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Panelized vs Stick-Built


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By Eugene in Quincy, CA on 2/6/2005


Does anyone have experience with the "panelized" packages for building? My wife and I are looking into the panelized package home kits for our plans and wanted to know if there are any advantages to going this route. We have the company's sales pitch, but wanted to hear from someone who has actually done it.
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By Richard in Oceanside, CA on 2/6/2005


Yes, I have experience with panelized. I have built both packages designed by a company and custom plans that we had panelized. Great experience both times, but I am sure that varies with the company you choose. Who are you looking to use? The advantages I saw as the most valuable were:

1. Quality of material. The company I used had all 2x6 framing for all walls and used only #2 or better kiln-dried wood with mold inhibitor. Very expensive stuff, but they are a lumber company and make their own stuff.

2. Ease of construction. Only hard part was finding a framer who understood they could not charge me the same price as if he stick-built it. My recommendation is to just find someone with basic carpenter skills and who can operate a large forklift or boom truck and 4 general laborers.

3. Speed of construction - had a 1,450 s.f. house in "lock-in" in 4 days with 4-man crew. Try that with stick-built.

Hope this helps,

Richard
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By Drue in Henderson, NV on 2/7/2005


Did you save any going the panelized route? And what company did you use? I am talking to AllPro at the moment; I am in the process of having my plans drawn up by a residential designer and will be sending them out to bid. AllPro is on my list to send them to, they seem really cool and they will deliver to NV where I will be building. They also, and I quote, "can build any plan you send to them." So, I am interested to see how much they are. They also can give a price on the kitchen and a curved staircase with wrought iron balustrades.
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By Morie in Robbinsville, NJ on 2/7/2005



My wife and I had done the general (and total) research for panelizing. Then we passed the idea on to a family friend (man and wife) who have ran away with the idea. They are now building their third house here in New Jersey (Blackwood and Cherry Hill townships). We are with them every step of the way. Panelizing is:

1. Cheaper than stick-built overall in most cases.

2. It takes less time. They had their first home built in an average two months hampered by the weather. The weather (rain and snow) is your worst enemy.

3. It is superior in quality to stick-built when you have a company that provides minimum 2x6 external frame materials. Stick-built is usually 2x4 all around. The stronger structure is supposed to take the shock of transportation and more.

They are using companies that are providing what I call "panelized basements" as well. In other words, pre-formed and pre-fabricated. BETTER, SMOOTHER, STRONGER AND EVEN THICKER THAN ALMOST ALL "POURED CONCRETE" forms I have seen.

Your limitations are:

     a. As I said, the weather. The weather can throw your scheduling awhack. It can cause cost overruns and time overlaps.

     b. I know of a company that provides the framers with their structures. In fact, they won't guarantee their structure if you use someone else, otherwise they give you a 10-year warranty on the entire frame, and more on the roof.

     c. Your own choice of contractors, and guaranteeing their workmanship. It could be difficult to get the best.

Morie


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By Sybil in Leominster, MA on 2/7/2005


I found Allpro to be very well-priced compared to some other panelized companies that offered similar "package" deals. Their customer service is excellent as well. They are very easy to reach, and have quick responses to any questions. I'm not sure if ordering everything from them from the panels to kitchen cabinets is the most cost-effective way to go, but it is certainly convenient.

Landmark Homes delivers throughout the US, and we were planning on using them to build this spring. Unfortunately, we weren't able to get a growth permit this year; so we have to wait another year, or sell our land and start again. Landmark has an easy O-B financing program. My rep has given me a lot of good advice. They do not charge a consultation fee and will help you every step of the way.

Also, make sure to check your local lumberyards for panelization. Our small-town lumber company panelizes for GCs all the time, and are willing to panelize for us as O-Bs.


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By Drue in Henderson, NV on 2/7/2005


Do you have the website of Landmark homes, so I can have a look? I think that AllPro (Larry is the CEO) has great integrity and is very upfront, and that means a lot to my wife and me. We are always very aware that we have to stay as close as we can to a budget that we can afford, so we would like to compare the two. Thank you in advance for your opinion.
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By Sybil in Leominster, MA on 2/8/2005


The website for Landmark is lhlc.com.  I agree that Larry at AllPro seems very honest.  I have no complaints about AllPro, whatsoever.

I find the staff at Landmark to be very easy to work with, honest, and more than willing to answer any of my questions.


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By Sherry in NJ on 2/9/2005


Morie,

Would you please post the name and website of the company you mentioned in your post which supplies framers with its panel package? Also, do you have (or does anyone else out there have) any typical pricing for labor only on panelized framing? We will be building in South Jersey. If anyone out there is kind enough to reply, please let us know the general area you're quoting the price from. I'm finding it a little hard to compare pricing on panelized packages because we don't have a design yet, and when we compare SF prices on pre-priced plans that the panel companies have available, some come insulated while others don't. This makes it hard to get an apples-to-apples comparison without knowing SF pricing for insulation. Thanks to Morie and anyone else who can help with these questions.


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By Don in Agoura, CA on 2/10/2005


My experience with AllPro and Larry was particularly poor. I am lucky I am only out the deposit on engineering my plans and four months of my life, (and interest payments) and not a panel deposit. Contact me if you want details of my experience as posting them here does not seem appropriate.

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By Morie in Robbinsville, NJ on 2/10/2005


I will be quite interested in your experiences. Its good to know for processes of elimination.

Morie


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By Brad in Bellevue, WA on 2/11/2005


Who has actually used AllPro and what was your experience with the company and product?  Thanks.
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By George in Sparta, NJ on 2/14/2005


I am building a Modulex panelized home in Sparta, NJ. Excellent support through their agent, Home Builder's Network. I have only had one problem. Modulex is located in Canada and my request for plan changes took forever to accomplish.

Looking for a capable framer in North Jersey who will not charge stick-build prices, any leads?


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By Morie in Robbinsville, NJ on 2/15/2005


Yes, I have framers who have done a couple of panelized homes. PM me and we will pick it from there. They are very good and reliable. They just finished erecting two 4,400 s.f. homes in Cherry Hill.
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By James in Broadview Heights, OH on 2/15/2005


The most recent issue of Fine Homebuilding had nice articles on both panelized walls and plywood vs. OSB. Good website also, Finehomebuilding.com with archived articles.


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By John on 2/20/2005


Hello all,

I have been researching and going over old threads and forums, especially about traditional stick-framing in comparison to panelized construction. I have been getting quotes on a custom ranch house of 2,700 s.f. being built in Northeast Ohio. It seems that my framing lumber costs have been coming in the $11-$12/s.f. range, plus the framer's labor cost of $4-$5/s.f. I just recently received a price quote from Landmark Homes for a panelized cost of $24.80/s.f. for materials and delivery, plus I will have to add the cost of framers to erect the panels, which I don't have quoted yet, but will probably be at least $3/s.f. for whopping total of almost $28/s.f.

Can someone tell me who has gone panelized, if this is way out of line for s.f. costs, or if this preliminary high bid is likely to go lower. I am awaiting a bid for AllPro out of Canada which will include windows and doors, and I just had a first meeting with the local Wausau rep.

Even though I understand the benefits and the concept of factory-manufactured panelized walls, so far in my example it's not even close to being competitive.

Any insights or past experience would be most appreciated.


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By Jim in Fredericksburg, VA on 2/21/2005


Has anyone in the Virginia area used panelized walls? I've been trying to find a company in the area that manufacturers this type of wall and sells to O-Bs but haven't had any success.
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By Sherry in NJ on 2/22/2005


Jim,

Try ASBsystems.com. I believe they're right there in Va., and seem to have good pricing on panels. However, you will still have to add in the cost for the panel erection; and as you can see by the posts on this and other threads on this site, it isn't easy to find framers with the proper experience in panels who don't charge stick-built prices.


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By Bill in NJ on 2/24/2005


Hello,

I am new to this forum and am having some trouble with trying to reply to a post for information. I was trying to get as much information as I could on SIPs panels and preformed concrete basement walls.

 I was trying to reach Morie in Robbinsville, NJ, since I live in NJ and he seemed to have a lot of knowlege on the subject.

At the momment, I am clearing my property & contacting builders. I would like to do a significant amount of work myself and would like to have a shell built if possible. I am very interested in SIPs--I just do not have any information about them in the area.

Any help/information would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Bill


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By Sherry in NJ on 3/11/2005


Heather-We have actually not reached that point yet.We were seriously considering using Allpro (abshomes.com) out of Canada, as they have very good pricing and were lauded very highly on various other threads on this site. However, a poster on this thread recently gave a very negative report on them. Naturally, this has given me pause about using them. The poster stated that it wouldn't be appropriate to post details about his unhappiness with them on this site, but offered to do so in a private message to anyone who was interested in contacting him. I did so, never received a reply from him. So there's presently a big question mark in my mind.

George, who's also building in NJ, is using Modulex; he says you have to go through their US agents at hbnsales.com. I don't know anything else about them, though (reputation, etc.). I do know that with either of these companies, though, you have to find your own installers. If you do happen to locate any good reliable installers, I'd appreciate it if you'd let me know. Also, any other good subs. Of course, I'll do the same for you if I get to that point prior to you (I'm kind of doubting I'll be at that point prior to you; what is your schedule for breaking ground?)

Building in this state is not easy for a bunch of reasons (starting with obtaining land!), so I'm hopeful that those few of us who are bucking the odds to attempt to do it can be of some help to one another. Sorry I couldn't be of more help to you in regards to your questions. Good luck and let's keep each other posted on progress.

Sherry

P.S. Anyone building in NJ on a smaller-size lot who has questions about well/septic, I recently and very reluctantly became quite conversant with a lot of the applicable rules & regs. If I can help you, let me know.


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By Morie in Robbinsville, NJ on 3/28/2005


I have the information for the panelized framers in New Jersey. I know a few people who are planning on building were asking for it. Please PM me and I will give you the full information. A few of you had PM'd me before but I couldn't get back to you ASAP then.
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By Brad in Raleigh, NC on 4/1/2005


Hi!,

I'm in North Carolina and am attempting to have a 2nd row beach cottage errected on a beautiful coastly North Carolina beach.

I'm struggling to find framers in this region that price their work and have experience using panels.

Would be willing to pay a crew to come down and work here and perhaps even broker some free use of our beach cottage once completed.

Please let me know of any panelized crews you might recommend.  Also, if you know what rates look like in your region for errecting a 2-story "box" that would be fantastic.
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By Sherry in NJ on 4/1/2005


Bill,

I've been told by a couple of panel companies that labor for erection of the panels nationally averages somewhere in the neighborhood of $4-$5/SF of under-roof space. Don't know how accurate that is, because I still haven't received the names of panelized framers in my area.

Good luck.

Sherry


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By Emily in Redwood City, CA on 4/3/2005


Off topic, but how in the world do you post a new thread on this website?
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By Jeff in Provo, UT on 4/3/2005


Go back to the beginning of forums, click on the forum that you would like to post to, then click on the "New Topic" button.

Just enter the thread title and the first message in the thread and it will be posted.


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By Drue in Henderson, NV on 4/24/2005


The strange thing is that when you speak to panelized building companies, they will tell you that basically you will only need yourself and four monkeys to put one of their houses together. Again, they overdo the simplicity of your project, but $4-$5 a sq. ft. to put together a Lego kit that has been pre-marked in the factory also seems a little rich don't you think? Personally speaking, I would say that you need a site carpenter and between two and three laborers.

Now a site carpenter you can hire by the day for roughly $175-$200 per day, and cash in hand labor about $60-$100 per day (friends and family are cheaper, and I'm sure you can also find a site foreman or carpenter even cheaper than I have quoted). Now even at three weeks, which is highly excessive for a panelized home, as normally you can be locked in between five days to two weeks on a home of about 4,500 sq ft. So a 3,000 sq ft home at $4 to erect per sq ft = $12,000 min as opposed to $3,000 for a head carp. and $4,500 for hired help over a three-week period! 

If you make the effort to find a site foreman or a qualified carpenter there are not many that will turn down three week's work, and as for the labor... have you never driven past a "7-Eleven"at 6 a.m. and wondered why there where so many guys hanging around? Because the majority of builders don't, and nor will an experienced carpenter.
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By Richard in Oceanside, CA on 4/24/2005


I agree with the above post. There is no way that you should be getting charged $4 to $5 a sf for a panelized house. That is what we are charged for normal framing of a stick-built home. $4,000 should be plenty for a 2,500 to 3,000 sf house if done as stated above.
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By Drue in Henderson, NV on 4/25/2005


It sounds as though you have been informed or misinformed that "Panelized Framers" are specialists, well they are not. This is simplified home building and some builders may be awkward about it because most of the hard work and mystique has been taken out of the equation and of course they get less money. It's the same as PEX (Manibloc etc.) is to traditional plumbing, it's easier and cheaper. This is carpentry in a loose form, the only reason that you may need a qualified carpenter on site, is to correct any details that may need altering. It should take any "decent" carpenter/builder an hour or two to understand the plans and sections that arrive on site and if they don't, get a new one.
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By Sherry in NJ on 4/27/2005


I got the $4-$5 per sq ft figure from a couple different panelizing companies. I have not actually contacted any builders yet. There is a person who posts on this site who has offered several times to supply the names of panel erectors that he knows in my area, but then he does not reply. So it would seem that it's not so easy to even find them at the $4-$5 price.


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By Brad in Raleigh, NC on 4/27/2005


BTW,

A good friend of mine manages the Centex operation here in Raleigh, NC. They build about 500 units a years year and all of them are panelized. He told me they're paying $2.25/sf for framers to erect the shell. Now, while that sounds good, keep in mind that Centex promised to keep these guys busy forever, so Centex tends to dictate the price. Also be aware, that this is essentially an Hispanic crew with a crew leader who speaks good English and the rest take direction from him.

So, for a "one off" project, I think someone charging four bucks a foot is not a bad deal given that you can't promise them any more work and demand from the production builders will pay them $2.25 without any worries about getting paid, etc.

Just food for thought.


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By Angelique in Fort Washington, MD on 8/14/2005


Hi Jim,

Have you choosen your panelized system yet or are you still looking?  P.M. me if you haven't; I have a couple of company names to give you.

Angelique


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By Kristen in Snowflake, AZ on 9/3/2005


Morie,

Which panelizing company have your friends been using?

Kristen


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By Danielle on 11/16/2005


Dear Sirs,

I live in San Diego, CA and was wondering if you knew of the prices that are being charged to erect a panel home in So. Cal.; or if you know of contractors that work with panel homes so that I can contact them directly.  Any information you can provide will be appreciated.

Thank you,

DW


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By Kenneth in Lees Summit, MO on 11/16/2005


Danielle,

Welcome to the site. There is a way to get in direct contact with registered users in your area, and is perhaps more appropriate for the type of regional one-on-one exchange you are looking for. In the upper right hand corner of this screen, there is an icon titled "Owner-Builder Connections" that will allow you to send messages directly to individuals in your geographic area. If you are looking for region specific information, subcontractors, references, etc. it is much easier to do this.

Ken


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By Richard in Oceanside, CA on 11/22/2005


From my experience, (two panelized projects, one in OR and one here in So. Cal.)  what you need is a three to four man crew of experienced carpenters/framers and a boom truck to lift the trusses.  A crew this size can do a 2,500 sf house in about 5 working days to dry in stage.

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By Claudia in Glendale, AZ on 11/23/2005


We should be closing next week. We want to break ground right away. I just can't decide if I want to try the SIPs.

The stick build was not that bad for us ($42,000 for a home with 3,600 sf livable, plus a three car garage and about 2,000 sf porch area--16K lumber, 11K trusses, and 15K  labor), but I want the house to go up fast. 

I was quoted for a SIP of 1,600 sq ft livable, 2 car garage, and 1,000 porch area--it was $55,000.

It's hard for me to see the savings. I know some companies do the open-panel, which is like the SIP without the insulation.


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By Patrick in Orlando, FL on 11/25/2005


Hi Everybody,

Does anyone in FL have experience in going the SIP route?

Are there any SIP manufacturers in FL or nearby states that I can ask for a bid?

I am finishing my house plan and start filling my lot this Dec.

Reading this Forum about SIPs, it makes sense to me to go with SIPs. It seems like construction time will be faster. Eliminating a lot of O-B planning headache. More quality and less work. Cost should be less than stick-built. But that is just theory, not real experience.

Can they SIP my floor plan or I do I have to go with their floor plan?

Is there any adverse reaction from building inspectors about SIPs versus stick-built houses? In other words, are SIPs now popular enough that inspectors feel comfortable?

Is SIP-built better than stick-built in view of hurricanes?

Thank you for your kindness in answering my questions.

Patrick from Orlando, FL


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By Teresa in Martinsville, VA on 11/28/2005


Patrick,

Going the panelized route can save time and money, streamlining the process.  But be cautious about the company you choose to work with, some only deliver your package and don't support you through the project.  You need advice and resources available for the entire build, so ask about that when you call. 

If you go to the Wood Truss Council of America website it will show you how much the average Owner-Builder saves using components to build. 

Anyway, hope this helps,

Teresa


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By Gina in Yakima, WA on 11/28/2005


Do you know where on the Wood Truss Council site they have that information?

I know it is by far a better deal to buy trusses, but we are trying to decide about the panel walls.  We want just the cut-out walls, not the SIPs.

Thank you for all your help!

Gina


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By Patrick in Orlando, FL on 11/29/2005


Teresa,

Thanks for your advice. Did you go this route to build your house?

If you did, did all the benefits (cost effective, short construction time, energy efficiency, etc.) of SIP materialize? What would you do differently if you built again using SIPs?

Thanks,

Patrick


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By Teresa in Martinsville, VA on 11/29/2005


The address to the Wood Truss Council site is woodtruss.com/fad.php   That will get you to some interesting reading material on components.

We used Panelized Walls, Floor Trusses and Roof Trusses to construct our home.  We had a 2,200 square foot home under roof in 6 days.  Once the foundation was installed (we used Superior Walls, which I think is wonderful), then the floors, framing and roof went up, my husband and I did most of the interior work ourselves.  We even pulled our own wiring (didn't hook up the panel though). 

I'm thoroughly sold on this concept.  If anyone is motivated enough they can do this also.

Teresa


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By Claudia in Glendale, AZ on 11/29/2005


This sounds great Teresa! Can you tell us what your overall expense was? I am thinking about the floor trusses too, but it seems that a concrete slab will be easier. What do you think?
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By Teresa in Martinsville, VA on 11/29/2005


The general costs for the major materials were: the components package was $59,879, the Superior Walls (foundation) was $25,955 and the framing ran $13,644 for a total of $99,477 to get the house dried in (in 15 days from the foundation to the roof).  Then it took us about 4 1/2 months to finish with the rest of the work.  My husband took time off from his business (about 3 days a week) to get everything completed.  I love watching the DIY shows on hanging sheetrock and installing trim!  Anyway, we're in our house and loving it.  We're thinking about doing it all again in about 13 months. 


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By Claudia in Glendale, AZ on 11/29/2005


Thank you! So, if I want to save money, should I buy the components packet, and stick with the concrete slab? We will do the framing ourselves. What does the components packet include?


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By Teresa in Martinsville, VA on 11/29/2005


Components packages vary from company to company.  Some only offer exterior walls and roof--no interior walls or stairways.  We used a company that offered the components we requested, used the materials we wanted (plywood in lieu of OSB) and constructed the exterior walls 2 x 6, 9' floor to ceiling high.  It does require some research to find a company that you feel most comfortable working with. 
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By Gina in Yakima, WA on 11/29/2005


Teresa,

Thanks for the link, it is SOOOO helpful.  There is even a link on the site to component manufacturers in each state and from there, I found names of companies who will put up the frames and trusses, if needed.

We still haven't decided which way to go on the framing, but the panels just jumped miles ahead on our "probably list."

Thanks for your input.

Gina


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By Carlo in Wayne, MI on 11/29/2005


   HELLO, HOW IS YOUR BUILDING GOING, ESPECIALLY WITH I BELIEVED YOU SAID LANDMARK?. WOULD YOU RECCOMMEND THEM, BECAUSE IM A OWNER BUILDER STARTING IN MARCH OR APRIL WHEN THE WEATHER BREAK, I LIVE IN MICHIGAN (WINTER). 
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By Scottie in Durham, NC on 11/30/2005


Gina or Terressa,

 

Can you post the link for the list of manufacturers in each state?  I look on the site, but I didn't have any luck.  Thx.


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By Gina in Yakima, WA on 11/30/2005


The link is woodtruss.com/fad.php (same as above on Teresa's post).  You have to click on the yellow wording "Find a Component Manufacturer" in the blue header at the top of the page.

Hope that helps!

Gina


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By Scottie in Durham, NC on 11/30/2005


Thanks Gina!
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By Michael in Satellite Beach, FL on 12/10/2005


Does anyone have experience or knowledge of Sunlight Homes? They design SIP homes. sunlighthomes.com. I am impressed with the depth on info and attention to detail on their website. They seem pricey, but support O-B's and offer a very comprehensive service. Will be building in Weatherford, TX (near Ft. Worth/Dallas). Thanks in advance!


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By Kevin in Morgantown, WV on 3/10/2006


Hello fellow O-B's! I started planning my O-B house a year or so ago in Morgantown, WV. We started at the beginning of the year and we are rolling along. I enjoyed it so much, I went and took the contractor's test and now am licensed. I am getting ready to start a spec home at the end of the month.

I was reading the conversations on panelization and thought I would give my two cents. I panelized my home through a company called Sterling Building Systems, a subsidiary of Wausau Homes. They have a very high-quality product. They can build any house to prints; they include the framing, doors, windows and labor. The only catch - they only sell to approved builders. One of my best friends happens to be a salesman for them and worked me out a deal to get one of their approved builders to run it through their company. However, I now have become an approved builder.


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By Enrique in Dinuba, CA on 3/10/2006


Kevin,

I have been contemplating getting my license as well. How did you prepare for the test and how long? What resources did you use to achieve your goal?

Thanks for your advice.

ET


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By Kevin in Morgantown, WV on 3/10/2006


I used the books from the American Contractors exam class. If you study those books, it isn't too bad. Otherwise here in WV it is a tough test. I don't know what the American Contractors program offers in your area - in my area it was about $500 for the classes, but they guarantee a pass. I was able to find their books and just study them. Good luck.
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By Anonymous on 3/19/2006


Hi, I am getting ready to build my house, it is a panelized home from Nelson Homes. I am having an issue with framers. The two I have bids from can't seem to figure out that they are just propping this thing up, nailing and bolting it together. One of them has built two Nelson homes already yet they still both want to charge me $10/sq. ft to frame it.

Any ideas on what to do, anyone here built a panelized home and what did you pay your framers?

 

Dan


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By Teresa in Martinsville, VA on 3/20/2006


The fee for framing ranges from $3 to $7/sq. ft on the average (depending on the complexity of the design).  You might try going to ServiceMagic.com to locate competing bids for your project.  ServiceMagic makes sure the contractors on their site are licensed and insured.  They also ask for customer feedback and rate the contractors. 


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By Anonymous on 4/20/2006


Unfortunately, the person who recommended these builders was my panalized rep, I finally got the one that has done afew of these to bid it at $8/sq ft which is not REALLY bad i guess, i just thought it would be a lot cheaper.


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By Teresa in Martinsville, VA on 4/20/2006


Since building your own house is such a huge investment, investing some time researching your subs is a good idea.  It is always a good idea to get a few things from the sub-contractors before you hire them for a job.  First, I recommend checking multiple references!   Ask if they have photos of previous jobs.  Ride by and check any current jobs they are working.  Look at their work vehicle, is it clean and orderly?  And you should also let anyone bidding on a job know there are other bids coming in (so they don't think they are your sole contractor -- keeps them competitive). 

But the panelized rep can only make suggestions, they can not tell you who to work with.  Ultimately, it is your decision who you hire. 


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By Michael in Cave Creek, AZ on 4/20/2006


If you are getting $8/SF quotes for putting up a panelized package you need to do some shopping for a framing crew.  It is possible to get the labor on a stick framed house in the $5 per SF under roof range in Arizona.

I thought panelizing would be simpler and cheaper???

My advice. . . Keep shopping!!! Perhaps you could save some money and build more SF or put in some nicer finishes, if you bought some lumber and hired a proper framing crew.

 


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By Brandon in Lafayette, LA on 5/12/2006


After reading several forums on the benefits of panelized building systems, this seems like a cost-effective alternative to stick building.  Here in Louisiana, building materials are through the roof (due to the rebuilding after two hurricanes) I am having difficulty finding companies that service this state. Anybody have any companies in mind or can guide me in the right direction as to which companies service Louisiana and ones that have quality customs plans. Most of the ones I have seen look like boxes.  thanks
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By Kenneth in Lees Summit, MO on 5/19/2006


Lets try to keep the advertising off the forum.  If you want to contact a person directly, please use O-B Connections and take it off-line.  The purpose of the forum is a discussion of the merits of panelized framing, and I don't mind professionals and panelized companies providing input, as long as you acknowledge your affiliation.  However if your post is pure advertising, or I view it as pure advertising, it will be deleted.

If you have any questions, PM me directly.  Thank you for your support, and for contributing valid information to this forum.


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By David in Ocoee, FL on 7/21/2006


Michael,

I agree with you when you say that $8 per s.f. is a bit high. However, there are many ways of looking at the total cost and the long term cost of a project.

For example; does the $5 per s.f. price that you are quoting for stick built include the sheathing (OSB or plywood) and enough insulationto bring it up to at least R26? If not, you will need to add these to the cost of your $5 per s.f. figure, as a SIP already comes from the factory with these.

How about energy costs? The stick built home will have a thermal break every 16" o.c., which makes the efective R Value much lower that the static R Value, making it more expensive to cool and heat. In certain parts of the country, the wood will be suseptable to termite infestation.

There is even an SIP panel that will eliminate the need to use drywall, because it is clad in cement fiber board. This would bring down the cost per s.f. even further.

My point is; when you quote a cost per s.f., you have to look at the whole picture, not just a single component of the structure.

Thanks

David 


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By Larry in Lynden, WA on 7/21/2006


Hi Brandon,

I understand your dilemma. We just attended a Government sponsored event in Louisiana for developers and builders and have committed to supply panelized home packages from Canada. We will be shipping by rail directly to New Orleans area to keep shipping costs down. Allpro is also 100% custom so we are not restricted by a design you choose. Let me know if I can assist you in the future.

Best Regards,

Larry


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By Larry in Lynden, WA on 7/21/2006


Don,

There are two sides to every story usually; and I would be pleased to discuss this openly with anyone who wants Allpro's response to your posting.

Larry


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By Anonymous on 7/21/2006


Well, persistence is key... after going thru three people, I finally found a guy who really wanted to get his hands on a panelized house... so he is doing it for $4.28/sq ft. So far so good!!
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By Kenneth in Lees Summit, MO on 7/21/2006


Larry,

As moderator of this forum, I certainly have no objection to vendors as they bring a valuable experience perspective that controbutes greatly to the forum.  Also you are up-front about your affiliation, and I appreciate that as well as I am sure there are other people associated with vendors that do not disclose their affilitation.

However the forum is not for advertising.  I will not delete your message, but it is getting close to crossing the line between sharing information and perspectives and advertising your company.

Thank you for your consideration.


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By Teresa in Martinsville, VA on 9/12/2006


The absolute best way to make sure your plans are designed to local codes and your specifications is to use a local architect or draftsperson.  Purchasing plans from an online supplier can lead to more headaches than you can imagine if you want to alter them or bring them up to code. 

If you are using a panelized company to streamline the process, make sure you have a 'laundry list' of materials they use.  Especially if you are in a location that requires engineered seals prior to building. 

And I recommend getting quotes from multiple companies.  It is always in your best interest to compare not only packages but also quality of materials offered.


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By Jon in Ellicott City, MD on 7/2/2007


Asya,

I was at my county permits office the other day when I overheard a conversation that may be of interest to you.

A General Contractor (old,  older bugger - looked like he's been in the business for 40 years) was talking to a county official that he seemed to know well.  He was describing a second story addition that he wanted a permit for, and explaining why he was using a modular unit instead of stick-building it.  He was talking about the scarcity of good labor, but what caught my ear was the speed and quality advantages. 

These modular units are made in a factory setting, so everything is dead square/straight/plumb and nothing is exposed to the weather.  When the unit arrives at your site, 99% of the plumbing, electrical, internal and external finish work is already complete.  All of that work is done in a controlled setting. 

But speed is the most amazing thing.  Instead of a couple of months, these additions apparently go up in a couple of weeks.  Tear the old roof off, fortify some of the existing framing, and set your new second floor in place.  There's probably a little bit of work to frame in a set of stairs.  All in all though, the time that your house is exposed to the weather, and the time you are displaced from your house, is drastically reduced.

This contractor was working with an outfit in NY that specialized in these modular additions.  No, I didn't get the name.  (I was eavesdropping while having my own conversation.)  But I did a Google search on "Modular Second Story Additions" and got lots of hits.

I suspect these companies would have engineers on staff.

Good luck with your project!


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By Angelique in Fort Washington, MD on 7/2/2007


Hi Asya,

I'm trying to build in Fort Washington, MD and I am using two different companies, however, the SIPs (pacebuildingsystems.com) only sells through Structural Systems (structuralsystems.com) which is located in Thurmont, MD.  Basically, Structural Systems does external wall panels (stick) and interior wall panels, roof and floor trusses.  I will be using them to purchase my interior wall panels, roof and floor trusses.  I will purchase from them (at a mark-up of 15%) the Pacemakers SIP panels.  Pacemakers also sells their SIP Panels from 84 Lumber. However, this package will basically make my building frame go up fast.  I hope this info helps.  I will be using Superior Walls (superiorwalls.com) for my basement walls.  Just in case you didn't know, these walls come as precast cement walls that are engineered off the floorplans you send the company.  They usually can be set in a day if your basement isn't too large.  I hope this information is beneficial. Good Luck

Angelique


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By Bob in New Florence, PA on 9/16/2007


Patrick, I am just curious as to why you say that a panelized house is better quality than a stick-built house? Is this an assumption or something that you have researched and can share that data? I'm building a stick-built house with 2x6 exterior walls and I would put the structural integrity of our structure against just about anything.

I have seen way too many things happen during the building process, that I know if myself or my wife was not present during building, would have been disastrous. I would have a hard time believing that a house built in five days is going to be better than a house built in 4-6 months where the owner-builder goes over every thing with a fine-toothed comb. Our house is very custom and will have close to 15,000 bricks on it. I just don't see the logic with what you posted, unless you are getting a very basic cookie cutter type structure.


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By Teresa in Martinsville, VA on 9/17/2007


I would like to address the question of stick-built vs panelized construction.  First of all, it truly depends on the company you are dealing with, so I will just keep it to the information I have on a specific supplier.

The house does not need to be a 'cookie cutter' type structure.  It can be very elaborate in design.  The engineering staff draws the house and components in Autocad and works through many potential problems before it even reaches the job site.  Many of the plans purchased on websites from designers across the country have issues.  The panelized company can work through them, prior to it even reaching the building stage, and discover problems.  The panelized company will even incorporate your local building codes, which can save a lot of headaches with the 'generic-drawn' plans.  Also, the walls can be 2x4 or 2x6 or even 2x8, depending upon the design.

The walls are built on 'jigs' and checked for square at various stages of building.  All the trusses are built on specially designed tables with truss plates (about 80% of all contractors use some type of pre-built components, such as roof or floor trusses).  The headers over doors and windows are solid (which can be a huge difference in about ten years when you start seeing cracks around those openings if your stick-builder took short-cuts).

Among the many reasons to use panelized construction are:
1. Reduced on-site labor.  The crew size does not need to be as large and you do not need a master carpenter.
2. Reduced construction loan interest.  Due to the shortened construction cycle, your home is completed in a quicker space of time.
3. Reduced pilferage and vandalism.  Who is going to steal a 'wall panel'?  And if the windows are already installed, that eliminates the potential for them to disappear.
4. Reduced probability of shortages or missing materials.  The panelized company guarantees the materials to get the house to a dry-in stage.  If you are short on plywood or OSB or another material, they will make arrangements to supply them.  A GC will just come back to you for additional money to purchase those materials.
5. You know exactly what your materials will cost for the dry-in.  It is not a 'guesstimate' from the GC.  When you are working up your budget, this is an excellent point.
6.  Environmentally responsible. Trash removal and dumpster cost are less due to less scrap waste and job-site refuse. 
7.  Quality of materials.  The lumber supplied is #1 and #2 grade rather than what you see in most 'box stores.' 

Comparing stick-building to panelization is not 'apples to apples.'  There are many differences, but you probably won't find them until the house has some age on it. 

I hope this answers some of your questions.


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By Anonymous on 9/17/2007


Well, my house is done...here is a link to the site. Not all the pics are up since I have not updated it in months, but you can get a good idea of what a panelized house looks like. I would have to comment on whether or not panelized houses are structurally sound or not. I have 2x6 exterior walls, and the sheer nailing alone is way beyond what I saw any of the contractors out here do. I have been told that structurally my house is built like a brick (expletive) house! dreamn3d.com/house
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By Anonymous on 9/19/2007


I have been looking at building a house in North NY for awhile. The panelized concept is of interest to me mainly for the time savings, as I am not living in the same city. I've read through all the posts and it seems like lumber costs should be around $30K for a 2700 sq. ft. house. Labor for the construction of a panelized system would be around $15K?

I have been working with a company in this area and they want to quote an overall "package" and subtract from it, which brings the overall cost much higher than I think it should be.

I am mainly looking to get the structure enclosed. I would be doing all the interior work (electrical, trim, plumbing, floors, etc.). So, I am really looking for a company that could quote me time/material for the panelized system.

Any thoughts?

Thanks,

Bob


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By Douglas in Sacramento, CA on 12/19/2007


Can I reasonably add an addition to a stick-built house using panels?  We have a basic 1,400 sq. ft. ranch house on a flat lot and we would like to add 625 sq. ft. (master suite, office, laundry room) behind the attached garage (see picture of a very preliminary mockup of floor plan).  Thus, there will be a common wall mostly sharing with the garage.  Can this be done using panelized and if so, would it be cost effective?  We would still need to tie into the existing roof and we would like the addition to be as seamless as possible, i.e. the finished addition should look like it is part of the original structure.

Thanks,

Doug


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By Larry in Lynden, WA on 12/19/2007


Hi Doug,

Although it is entirely feasible to use panels (panelized) structure for your addition, I would recommend stick framing it for a couple of reasons. One, you will need to tie-in the roofline and foundation to the existing home and a site visit would need to be done by a panelized company to make sure it was accurate. Shipping one load of panels would not be cost effective for you, even if it was coming from a local company. The size of the addition is not large enough to justify the cost. Shipping cost could go toward framing labor.

I hope this helps.

Best Regards,

Larry


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By Mia in Louisville, KY on 4/4/2008


Hi,

My husband and I are ready to start building our home. We just ditched our original building company and are looking into more cost-efficient ways of building, using carpenters, etc.

My husband is very interested in the cheapness of panelized walls, but my objection to it is the resale value. To me, panelized houses are regarded the same as modular homes, equating to much less valued than stick built. Could someone tell me if it is so?

Thanks,

Mia


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By Pat in Arnold, CA on 4/4/2008


Panelized IS stick-built. You can't tell them apart once assembled. Panelized is just building your stick frame walls off-site and then bringing them to site and erecting in huge pieces instead of one 2x6 at a time. Same exact structure, just time (labor) savings putting up huge walls. You can get a panelized home "dried-in" in just a couple weeks, where starting from scratch with all the same lumber putting it together individually on-site takes months. 

We are going panelized with Viceroy.com. They can take any home with any design and build it in their factory and ship it to you. Saves you time and with one, flat dollar amount you can control your budget a whole lot easier knowing everything is there at your site from one vendor. 


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By Ivan in Mountain View, CA on 4/4/2008


Mia,

It is true that panelized homes can be similar to stick-built ones. The panelized home companies want you to believe that overall their price is lower than the price of a similar stick-built house. Often that is not the case. Also, make sure that if you go the panelized way. you are dealing directly with the manufacturer. Beware, there are some companies that disguise themselves as manufacturers when in reality they are just an intermediary sales team. Several of those hook their clients using their web sites. When contacted, they make you believe that they make the houses and that if you go with them you will save lots of $$$$$$. Once you sign a contract, they will try to keep you chained to them using deceiving and dishonest tactics. There are some honest panelized home manufacturers, but before signing any contract make sure you do your homework. Sometimes having a local framing team is better and also cheaper.


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By Mia in Louisville, KY on 4/7/2008


Pat and Ivan,

Thanks so much for your replies. My husband also contacted a Realtor friend and he said most of the ordinary houses on the market are actually at least partially built with panels. So that doesn't make any difference when it comes to resale price. We're thinking of going with panels because they come up quicker and are cheaper, but also with SIP, a lot better insulation and energy savings. We will definitely make our choice with time and getting to know the different companies and products there are. Thanks so much, again, for your replies :)


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By Mark in Louisville, KY on 4/11/2008


Mia,

I am in Louisville too and there is a company in Louisville called Fischer SIPs. You may already know this. If not though, you may want to talk with them.

They were at the 2007 International Builders Show in Orlando.

My wife and I plan to build in 2009 and are considering panelized too, but nothing final yet.


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By Mia in Louisville, KY on 4/13/2008


Card,

Thanks for the information. We've contacted Fischer SIPs and they should be sending us their info package. We also registered for their seminar on April 19 about panel building.

It's nice to know there are others in the area planning to do the same. If you'd like more information about the seminar, it's on their website. We're planning to start building in 2008 already, so you can send me a pm if you'd like to know more about the project...if ever we get to it. ;)


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By Mark in Louisville, KY on 4/13/2008


I did NOT know they had a seminar this Saturday, thanks for the tip, may try to make it.

I've included a picture taken from our property in case you're interested.

Thanks.


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By Brenda in Fairmont, WV on 9/16/2008


It's great to see a post from Morgantown. We live in Fairmont and need advise regarding panelized homes.  Our son is a contractor but I like the efficiency, and according to many, there is significant savings.  Do you know where the closest 'open house" or sales center is located?  We had considered a modular but the development we choose will not allow mods.  Any info. you can provide will be appreciated.  Thanks again. Brenda
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By Jade in Fairfax, VA on 2/7/2009


Hi Don,

I came across your posting about dealing with AllPro (see below). I'd like to get some details if you are willing to share your bad experience.  Did you still end up doing panelized method and do you have another supplier that you had good experience with?
Thanks for your help!
Jade


By Don in Agoura, CA on 2/10/2005


My experience with AllPro and Larry was particularly poor. I am lucky I am only out the deposit on engineering my plans and four months of my life, (and interest payments) and not a panel deposit. Contact me if you want details of my experience as posting them here does not seem appropriate.


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