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tomtoolbag
Veteran Advisor

Re: I'm curious Tom

  Yup, the phrase that we use is: they're selling faster than condoms on prom night.

 

 That's why business for me has increased so much. The older and smaller properties that are roughly 50-60 years old are in high demand for investment properties. Throw in the technological improvements and upgrades, and they are super efficient too.

  I've got one new house going now, and one where the foundation will soon be done. The owners of both of those houses have deep pockets and are indirectly current clients. Both of those houses are no bigger than 2600 sq/ft, and one is bigger because of the "hybrid design", The bank isn't a player much in either houses in the overall picture, as most of the money is cash, and for both the land is paid for. I'm having a problem with the one because it is under budget overall, and the mrs. keeps wanting to upgrade a bunch of stuff, and the husband and myself are constantly reigning her in because of the under amount, and how far along it is. 

dagwud
Senior Contributor

Re: I'm curious Tom

Do you use the Styrofoam foundations forms.  The small construction crew my son works for has built one new house each of the last three years he has worked for them and all three house were built using the Styrofoam system.  I worry a little about the faom system  as I do with wood foundations that many years down the road a person might have more trouble compared to a standard poured wall or block wall. 

 

This year my son's crew doesn't have have any new houses going up but they are keeping busy with other jobs.  Oddly the house they built last year was by far the largest of the three and even bigger then the house they built for a banker the year before.  Last years house for was my son's boss, the main owner of the construction business and had an irregular shaped basement but was 40' X 80' at its widest and longest portions.  Their last two houses have been GEO thermal as they are qualified installers.  I'm told the boss's new home is a "show case" home and that he got a very good deal on some high end cabinets for the kitchen.  It's just the boss and his wife at home as their two kids are adults out on their own.  They do not live extravagant and do not have large social gathers so I'm guessing he will try and sell this house after the market picks up.  I have a hard time envisioning them retiring is such a big house. 

tomtoolbag
Veteran Advisor

Re: I'm curious Tom

  I've used it in the past, but the costs are just too high. If you factor in the cost of concrete, a pumper truck(which you used to pay one-way road time plus $200+ p/h, now you pay both ways), ICF(insulated concrete form)material cost, AND labor, plus the added loading requirements, it's just way too high and under-performing. I super-insulate the foundation AND footing to alleviate thermal bridging too. So, the form doesn't save much, and my labor is on the high end. I can have footings and before lunch they have it formed and poured, with the required drainage done installed too.

  I will do it if a client wants it, but it's on the low end of efficiency for me. I do R40 walls, and R60 ceilings minimum, and when you factor in the previously mentioned costs, it's too expensive to get there and where I need to be. At one time, ICFs were good, state-of-the-art technology, and they have a legitimate use and purpose for tornado and hurricane prone areas, but not in the upper Midwest. It was originally designed to be used to factor in the lower skills of the installer, but concrete prices ran over that pretty quick. I really like the air-tight walls though, as it's pretty hard and too meticulous to beat that.

  It's the same for geothermal. The cost, $20,000-$40,000 of an installed system doesn't do me much good. I put it into other areas that get me the same efficiency cheaper. It's an efficient system, and very few regions can make proper use of it, but it compensates for other inefficiencies.

  The house that's under way now can be basically heated with the heat recovery ventilator. The BTU demands are so low that although I HAVE to install a dedicated system, it will be used 1-5 days p/y at most, and only during extreme temps. The owners entertain a lot, so an air conditioning system will also be installed because of the added vapor and cooling needs while entertaining. But, the rest of the time the normal conditions won't require it.

  It's always best to super-insulate and choose the proper design. You get 100% of the benefits and performance from day one, and insulation doesn't require ongoing energy or service calls. How a builder gets there effectively performance and cost wise is where the hard thinking and forethought comes in.