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Ralph's Forum Posts: 26
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By Ralph in Nashua, NH on 6/27/2006


Has anyone had any experience with this company? premiumsteel.com I just had my 2,600 sq ft house quoted by them... for all exterior, interior, floor trusses, and roof trusses, they quoted me just under $35K including stamped drawings. All I would need to do is find a builder in my area (NH) to put it up. It's a steel construction system using insulated panels (except floor and roof) similar to SIPs.

Thanks!

Ralph


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By Heidi in New Orleans, LA on 12/17/2006


Hi, Ralph:

I just came across your entry. Did you end up working with Premium Steel? I too had them price up my house plans. (We are in New Orleans and plan on building somewhere around the first of the year). I thought the price was very good and seemed thorough. However, I haven't physically seen one of their structures yet. Would love to know what you decided. Thanks.

Heidi

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By S in Columbia Station, OH on 1/29/2007


Heidi,

Caught your December posts, and would like to respond. Am not certain if you are looking at these systems because of their efficiency, quick construction or cost. I fell in love with the building systems by TechBuilt and at first, EnergyWise. Was thrilled to hear walls, windows and roofs would be installed in less than one week. For reasons we know not, TechBuilt bailed on the job without even notifying us. Haven't heard from TechBuilt or seen our down payment. We've retained a lawyer.   

With a northern winter approaching and an opened basement we scrambled and went with wood construction. In retrospect, I am pleased. The steel and Polyfoam systems are quite airtight, so much that a friend has trouble lighting a fire in his fireplace. I have found that the spray-foam insulation and radiant heat efficiency has provided an equal product. If you do opt for a newer method of construction, place construction beginning and ending dates in the contract. As these systems and companies are entering into the residential market, at least in our area, it pays to be overly cautious.


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By S in Columbia Station, OH on 1/29/2007


Ralph,

    Had a company called EnergyWise quote a 1,900 sq. foot addition at $35K plus install of $9K, floors, walls, and roof, including shingles! Worked with them and five weeks later the price was $48K with $9K for install. Didn't like the sound or the tactic and went with a company called EnergyWise, also of Cleveland. It quoted somewhere around $35K and $10K for install, same package. Very personable, totally unreliable, they dropped the project without notice and even the lawyer has yet to hear from them - since Nov.1, 2006.

    These systems sound great, but after talking with people all over the country, I would not build the system without also being provided a builder. When I first heard of these systems I called local builders, both independents and companies. All had questions, all were hesitant, none were confident. Each system has its own twist and even though they all use common building methods, you and the builder are guaranteed to have questions and tech support after delivery is not to be counted on. Also, does the stamp come with support, as in having a person show up at the town hall if needed, and, at what cost?

PS, we ended up with wood frame, lots of foam insulating, radiant heat, and are glad we did.


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By Heidi in New Orleans, LA on 1/29/2007


Hi,

Thanks for the reply. This is very disconcerting. I am still in the process of negotiating with TechBuilt. The TechBuilt rep I'm speaking with is starting his own distributorship down here in New Orleans. However, I've spoken to the owner, Bill Molle in Cleveland several times. He seems very forthcoming. I haven't yet spoken to him about a down payment. As this will be very substantial, I'm quite concerned. I'm weighing the options between TechBuilt, Premium Steel and a company call HSF in Collinsville, OK (this company is traditional steel framing). At this time, TechBuilt is offering to send a trained framing crew to erect the house, which sounds good to me. I should have the prices tomorrow.

TechBuilt is saying they can put the house and garage up in three weeks, as compared to 8 weeks with the traditional steel framing. If this is true, I will actually save some money. But, if they keep my money, then that's a different story. The concept of panelization makes so much sense, I just hate to give up on it. HOWEVER, I would rather give up than go through the mess you've gone through. I'm going to see what happens this week with the prices. If you don't mind, I'll follow up with you as soon as I've got some concrete pricing.

As far as the airtightness goes, I think we'll be fine if we get a good HVAC contractor who knows the details and will calculate the loads correctly. Would you mind giving me a little more info on who you spoke with at TechBuilt, and if any changes were made to your plans? You can send me a personal message. I really appreciate your input.

Heidi


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By Joe in Ruskin, FL on 1/30/2007


I have not used any of these people but, I have provided plans for steel SIPs to about 7 companies. All of them talked a great story early on, but once I sent the plans there were only two that took the initiative to keep coming back to me with questions and then follow through with quotes and only one continued to answer questions. 

I personally would not do business with someone where I had to make most of the contact efforts or with a company that I would have to oftentimes leave a message for a return call. To me, follow-through is very important, particularly in the early stages.

These thoughts are probably just common sense to most of you out there, though.

Joe H


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By S in Columbia Station, OH on 2/1/2007


Heidi,


Hope the reply key gets this to you. Would be happy to save you some aggravation, not to mention a lot of dollars.

In Cleveland, TechBuilt was bought by Bill Molle in about 1994. He uses Bill Splete of American Exteriors for his construction crew. Molle's manner is very accommodating and forthright AND he has our $18,000 down payment, and has not contacted us since the last time he visited the site.

In July, Molle said that in order to get into the production schedule and avoid a possible rise in steel prices (I know, should have seen that coming!), we should make the down payment. As this was an addition, Molle said they would not make the panels until the foundation was in and they could be more exact. Both Bill and Bill came out after the foundation was poured, supposedly to do the final measurements and set up a construction date. They sat at my kitchen table and we all agreed they would be out on Monday, at the latest, Tuesday. I called the office and their cell phones for a little over two weeks. Nothing. Did get ahold of Splete and he was embarrassed and said nothing.

During some of this time, Molle was out of town courting businesses and talking franchises. Meanwhile, back to the basement with a 5' opening to the outdoors... We contacted the Better Business Bureau, and they contacted Molle. Molle wrote a letter stating he had tried to contact us to refund our money. Great!, said my husband: just in case two work numbers, three home numbers, two cell numbers, two fax numbers and a house address might have gotten lost, he immediately faxed the "missing" info to TechBuilt. Still have not heard one word from him or his company. Splete called the lawyer and said he was really not involved. Splete and Molle either share an office or a building.

There is a lot to be frustrated about. On the person to person side, how could he visit, commit and then lie to the BBB? He could just as easily have said, sorry, we are backed up and here is your refund. Financially, it has cost big time, not only the down payment, but scrambling to get tradespeople, constructing during inclement weather and now the lawyer and his fees...

The product reads great. The service is dishonest. If for some reason you decide to go with TechBuilt, make sure that there is a completion date in the contract. Remove the "go to arbitration" clause (time and money, and that is what we've just begun), and hold off on the down payment. If they are doing as well as they'd like you to believe, there is no need for a six-month or even a six-week advance from you.
 
Our addition is about 1,800 +/- square feet. When I was concerned about having the panels ready for the construction crews, I was told that this project might take only three to five days to construct the panels, so lead time wasn't a huge concern. Erection, including shingles was five days. Also, I would accept only a crew that has erected this type of house. They are not all equal.
 
I do hope this helps, let me know which way you go.

Susan

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By Ralph in Nashua, NH on 2/20/2007


Hi Susan,

Sorry to hear about your unfortunate situation. This is the first time in awhile that I have checked my forum post on this subject and was surprised to hear your comments. I'm certainly glad that I have not committed any money to going with this type of building system based on your experience. I put the builder we are working with in touch with Premium Steel and he seemed fairly pleased by what they had to say. They had been fairly responsive to my questions and even took the time to follow up with me on a number of occasions to see if I was ready to place an order. The builder we are using has many years of experience and builds many different types of homes.

After looking at what Premium Steel had to offer, and considering that we are trying to build an energy-efficient home, he didn't feel that using steel was the most efficient way. He is currently looking at SIPs and 2x6 panelized, comparing construction methods based on energy efficiency (focusing on air infiltration rates), and should be providing us with cost numbers very soon. This happens to fall in line with a new home that he just completed for himself so we are able to talk the same language and discuss expectations.

There was some concern over any issues going with steel systems, mainly in regards to their distance from our location if there was a problem; even though they claim we could have a tech at our site on erection day. If they messed up on a given wall, that didn't match the plans, how would this be corrected and how long would it take? This was a big factor for us in deciding not to go with a steel building system. Our house will be spray foam (or SIPs) insulated, with radiant heating, and we're quite sure that it will serve us well and save us a lot of money in the long run.

Best of luck with your litigation!

Ralph


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By S in Columbia Station, OH on 2/23/2007


Ralph,

Good luck on your project as well. Have been reading about several different types of spray-in insulation and it's like having SIPs with standard building practices; more familiarity and less hassle. Cannot say enough about radiant heat; other than after the tubing is laid, mark measurements on the floor and take plenty of digital photos. You never know when changes will be made. Also, place dates of completion in the contract, no mater how much you trust the builder or the system and remove any clause that says disputed items must go through arbitration or mediation boards before they can go to court. 

Good luck,

Susan


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By Ralph in Nashua, NH on 2/23/2007


Hi Susan,

Thanks for the advice! I do plan to take LOTS of pictures. It's taking us so long to plan this that I plan to document as much as possible. We too, have been looking into the spray-foam insulation. Fortunately, my mom and sister work for a big insulation company locally and can get us big discounts. I've also been lucky to find a plumber who is willing to work with us and let me do a lot of the work on the radiant heating, which will save tons of money. I've been pushing since day one to go with radiant and we've yet to find anyone who doesn't like it.

We hope to have the final pricing back from the builder soon on the SIPs and 2x6 panelized, so we can make a decision on which way to go.

Ralph


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By Anonymous on 11/22/2008


TechBuilt, Bill Molle, Bill Splete... SCAM.  P.M. me.

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By Anonymous on 11/25/2008


TechBuilt out of Ohio is a scam. They have a long history of taking money and not doing the work. Check with the Attorney General in Ohio. Bill Splete and Bill Molle will sweet-talk your money and run. PM me if you have any questions or information.

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By Anonymous on 11/25/2008


Heidi,

I was scammed by TechBuilt. Any chance that you have pending litigation with them as well?

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By Anonymous on 11/25/2008


Hello,

I also have been scammed by TechBuilt, Bill Molle and Bill Splete. Maybe we can pool our efforts? Please PM me.

Thanks,

Ken

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By S in Columbia Station, OH on 1/10/2009


Ken, and all others who dealt with Bill Molle, Bill Splete and TechBuilt:

We hired a lawyer. We "won" the judgement. We have yet to see a penny. Please tell me these unscrupulous people are not still out there doing business.

Susan


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By William in Painesville, OH on 3/24/2009


Susan,

I appreciate that you have "won" against TechBuilt systems and Bill Molle. But I have never scammed you, nor have you ever paid me, or TechBuilt, Inc. or TechBuilt Construction any money. I have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars to them as well.

What you guys are saying about me is slanderous and I am contacting the proper people to find out what my next course of action will be. This is the craziest thing, and it has ruined me financially. I have 6 kids and also got scammed by this company. I was a subcontractor who loaned them money, for which I have a website and a horrible reputation that keeps popping up. Say what you want about the people that scammed you, but this stops now with me.

William Splete


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By Faye in Marseilles, IL on 3/24/2009


William,


It sounds like you could have been scammed too. The problem is you are still doing business with these people as evidenced in your prior post. Obviously, money did change hands, or the previous poster wouldn't have won a judgment. If you feel you have been slandered, you should talk to an attorney. But if I were you, I'd save my money. If you lie down with dogs - you are bound to get fleas. I hope for your children's sake you find a new company to do business with. Good luck.

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By Daryl in Naples, FL on 8/7/2010


I just talked to Bill Splete, and he seemed very knowledgeable. I have seen all the negative comments about his company and am concerned that they will not do the work and run off with the down payment. I'm glad I saw the comments. Thank you.

DJ
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By Arne in Houston, TX on 8/12/2010


If you want to build with steel, there are large numbers of companies that are in the market, and research pays off.

A great place to start is at the product source and the largest steel producer in the US is Nucor Steel, who has been doing a lot to promote and support steel in home construction. The website for them is nuconsteel.com

In addition to being a major steel producer, Nucor has been building a network of companies throughout the country that use Nucor steel and their roll-forming technology. Nucor also has a selection of home plans that you can get ideas from, or use as is.

As another option, Steel Form is the manufacturer of the Delta Stud and Mega Joist, which reduce thermal bridging. Steel Form produces the steel studs and joists and can assist you in finding installers in your area.  The US website for steel form is steelform.us

In my own research on steel technology, I believe you will find that most of the local companies skilled in steel are in commercial construction. During the real estate boom, they probably wouldn't want to handle a small residential project, but with commercial construction soft, assembling a residential frame can be a great fill job for their crews to keep working during down periods.

If you work with someone who is not skilled in steel, you may end up paying a premium for their learning curve.

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By Jennie on 10/3/2011


Has anyone worked with TechBuilt and Bill Splete recently? PM me.
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By Preston in Amherst, OH on 12/3/2011


Jennie,

I built a TechBuilt house 8 years ago and have had nothing but problems with the house. In the winter, the house sweats between the ceiling drywall and the roof panel. I am told their were gaps that did not get sealed and these are a problem. For 8 years I have drilled 1" holes in the drywall at these seams and have shot foam in, to no avail. I found Bill Splete's name and company on the Internet and made contact. We made several appointments for him to come out and look at the house to advise me as to the fix. I wanted him to do the work, since he is one of the only experts I know of.

He broke every appointment and eventually stopped returning or answering my phone calls. I offered him money just for consultation, and practically begged to get him to my house and nothing. The guy is a flake!

Preston


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By Ken in OH on 1/27/2012


If you want to talk to me, PM me about my experience where I lost $48,000 to Bill Molle/Bill Splete... they collected money, started the work, claimed a "change order", and that was the beginning of the end. Bill Molle would never call me back and Splete never lived up to a promise and blamed it all on Molle.

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By Julie in Conneaut, OH on 3/31/2012


Bill Splete not only has unhappy customers, but employees that don't get paid, benefits that don't surface, and W-2 forms still yet to be provided, to name a few. I feel badly for anyone who has been involved with this company or currently is involved.
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