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My husband and I want to build an efficient house

Ilovedctalk1 | Posted in General Questions on

My husband and I want to build an efficient house. The only problem is we are on a very tight budget.

We have 4 kids and are on a single income. we are going to be pushing it probably around 1300 square feet with same in basement. we would rather put our money into building a green home than a large and inefficient house. So im struggling with the heating and cooling. I love the idea of geo thermal because it does both and I like the warmth I’ve experienced in radiant homes. On a crazy tight budget I don’t think we can put more than 10k into the heating and cooling. I am leary of gas or propane for the price fluctuation. Any suggestions. We hav e wood burner at our rental and love the $0 heating bill since we have trees but don’t want to bank on our health always being god enough. Are there any similar options that you can pay up front so you can go without “paying”for heat. I am obviously new to all of this so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I also would love any other suggestions on windows ( like don’t go below this or you’ll hate yourself lol)or insulation etc. I want to make it wise decision with our money but it’s hard when you just don’t know what all of thele options are or even mean. thanks in advance. I really appreciate it

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  1. dankolbert | | #1

    Photovoltaic panels combined with an efficient electric heating system (like a mini-split) would allow you to "pay up front."

    Are you planning on building this yourself or hiring a builder?

  2. Ilovedctalk1 | | #2

    His uncle is a retired builder so we may hire a local amish builder to do the basement, walls, and roof. We would do windows, interior finishings except dry wall and maybe flooring.

  3. Ilovedctalk1 | | #3

    his uncle is really good at being told what to do and carring out the plan but isn't god at the plan our undressing the why behind specifics. Just a hands on guy if that makes sense

  4. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #4

    K. Nuss,
    A wood stove or a wood pellet stove is a good way to heat your home inexpensively. Dan Kolbert's suggestion of installing a ductless minisplit heat pump is also a good one.

    I don't recommend that you install a "geothermal" system, which is more properly called a ground-source heat pump.

    If you design a small home that is as close to airtight as you can make it, and is well insulated an equipped with high-performance windows, then your heating bills will be low, no matter how you decide to heat your house.

    For more information on these topics, see Green Building for Beginners.

  5. RZR | | #5

    If codes allow strawbale and earth construction has the best cost of performance. They can be labor intensive but it sounds like you have kids. It requires low skill set so large families can chip in and stay out of debt. Look around see what small square bales(14" x 16" 36") cost, but read the code below first so you understand what you are shopping for. If you can get them for less than $3/bale this may be a good path. You add an earth plaster and stucco for dirt cheap. Goggle some of the beautiful homes online. Here is a good code to follow for "load bearing":

    Earth construction, rammed earth, cob, adobe, same, low material cost, higher labor if no machinery is used.....some beautiful homes on the internet, and books.

    All completely natural fits tight with a amish builder. Thick walls, 12-24" thick. Framed metal roof, cellulose or straw or hempcrete insulation(depending on local sources) there, and a light concrete like perlite-straw-lime slab insulation. Most of these homes never get below 65F in freezing temperature when combined with solar passive designs, requiring very little HVAC. The walls and floor will radiate without geo thermal, but you could add it or as stated a mini-split-pv probably get you off the grid if the home is built right. There is ALOT to know to get to that level, the general public, most, can't just decide to try it one day and succeed.

    Good luck! I know whats it like being on a tight budget, kudos for staying home with your kids. If I can help in any other way, just ask.

  6. STEPHEN SHEEHY | | #6

    I'm in the middle of a new house project. My advice is to listen to Martin. Don't worry about what sort of heating system you need. Focus your attention on making the building envelope as efficient as possible.

    You can save a ton of money by keeping the shape simple. Square is cheaper than rectangular, but adding ells, dormers, hips and valleys cost money and make efficiency harder to achieve.

    Site the house close to the road, saving money on the driveway. Put it on a level site, saving money on site preparation. Our new house is on what looked like a level piece of land, but in fact, the ground at one end of the house was several feet higher than the other, requiring a lot of excavation and moving dirt around.

    A home with two stories is usually cheaper than with one. Make sure utilities are easily available and close to the house.

    There is a lot of good advice to be found at GBA.

    Unless you plan to do the work yourselves, and already know how to do it, stay away from unconventional building methods, like straw bale, etc.

  7. user-659915 | | #7

    Good advice on staying away from unconventional building techniques but I'm going to disagree with Stephen on form factors. Two story homes are the most efficient use of land in tight urban quarters where densities of 30 homes to the acre may be required by sky-high land costs but on an average American single family home lot of half an acre or more the best economy of materials and layout for a ~ 1300 s.f. house will generally be rectangular and on a single floor, around 28' x 48'. There's are reasons that the bungalow, the shotgun and the ranch home dominated low-cost home construction in the US for the whole of the last century and those reasons are economic and functional. There are plenty of inexpensive stock plans for this kind of home to be found online. Find a plan you like and don't mess with it - keep it simple. The one adaptation that makes sense: if it's a ranch plan it will often be shown with a 4/12 or 5/12 roof pitch. Change that to 7/12 or 8/12 and order raised heel 'energy' trusses so there's plenty of room for a thick inexpensive blanket of blown cellulose insulation. This will also give you a roof slope well-suited to photovoltaic panels. Of course be sure to orient the long axis of the house east west so you have plenty of south-facing roof slope for that later PV upgrade. Yes, stay away from propane and from geothermal and other premium-priced mechanicals. Yes install a wood stove and a minisplit heat pump. Do not be tempted to use that attic space for storage. No pull-down stair, just a well-sealed insulated ceiling hatch for maintenance access. 2 x 6 dense pack cellulose walls. You'll be way ahead of the game.

  8. Ilovedctalk1 | | #8

    thank you all for your kind responses. I will take all of this into consideration. Thank you James for your practical advice on which way to face the house. these are the things I fear I will not know to do and will be frustrated later that I was naive. Thank You Terry I am very grateful that I get to stay home with my children. does anyone know of a good place to order plans online. I am Not sure what all I need to have included to make it agood purchase for the builder. I live in ohio so how do I know if it meets the state requirements? I am also looking for a plan that best utilizes room sizes for material sizes. I don't want to buy a panel of drywall and have each room wasting several pieces by poor planning. any suggestions. also if we would face the house as james said with the length east to west. do I need to be careful about window place in it. I really want to have a lot of natural lighting and since then north is an amazing view would love to have large windows on the north side. Is that going to cause any unforeseen issues. Seriously any practical advice like that would be so appreciated

  9. dankolbert | | #9

    My practical advice is to think very carefully about any steps you take. You are hoping to build the kind of house it takes experience & expertise to pull off. There aren't really any shortcuts.

  10. Ilovedctalk1 | | #10

    I get ya dan. Unfortunately some times you just don't have the funds and the know how. I'm not looking for anything fancy. Im seriously on a 100k budget for a family of 6. Honestly all i want is a strong well built efficient home. I don't honestly care about the size. We can do an 800 sqft with 800 basement and I'm good. My kids are young and I'm home with them. I am homeschooling the oldest two and will the next two as they get older so there is no change financially coming like some families may have. My husband has his masters and we've managed to almost be debt free. Unfortunately being a mental health counselor to at risk middle school kids isn't anything glamorous in the way of pay but it's where he is called and those kids need him more than we need a big house. He's the ones taking them home when they get out of d.h. And their parents font care enough to even come get them. But I digress. I guess I'm just a little sad that a family trying to do it right and yet I'm not sure what right is when it comes to building. I intend to live here forever and take care of my parents. Im afraid that if we push our budget too far we may not be able to stay there. Anyhow there it is. I'm trying and I'm hoping to find a way to do this. We will be 930 ft from the rd. so that adds to drive way cost and electric hook up. So we are realty looking at 80 k for the building itself. No garage. Any legit advice seriously would be appreciated. If we have to have bedrooms in the basement would those mini split units work? It seems like radiant flooring would make better sense but I'm just beginning to learn about it.

  11. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #11

    K. Nuss,
    You have a limited budget, and you are asking many very basic questions that show that you don't have construction experience. I think that your best bet is to buy a modular double-wide and place it on a poured concrete basement foundation. Good luck.

  12. RZR | | #12

    If you go the modular-mobile home route make sure you add a storm shelter, I believe OH gets it's fair share of tornadoes, wind, hail......the sites I have been to the families most often die in these homes, and the ones that do have shelters don't take the sirens seriously especially in the middle of the night. We put them in the floor of attached garages for around $5000 here. These homes are usually built and insulated so poorly they don't take wind and hail either. R-13 walls, R-19 roof is not going to get you to low energy bills.

    You should get with your husbands retired builder get him out here if he is not up on safe energy efficient designs to ask your questions. To me, safety comes first, and in tornado alley light construction is deadly and has no place but to each their own. Your other and perhaps best choice is hire an Architect, a good one can pay for themselves. Many people think they are Architects, or try to save money by not hiring one with poor results and future maintenance cost.

    The most effective building that faces north-south incorporates passive (non mechanical) solar designs, another area of expertise and knowledge of free energy, midwest wind too. You don't have to have a roof that faces south or perhaps pay more for a lot that does, or limit yourself. PV can go on the ground in strong steel structure and face south capturing the suns direct beam more effective than the limits of a roof. Some restrictive covenants do not all PV on roofs so you'll want to read that in full before you purchase land.You want to understand the building code requirements from the local Building and Safety office, you may need to go to a different county.

    If you continue to read GBA and the beginner link Martin shared that's a start, if you want to be your own Architect you have a long way to go. From there figure out what type of home you want then look for a builder and/or architect that understands it.

    Most don't understand or have any real experience with the natural building methods I mentioned, don't let negative connotations scare you. Keep your options and mind open, in most cases the best cost performers come from utilizing low cost local material sources, and labor that is low skill set. The natural method require less, sometimes half the trades to build a home that result in lower cost. If you have ever tried to manage many subs you know what I mean. They have survived the mid-west for centuries built by European settlers, it's not rocket science I'm building with straw and earth now, we also do light construction, but like all construction methods there are things to know.

  13. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #13

    I suggested a double-wide modular on a poured concrete basement. My suggestion has nothing to do with mobile homes. A double-wide on a poured concrete basement will behave no differently during a tornado than any other code-compliant stick-built home on a basement.

  14. RZR | | #14

    I was at this tornado site last June, a 5 year old did not survive a mobile home that took at direct hit. There was a memorial written on the library walls made of old mortared concrete block, the only walls in the area that survived. Not uncommon for people in mobile and stick homes. I think they should be restricted form code, there are safer low cost mass solutions. Even you have to put some sweat equity into a safe building it's worth it. There are groups of people that don't believe in high debt to own a home. We hope to mobilize to areas like this soon, offer and teach people to not choose stick. They do since it is the fastest way to get back in the home since that is all that is known.

  15. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #15

    You are the only person in this thread who has mentioned mobile homes.

  16. Ilovedctalk1 | | #16

    Thank you guys. Terry, I always wondered about hiring an architect and I've ben following someone that isn't too far from where I live but on my small budget I wasn't sure if it was a gods user of money but I'm starting to think you may be right. He focuses on low mi lwaste and using the natural layout to keep energy use low. Im going to have to look into that again. I have onherited land on the farm I grew up on so the plot is chosen for me but it is gorgeous. The 3rd highest place in all the surrounding counties I believe. So for me a modular wouldn't feel safe. I'm sure there are some great built ones but the ones locally ive seen first hand come close to unusable in 20 years. Everything used inside is borderline cardboard. I did see some other green modulars online that about blew my mind in comparison to my prior knowledge and experience of these. I'm guessing they vary widely and we just dint have a god option here. Thank you again for indulging this amateur. I am learning so much and most of ask confidence in sticking to the goal and not getting discouraged.

  17. wjrobinson | | #17

    Modulars can be ordered custom. I have set a few. The frame is the same or better than local stick built. The cabinets, carpet, doors, door hardware, trim is crap. You can order a modular with all the crap excluded. Then finish it yourselves with higher quality items.

    My vote is for the same as Morgans. You can do it. wood heat and mini splits.

    NO large windows to the North, or maybe one and that window should be triple pane and not need to be operable. Read up on window selection here by searching. But basically a small home with lots of kids, will heat for low cost. Add a bunch of pets and you have even less need for heat.

    If I were you, I would build with the help of all that you can muster. I know you can do it. You have the passion. Involve the kids, search online for building plans, stop by a home being built you like and ask for a copy of the plans, I have done such. I have stopped in homes being built hundreds of times, have asked thousands of questions... When I started up I took the building inspectors to lunch and politely peppered them with questions taking pages of notes. I bought dozens of books over the years. I come here to GBA. I read Journal of Light Construction and Fine Homebuilding. They both have websites.

    Take James Morgan's advice. And also build strong and to proper tornado codes as Terry has concern for.

  18. RZR | | #18

    About the time I was posting this morning about mobile homes and tornado's one passed through Arkansas killing a father of three kids and critically injuring the mom in one:

    It went through three states last I heard. EF 2, 111-135 winds gets under the skirt and lifts it. A modular-stick won't do much better resisting flying debri as seen through out history. Look out basement do well but most here have view and walk out. People get into these unsafe homes to safe money, there are safer homes. Moore, OK and Joplin, Mo have 150 mile wind codes now in 2013, that's all stick or light frame can take, now after many deaths and injuries that s/b 250 which would eliminate light construction,

    And it's not even tornado season yet. Midwest has been getting hammered lately. About time some are cracking down.

  19. RZR | | #19

    AJ originally wrote: Terry, get a grip. This thread is NOTHING to do with mobile homes. You are smart but constantly conflate threads. You are a master conflationisto.

    Really? Where did K NUSS state that or are you once again acting as the owner of questions? You must have A LOT of time on your hands. I’m not sure where you get the time to build, and you’re certainly not an Engineer that sits at a computer with high tech post. Are you a MOD? The boss out here with the power to tell people what threads are about and direct them the way YOU see fit? You’ve been trolling me a while now, I have tried to ignor you, your threads about me and lawyers, etc, and anyone else that see things differently are down right rude, and your post continue to be the same. I like Martin and this site, he’s the boss as far as I know. He allows people to think as they wish, if he does not agree with he lets you know, and we can let him know we disagree. Freedom of speech and thought, if that is not the rules let me know I’ll go somewhere else. I’m not sure how you AJ meet the criteria at the top of the Q&A. I have a suggestion for you, STOP reading my post if you are not getting anything out of them and stop telling me what to write. I get nothing out your post other than a complete waste of my time so, I’ll do the same. Add me to your “ignor” list if there is one. Would have been nice had you paid a little respect for the dead and tornados, rather than correct me for it. My point is not “mobile homes”, it’s “light construction” as I stated many times, seems you unfamiliar with the term, which includes modular, mobile, 2x4, 2x6, 2x8, etc studs put together with the same nails that don’t take tension or shear wall loads, and the same layered cladding that is not impact resistant enough to take flying 2x4s at 100 mph +, nor EF 2-EF 5 tornados making this type of construction in tornado alley deadly. You seem to struggle with those basic concepts as you do many, but it is very simple and clear, look at the videos and data online.

  20. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #20

    Terry and AJ,
    A brief warning: Our Q&A pages are here to discuss technical issues and construction details. No one is interested in AJ's opinion of Terry's personality, or Terry's opinion of AJ's personality. Any further discussion of each other's personalities will be deleted by the editor.

    It's fine to talk about construction-related issues, of course. A reminder: the question at hand is a request for advice on building an affordable, energy-efficient house.

  21. RZR | | #21

    K NUSS…. Being on high ground tornados, high wind and hail, can pose a threat and requires some planning. Here, winds mainly come from the north and south…..Unlike low wind areas small holes in the façade, the walls facing this direction can become large in air flow, so keep that in mind.

    Sounds like you have some land. 1300 square foot (ft2) and a $100K budget or $77 sq ft which will be a challenge. I might suggest you layout a budget…..

    1. Envelope(walls and roofs)
    2. Interior finish (walls)
    3. Foundation
    4. Utilities (electrical, plumbing, hvac-ventilation)
    5. Renewable Energy (solar panels, rain catchment, grey water recycling, etc)

    Put some cost to them…walls we get layered or stick built (wood) done with 6 trades for around $10/sq-ft or less. If you do the math that’s around $5000 air sealed, and that’s our cost add profit if you have a general contractor. Roof, $5-7,000, so lets be conservative since things always go wrong and call it $12,000 (envelope) . Walls around 4-6” thick.

    Strawbale walls, if you get bales @ $5/bales +labor; that’s $1.25 sq ft + render (plaster/stucco) hired out $3 ft2…that’s $5 ft2….you saved $5 ft2 and your walls are 20” thick not 6” and safe. The bales are not rocket science to install, you set your string lines, place them on a rock trench or concrete footing, stagger stack, pin them per code with a wood dowels. Your husband and a friend can knock that out in a day, 1300 ft2. Follow code they need to be compressed with straps, a bond beam @ top for roof trusses to sit on. In that book I linked or online there are simple render recipes, you can use the soil from your land to make plasters/stucco, mixed with a straw, lime. I use a strawcrete mix to air seal, it is very low cost and works great! Your kids if old enough will have blast playing in the mud slapping the first coat or two on. Your want a nice finish coat might need a pro but try it frst. If you do the labor, the $5 can drop to $2-3. You spent $1750 on walls. Your walls are around R-30 better than code and debri, sound, fire, insect and rodent prove, no stud or sill sealing however doors and windows need it. You have $98,250 left and your walls are done You used two trades, not six, if you have flaky contractors this can be a head ache (try beating that with light construction) $6-7K to frame the roof to r-49 (I prefer mineral wool insulation like Roxul, or cellulose blown in). You could actually use strawcrete to cut more cost (straw and lime which is also structural reducing racking, but won’t get as high r-value which is not that big a deal in a low utility bill midwest) Use hurricane ties, rafter to bond beam. You don’t need bale internal walls if you don’t have the square footage, stick build them.

    You get the idea, set a detailed budget…Rammed Earth or Cob if there is high clay content soil on site in another low cost solution, there you add ¾ limestone screed, and sand…. a 30% soil, 70% sand/rock mix, and ram it into forms, it’s easy, but read some books. One trade, and the cost can even be lower than bales. 24” beautiful walls that look like granite countertops, sound burn, termite, etc, proof , high tornado resistance. If I were to keep the cost outlay going I would show how people can get into a much safer homes @ mobile home prices. One of our goals is to mobilize to disaster struck areas in the near future, design-gc, we have a 70’ rig for this purpose.

    Yes, the local resources create low “embodied energy”. When you go to home depot, many of those products are shipped in from around the country-world. You’d be surprised at the support you get when you support your local economy, quarries and farmers, and reduce CO2. The lime is CO2 negative, absorbs it from the home indoor air. A lot of manufactured products add toxin, not absorb them.

    If you are going to ship in, here are some companies that offer very safe commercial concrete designs with monolithic walls and roofs. They have their own plans and kits last I checked and are very safe and energy efficient since the mass concrete is exposed to the interior, unlike ICFs. I been a structures engineer for over 30 years now and they look strong to me anyway, there are others
    mass options proven to survive high wind, hail. Brick, concrete block, if insulated right is not monolthic but has proven to stand in EF5 tornado's, so one can assume the monolithic will be stronger.

    SCIP, you’ll need to fist check the availability of a shotcrete or gunnite local contractor, check the pool industry, or these guys have crews in US regions that will come to you.

    These guys structure is literally bullet proof,

    Hope that helps….

  22. Ilovedctalk1 | | #22

    thank you so much for all the information. I will have to do some more research on the straw bale houses. I grew up in a3 brick thick house about a mile away from"the 30 cooridorl which is known for big storms. The security in knowing that we were pretty safe helped a lot but we were stol in the cellar anytime a storm came. I really do appreciate your passion for strong homes. I think if we all had seen gamilies mourning over their 5 yr old we too would think it was needless. So thank you. I do get concerned for that and we are very set on a strong home but fear we are just too uneducated in what that truly is. Strength and integrity are our main requirements. We could live in a one room house and as on later if thats what it took to afford that. Obviously nit ideal but thats also a passion of ours. I loved the cost break down. Those are things you don't find online that come with experience. I am actually inheriting 1.7 acres of a standing corn field. I could actually make own bales...the challenge is 1 getting the hubby on board and 2 waiting another year lol. I erl delicately be looking into those bidders that use straw bales. I know itt would be fun to do ourselves but I'm guessing that would be a hard sell to the man. We could build our shed as practice. Are the windows and doors hard to instal safely.

    And as for more conventional routes I did contact that architect and to my surprise he didn't laugh me out of the rom. He actually replied within minutes and is working up something :). Excited to se what he could offer.thanks again and I honestly so appreciate your time I'm learning so so much. Yore responses are blessing a good family!

  23. wjrobinson | | #23

    Terry this thread is not to do with mobile homes. You are smart but constantly conflate threads.

    Terry, Martin, I edited to sound more in jest and polite once. Terry, I know you are talking great about engineering and enjoy your thoughts rely I do. All I was pointing out was the mobile home aspect is off topic at least for some of us.
    Peace Joy and happiness. I do work and post during meals etc... Don't worry be happy or whatever my man.

  24. user-659915 | | #24

    You would think from Terry Lee's preoccupation with flying 2 x 4s and other tornado-hurled projectiles that deaths from these events were a common if not major cause of accidental fatalities in the US. In fact as the cause of about 80 deaths a year tornadoes rank just ahead of bee stings (54) and way behind bathtub drownings (340). All of these numbers are beggared of course by upwards of 32,000 highway fatalities every year in the US.

    Does this mean we should not take sensible precautions to keep our families safe and secure in our homes? Of course not, but the fact remains that the most important factor in protecting your family in a severe storm is to follow standard advice to retreat to an interior room, a safe room if you have one, an interior bathroom or closet if not, well away from any windows and exterior doors. This advice applies equally to a frame home as one made made of concrete, adobe, brick, cob, straw bale or any other material you care to think of.

  25. RZR | | #25

    James – Nice job finding the lowest statistics available on the subject matter and comparing them to bee stings and bathtub drowning’s. Account for the critically injured, injured, billions in home destruction, and then maybe you’ll start to get a feel for the devastation and why the insurance business is dumping billions into R&D to prevent it, and why it’s nowhere close to a bee sting in magnitude.

    Light construction keeps our business and many, many, more making HUGE profits from high winds and hail damage to siding, windows, gutters, fire and flood restorations, year after year and it’s only getting better. This year was very profitable. We don’t replace the siding and layers on mass homes. As people continue to attach it to 2x2 furring strips upon advice of some for ventilation to protect cladding and cheap OSB that will only help increase our profits, so by all means come here James and build a light constructed home. Me, I don’t like to play with Murphy’s law and for the same price or less my walls and roof will not be part of the billion dollar wind and hail damage statistics you failed to mention.

    Last year KS was the only state that did not require registration to replace roofs from the massive annual losses, so the scammers came in from surrounding states since it was a feeding ground, stole clients’ money. Now to do roofs you have to be registered with the Attorney General’s Office or face a $10,000 fine and/or imprisonment.

    Most homes are built with basements around here that have a concrete wall safe room, the floor in a tornado usually stays in tack. Look out basements have proven to be safe, not view-out or walk out that prevail. As I said way up the thread, most that get injured or die fail to take the sirens seriously and/or don’t get in a safe room fast enough. If you wait too long your running through flying debris, parents rounding up kids, elderly and bed ridden can't mobilize, etc…..Of course, a basement and complete home that can take the debris and winds will lower those statistics. We have window coverings that will take the debris, and hurricane alley industry does too. It’s safe of course to stay away from them, in light construction think of your wall as having the same ability to take flying debris, statistics show the biggest threat is light construction debris. Enough of this debate, we feel our clients will choose a safe home over light construction given the same cost that just makes sense nothing to debate.

    K-Nuss, the reason hay, wheat, rye, rice, straw works so well is the hollow core has an ability to wick and evaporate water. Your corn would work well to aerate a mortar mix as the reinforcing fiber in a lime binder you cast around studs or even free tree limbs on non-load bearing walls, works great as a low cost inner wall sound proofing. You can find lime at home depot or Lowes, it comes in a TYPE “SA” mortar, you can mix it with a little Portland cement TYPE 1A.

    Speaking of attorney’s, some final advice on cost. I’m always supportive of them on sites like this, they do have a different way of thinking but, the smart homeowner and contractor listens very closely to them and their insurance agent. There is a lot to know, if not more than low cost construction, about the legal side of managing subs as a general or homeowner that can end up costing lots of money if done improperly. The prime contractor should have at least $2 million in liability insurance and workers comp you want to verify as a homeowner. Here it’s a requirement. Some GC can save cost and if you hire them you move all liability to them. Just read their contract carefully, and if it moves liability to you in a vague way find another one….much of that never holds up in court but it lets you know the contractor may be hard to deal with. Cost plus contracts allow you the homeowner to see the GC cost they submit. A profit is added you agree to up front, that way you see your budget and nothing is hidden. The Architect should be licensed in your state, although some states do not require it up to single family homes and duplexes, and should carry Errors and Emissions insurance.

    Stay safe and best of luck to you and your family,


  26. user-659915 | | #26

    Dear Terry:
    "Nice job finding the lowest statistics available on the subject"
    If you feel the numbers I refer to are inaccurate or misleading in any way please feel free to post a correction.

  27. RZR | | #27

    Dear James, it really doesn't matter your point is moot. The number we focus on is 1, 1 live is too many to loose from a poorly constructed home that is not built to take EF 5 tornado's, nor sustain the annual damage from wind and does not have to be this way.

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