Basic Guidelines: How To Build Your Home
We can assist you in one of two different capacities in the construction of your project, depending on what best suits your needs, experience, schedule and budget.
However, our experience clearly speaks for itself and we look forward to developing an outcome that you have dreamt about.
We can assist you in one of two different capacities in the construction of your project, depending on what best suits your needs, experience, schedule and budget. We do not act as a General Contractor because of the differences in licensing and insuring in all states, counties and municipalities that we conduct business in.
OPTION 1: YOU MAY DECIDE TO BE THE OWNER-CONTRACTOR OF THE PROJECT...
OPTION 2: YOU MAY DECIDE TO HIRE A LOCAL GENERAL CONTRACTOR...
In either event, our experience and knowledge ensures that we are your best choice for erecting and stuccoing the finished straw bale project!
Tips A – Z
Here are some “A – Z Tips” describing some issues that we feel should be included in every General Contractor Agreement.
HERE ARE SOME IDEAS TO GET YOU STARTED...
- Confirm the legal description of the property and include a sketch showing the approximate dimensions and location of the proposed structure and any setbacks. Examine the plans or drawings for accuracy prior to approval.
- Read and understand the terms and conditions of your contract. It should include a detailed description of the work to be done. You could include the house plans and specifications as an addendum to the contract signed by both parties.
- Required certificates of inspection, testing, or approval shall be secured by the Contractor and delivered to the Owner and kept in a job file.
- All portions of the work that the Contractor’s Organization has not been accustomed to perform shall be performed under subcontractors. A Subcontractor is a person, firm or corporation that provides labor, furnishes materials, and/or equipment, or solely labor for a portion of the work at the site. The work is pursuant to a separate agreement with the Contractor or another Subcontractor of any tier.
- Obtain at least three written estimates by suppliers and subcontractors to be viewed by the Contractor and Owner together.
- Review Construction Schedule which shows when the work is scheduled to start and what the anticipated completion date is.
- Set a formal date to schedule Shop Drawings and samples of materials, colors and finishes from the Contractor and subcontractors for the owner.
- Safety precaution issues and protection of the work, materials, owner’s property and finished work from loss or damage should be addressed. There should be a site conditions clause to handle any possible variations of site conditions during construction. The clause should also spell out who is responsible for each expense.
- Review and agree to the Fee and Payment Schedule showing how much will be paid to the GC (General Contractor) for work performed and what is to be completed before each payment is made. It is not unusual that the final scheduled payment for the GC to be withheld until all work has been completed (sometimes indicated by receipt of a final Certificate of Occupancy).
- Your agreement with a contractor should include a description of who is responsible for obtaining and paying all permits, licenses, applicable fees and any sales or use taxes, etc.
- Procedures for change orders should be specific about completed work, the cost and any anticipated effect on the completion schedule. The responsibility for changes and any associated costs due to an error by the Builder should be addressed.
- The names of any of your agents (for example, your representative) should be included along with the role and liability this person will assume.
- Who is responsible for paying taxes, utilities, etc. during construction?
- Warranty information and walk through procedures should be attached. Manufacturer’s warranties usually cover many of the items in a new home, but a builder will probably give you a one or two year warranty on the completed structure.
- Arbitration or mediation procedures in the event there is a dispute. The contract should outline all complaint notification procedures and time limits.
- Termination conditions: Under what conditions can the contract be terminated and how much this will cost the owner.
- Bankruptcy issues should be addressed.
- Liability and insurance issues should be clearly detailed.
- Certificates of liability insurance and workers compensation (if applicable) should be requested by you or the contractor to verify that all contracted workers are insured.
- Contractors and Owners should have subcontractors sign after payment in full a General Release and Waiver for Mechanics’ and Suppliers Lien Form. This signed form shows that the subcontractor has been paid and waives and releases all actions, debts, claims and demands against the Owner and Contractor in the future.
- I do wish to express that as a builder, it’s imperative for the owners to also get builders risk insurance (which usually comes from the carrier) in order for your building to be covered when the builder is not on the project, in case of fire etc.
- Delivery Date: This is the date that is agreed to for delivery of and that you have agreed to pay up front or C.O.D. and accept delivery. This date is not expected to change. Any change will require the written consent of the seller may result in additional costs to you.
- Delivery Charges: How will arrangement for the delivery of your products from a regional shipping point, you may be responsible for the costs from that point. Discuss details with the supplier.<
- Plans: You may be requesting to make specific, limited changes to a pre-designed plans. If so, you are submitting with a contract a marked set of plans and a corresponding change order request. They should make these changes and notify you of the resulting price change. You may not receive approval plans. They should provide you with two (2) sets of final construction plans. Any other changes will require an upfront, non-refundable design fee, in addition to any additional fees or charges otherwise payable under this contract.
- Engineering: If required by local building codes, subject to certain limitations described in a contract, a local engineer can provide sealed plans for the materials and design.
- Limited warranties: Seller may warrant to Purchaser, for his or her lifetime, all materials manufactured by Seller, used in conjunction with a residential structure, against manufacturing defects. Under a warranty, Seller may repair or replace, at its discretion, the defective item. Find out at whose expense replaces the material and cover the cost of shipping the new and defective item
This BASIC CONTRACTOR INFORMATION is NOT intended to be a substitute for a legally binding contract. Please seek legal assistance for the completion of a contract, if necessary. The property owner will be responsible for obtaining all required building permits and for verifying that the structure intended to be built is legally permissible and that all building and zoning codes will be met.
If you decide to hire a local General Contractor and/or Owner’s Representative to oversee your project, be sure to get the details of your agreement in writing! A written and signed contract between you and the General Contractor is a must. Contracts should clearly state who is responsible for various duties and when they will be done.
What are the advantages of using straw bales?
What about the Big Bad Wolf and the Three Little Pigs?
Are other floor plans available?
What about electrical?
Is plumbing run inside straw bale walls?
What kind of foundation is required?
What is included in the packages?
Additional options are available for an extra cost, such as: higher grade doors, windows, cedar trim around openings, metal roof (as opposed to shingles), reinforced nylon tenting for protection, stairs, dormers, higher ceilings, a second floor, exposed timber / log post and beam, solar power and solar heating system, etc…
Do you sell the framing system separately, so we can get our own straw and do it all ourselves?
Can I buy just the construction blueprints, manuals or plans?
What about local zoning codes for urban areas, or Home Owner? Associations that require certain covenants?
What if we want different sized windows or doors than any of your examples?
How do you keep the straw bales from getting wet?
What does “Stucco Ready” mean?
What is the lead-time?
How are the shell kits shipped? What does shipping cost? What about unloading?
Building codes in certain areas of the country require that the interior walls be sealed with an air/vapor material. If a Gypsum product is used, it should be covered with a primer and then painted. A sealer or wax can be used over a clay earthen and lime plaster material to seal the walls.
Will this house be too air tight?
Feel free to CONTACT US with any additional questions you may have and we would be glad to get in touch with you as soon as possible.
Do Your Homework
If you own or want to buy a piece of property, talk with your local building or zoning officials to see whether you will be permitted to build on the site you have chosen. For example, there may be issues regarding wetlands, floodplains, an airport overlay, wildlife interface, septic systems, wells, an Architectural Review Committee, etc that you should be aware of.
How can we accommodate zoning regulations or Home Owner Associations that require specific architectural styles, materials, textures or colors on a building? There are certainly many ways to work around requirements such as these. For example, we can add a sub-trim so that wood siding can be easily installed, while rock or stone can be added to provide different textures. Stucco comes in many different colors and textures. Talk to us about your specific needs and we can help provide you with some ideas.
Financing Your Project
If you are looking to finance your project, you should talk to a lender about a construction loan (and land financing as well, if needed). Lenders can determine how much money you qualify for. Once you figure out your budget, you can better determine the size, features and options in a home kit that you can afford.
Suggestion When Talking To Your Lender
Be sure to tell your lender and insurance agent that you are building a Post & Beam Structure on a concrete foundation with superior cellulose insulation, exterior stucco and a high end interior plaster. You might make a poor impression if you told a lender that you want to build “one ‘a them” straw bale houses. The lender may have an odd image of a 3 Little Pigs style house with a thatch roof and a dirt floor. You may have to educate your lender or agent some point during the process. Feel free to send them to our website for any questions they may have.
Cash Is King
Some property owners prefer to pay cash if possible since the costs of our shell kits are so affordable. Some owners may finance the property after the building is up to help offset any credit card bills they built up as they were building. You can Pay with a credit card on our secure server. We will send out a Sales Contract for Materials & Blueprints via internet or fax. We also accept checks.
We highly recommended that the owner/ builder purchase the full exterior shell package that come with blueprints in order to install a water tight shell up quickly for protection. The owner/ builder may then work at their own leisure while resting assured that their investment is protected from the elements.