active solar systems
  • ICF's (Insulated Concrete Forms)
  • Heat exchangers
  • Radiant vs. forced air heat
  • PEX tubing and leak prevention
  • Sealed combustion hot water heater vs. boiler
  • Special Report 03: Ten reasons the 1997 tax law benefits owner-builders

  • Special benefits for owner-builders
  • What size house you must build
  • Financial effect of marriage
  • What if you rent out your house before sale?
  • How to use the law to build for a living
  • How to own your own home free and clear faster
  • Special Report 04: How to save 90% of the cost of landscaping

  • Free help with your landscape plan
  • Effect of landscape on house appraisal
  • Play areas
  • Seed vs. sod
  • How to buy plants, trees, and supplies wholesale
  • Gorgeous lawn borders at low cost
  • What to submit to architectural committees
  • DIY and specialist-assisted pool construction
  • Hillside excavations
  • Special Report 05: Interviews with plumbers

  • 50% savings on 'foreign' fixtures
  • Septic system installation and cost
  • Can you save at the Kohler outlet?
  • PEX for hot and cold water supply
  • PEX in slabs where freezing occurs
  • Special tools on eBay
  • The Polaris water heaters
  • Owner-furnished plumbing supplies
  • Jetted tub comparisons
  • Tankless on-demand water heaters
  • Who sets tubs - framer or plumber?
  • Special Report 06: Interviews with electricians

  • Central vacuum installation
  • Running power to a rural site
  • Should you do your own wiring?
  • Elements of an electrical plan
  • Web links for load calculations
  • Huge savings on lighting fixtures
  • Internet suppliers
  • Use of jobsite generators
  • Special Report 07: Interviews with HVAC contractors

  • Multispeed systems, zones, power dampers
  • Efficiency differences in furnaces from 80%-93%
  • Duct sizes, air filtration
  • SEER ratings for AC from 10 to 18
  • Web links for heat load calculations
  • Huge savings from installing flex tubing DIY
  • Internet suppliers of heating and cooling units
  • System differences in an ICF house
  • DIY radiant heating
  • Warmboard options
  • Mini-duct Hi-velocity systems
  • Staple-up radiant systems
  • Heat pump vs. gas heat
  • Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERV)
  • Geothermal options
  • Extreme overestimates of heat loads by professionals
  • Special Report 08: Interviews with foundation contractors

  • Width and depth needed for code
  • Concrete stamping and cutting
  • Poured concrete vs. Gypcrete for radiant floors
  • Fastfoot fabric footing forms
  • Poured vs. block walls
  • Superior Walls pre-cast foundations
  • Adequate rebar
  • ICF foundations
  • Surface bonded concrete block
  • Permanent wooden foundations
  • Rebar grade and strength
  • Drain pipe options for walkout basement
  • 9-foot foundations, thickness vs. engineering
  • Problems with Superior Walls
  • Dirt work and trenching
  • Special Report 09: Interviews with siding contractors

  • Sheathing choices,sources and prices
  • HardiPlank, HardiBoard, HardiPanel
  • Finding an economical brickmason
  • Cultured stone
  • DIY rock siding
  • Stucco stone
  • Soffit, fascia, rain gutter and trim
  • Special Report 10: Interviews with framers

  • What constitutes quality framing?
  • Availability of framers
  • Panelized and SIP framing alternatives
  • Alternate technology framers
  • Post and beam/timberframe homes
  • Framing for ICF homes
  • Floor trusses vs. I-joists
  • Steel framing, price escalation
  • Roof trusses
  • Special Report 11: Interviews with insulation contractors

  • BIB (Blown-in Batt) system
  • Housewrap
  • Cellulose
  • Differences in walls and ceilings
  • Environmental illness and insulation
  • Rastra block
  • ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms)
  • Protecting foundation foam
  • Real savings in alternate systems?
  • Spray-in-place polyurethane and Icynene
  • Biobased foam
  • Design adaptation for ICF homes
  • Special Report 12: Interviews with drywall contractors

  • Smooth vs. textured finish
  • Greenboard vs. cement board vs. Denshield for baths
  • Do your own drywall?
  • Risks of DIY
  • Drywaller price gouging
  • Special Report 13: How to save on your property taxes

  • How to appeal your property tax assessment
  • Special tax breaks
  • Market value myth
  • How to adjust your design for lower value
  • Lower taxes for owner-builders
  • Special Report 14: Staying on schedule

  • Schedule sequence and components
  • Task durations and lead times
  • Problems with rework
  • Getting subs to show up
  • Developing back-up plans
  • Interviewing subs
  • Building in the off-season
  • Critical path scheduling
  • Accelerated scheduling
  • Special Report 15: Staying on budget

  • How do I treat sales tax?
  • Using budget spreadsheet to track actual costs
  • Square foot costs
  • Internet cost estimating
  • Special HD and Lowe's costing services
  • Contingency planning
  • Usng study plans for preliminary budget
  • Include land costs?
  • Sample percentage budgets
  • What the bank wants to see
  • Special Report 16: Lenders offer their suggestions

  • How to find a lender for your project
  • How banks evaluate you
  • Checking your own credit first
  • Bracketed origination fees
  • Internet lenders
  • What you should know about lien laws
  • Local non-bank sources
  • Can mortgage brokers help?
  • Points and fees
  • FICO scores
  • Problems with "owner-builder program" lenders
  • HELOC's and interest-only loans
  • Community banks and credit unions
  • Information lenders need from you
  • Special Report 17: Owner-builders offer savings suggestions

  • What to say to vendors
  • Start with bids from a general
  • Buy materials separately
  • Limit self-work
  • What the ads tell you
  • How to get upgrades at the basic price
  • Results from multiple bids
  • "Make them an offer"
  • Service after the sale
  • Off-season buys
  • Buy through someone else
  • Free materials
  • Unclaimed special orders
  • Special Report 18: Owner-builders on staying organized

  • Deadlines
  • Purchase orders
  • Being on site
  • Project management software
  • Other computer uses
  • Where to get construction knowledge
  • Simple management systems
  • Most important information
  • Special Report 19: Owner-builders on quality

  • Energy efficiency
  • Quality upgrades
  • Quality of process and product
  • Plumb and straight
  • Placement of outlets and telephones
  • Differences in level of finish
  • Custom windows
  • Special Report 20: Owner-builders on the best and worst things they did

  • Computer use
  • Staying on schedule
  • Construction shows
  • On-site supervision
  • Problems hiring friends
  • Too much self-work
  • Product problems
  • Value of planning
  • Helpful vendors
  • Special Report 21: Architect interviews

  • What architects expect from clients
  • Costs and fee schedules
  • When to get architect involved
  • Architectural software
  • How to find a good architect
  • Architect vs. Designer
  • How good design can save money
  • Internet plans
  • Architect attitudes about owner-builders
  • Special Report 22: Designer interviews

  • What designers need from clients
  • Costs and fee schedules
  • Revisions to building codes
  • Is an architect's "seal" ever necessary?
  • Regional differences in design
  • Designer vs. architect
  • DIY design
  • Adapting internet plans by local designer
  • Seismic calculations, energy analysis, soils report
  • Design considerations for your house
  • Special Report 23: Interviews with independent inspectors

  • Difference between municipal and independent inspector
  • Costs and fee schedules
  • What they inspect and how long it takes
  • Complexity of building codes
  • Owner-builder disasters
  • Foundations, carpentry, deck deflection
  • Insulation, sheetrock, moisture barriers, shingles
  • Successful owner-builders
  • Special Report 24: Planning steps that save you countless hours and aggravation

  • Avoidable delay items
  • Websites that help you plan
  • Planning software
  • Avoiding change orders
  • How planning saves money
  • How soon to go to drawing phase
  • Avoiding disasters
  • Special Report 25: Construction bargain strategies for the commando shopper

  • How to talk knowledgeably to subs and vendors
  • Making money when you shop
  • How to buy - when to buy
  • Barter possibilities
  • Better than contractor prices
  • Hidden discounts
  • Multiple bid savings
  • How much can you save on DIY?
  • Buy wholesale
  • Direct internet buys
  • Savings on construction financing
  • Low-cost plans
  • Cabinet bargains
  • Energy savings that pay you
  • 10% off all big box purchases
  • Buying groups
  • Free interest
  • Lumber bargains
  • Stone and tile savings
  • Choosing a plan that costs less to build
  • Free deliveries
  • Special Report 26: Owner-builders on desirable house features

  • Built-ins
  • Custom bedrooms
  • Kids' features
  • Computer and networking capabilities
  • Regionally-based features
  • Indoor air quality
  • Kitchen upgrades
  • Deluxe bathrooms
  • Special Report 27: How to paint your house like a professional

  • Supplies and equipment rentals
  • Prep work
  • Effects of spray painting
  • Safety precautions
  • 80% DIY savings
  • Immaculate surface preparation and cleaning
  • Day labor for unskilled tasks
  • Synthetic stucco
  • Prefinished HardiPanels
  • Special Report 28: How to sell by owner

  • Sell higher than a RealtorĀ®
  • Enhancements for quick sale
  • Home inspections
  • Telephone sales script
  • RealtorĀ® commissions
  • Capital gains tax law
  • Paperwork for owner-seller
  • How stated house size is determined
  • Special Report 29: How to pre-wire

  • Smurf tubing
  • CAT-5 vs. wireless
  • Security, crosstalk, interference
  • Coaxial, fiber optic
  • Alarm, telephone, home theater
  • Whole-house audio
  • Integration/automation
  • CAT-6

  • Special Report 30: How to build a log home for $60 a square foot
    • Shell components
    • Wide bid variations
    • Hidden costs
    • Bundling and unbundling
    • Grade-stamped logs
    • Challenging homesites
    • Log home shows

    Special Report 31: How to buy furniture at factory prices

    • Do you need to work with a designer?
    • Furniture plans for unusual homes
    • Buying clubs
    • Bargains
    • Internet purchases
    • Wholesale vendor list
    • Furniture in design software

    Special Report 32: Ideas if you use a general

    • GC's as framers
    • Does general stand behind the work?
    • Are subs tied to generals?
    • Getting a contractor's license
    • Items GC's don't include in estimates
    • Builder magazines
    • Hassles
    • Contracts and legal safeguards
    • Underbidding and no-change clauses
    • Use of a project manager
    • How cost-plus works
    • What are percentage fees based on?

    Special Report 33: How to buy land 

    • Land for back taxes
    • Site access
    • Buyer-seller deals
    • Impact fees
    • Perc., soils, and geo tests
    • Land loans
    • Reclaiming trees from your land
    • Land auctions
    • Developer purchase
    • High prices
    • Defaulted loan purchase
    • Buying direct from owner
    • Researching vacant lots
    • Building on a small parcel
    • Hillside lots

    Special Report 34: Making your addition or remodel easy 

    • Rehabbing older homes for profit
    • Kitchen remodels
    • Remodeling contractor games
    • Structural problems
    • Insurance proceeds after house fire
    • Remodeling disasters
    • Material bargains
    • Tax implications of leaving one wall standing
    • Engineering and new building codes
    • Builder's Risk insurance

    Special Report 35: Green building for owner-builders 

    • Reducing energy use
    • Geothermal systems
    • Wood heat
    • Direct vent fireplaces
    • Sustainable development
    • Indoor air quality
    • Solar heating
    • Waste systems
    • Value vs. budget

    Special Report 36: Alternative building materials 

    • SIPs, ICFs, hybrids
    • Operating savings
    • Offsetting structural savings
    • Steel, adobe, staw bale
    • Logs, Air-Krete, Rastra
    • Geodesic domes
    • R-Values
    Special Report 37: Better home design leads to better project
    • Common design mistakes
    • Accessibility standards
    • Budget and lifestyle
    • Self-design
    • Saving money while adding features
    • What a complete set of drawings includes
    • Study plans for rough cost estimates
    • Stock plans
    • Design software
    • Engineering tasks and costs
    • Converting ArchiCAD plans to PDF

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