New Home Construction, Slow Bids, Confused Builders
I’m at the southern edge of Climate Zone 5A and want to build a better than code house, what some might call a “pretty good” house, one that includes the most cost effective of the concepts described in Martin Holladay’s “Musings of an Energy Nerd” book. One builder I spoke with discouraged having a continuous layer of insulation on the outside of the walls, or on the basement floor stating that such improvements weren’t needed and were too expensive to be worthwhile. He was a fan of energy trusses because having extra room near the edges of the roof mean i could get by with less insulation overall and meet the same effective R value. Another builder who seemed a lot more willing to build what I am looking for is finding that the subcontractors who would be doing portions of the work have been very slow to respond, and that slow response is due to the options that I’m requesting. Both of those builders seemed to be mostly familiar with spray foam and fiberglass batt insulation, whereas rock wool and Spider fiberglass were less familiar to them. Yet another builder strongly discouraged options that they had on display, such as metal roofing and LP Smart Siding and instead encouraged vinyl siding and asphalt roofing. They were a builder that stressed energy efficiency more than the others touting their HERS Index of 49 which they are somehow able to achieve with 2×4 construction, closed cell spray foam and blower door tests and special attention to air sealing on every build. Of course, it’s been at least a month since I talked to them and they have yet to provide a bid on the project. So, is it unusual that builders with an excellent reputation locally seem confused by a customer requesting better than code options? Should it take weeks or a month or more to get bids on homes that, in terms of the framing and floor plan match spec or model homes that they’ve already built? If I want these sorts of things, would I be better off working with an architect to spec out some of the items I’m looking for, despite wanting a fairly conventional house?
GBA Detail Library
A collection of one thousand construction details organized by climate and house part