Panelized homes: yea or nea?

golfergirl29April 21, 2014

One contractor I spoke with suggested including a panelized homes approach. Has anyone done it? Would you do it again? Do you really end up with a better constructed home? Does it save money? What should I be aware of?

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Our friends built with SIPs and they are very happy with the house. This is not the first house they've built and they are pretty savvy. I'd look into it and get info and references for the builder/supplier in your area.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 8:03PM
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We're considering it. The GC has commented that there can be issues with the panels not fitting properly, so the guys on site end up spending almost as much time screwing around as they would just doing traditional framing. One local company that does it would take it to lock up. If the same company is building the panels and installing them, I'm more confident that they'll build them properly. Or know how to put them together.

Another builder we talked to figures that a good framing crew is just as fast. However, "good" crews can be hard to find. Plus, we've encountered over 6 months in delays already due to our architect. So we're hoping that if we can get the panels made while the foundation work is going on, we can make up some time. The time to build the panels takes just as long, but if we can compress the schedule by doing things simultaneously, the overall time would be less.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 9:17PM
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We did a ~1000 sf addition using eSIPs from Davis Frame in New Hampshire and are extremely happy with the outcome. I'd absolutely do it again, the construction quality is excellent and the house is extremely tight. Additionally there was much less waste than traditional framing because of the CAD/CAM optimization of the use of lumber.

Advantages-- your walls are built on a flat, level, dry surface using parts cut by a computer-driven milling machine. If the drawing was right when it went in the product will be right when it comes out. For our project everything fit perfectly and the shell went up in about two days--sheathed, taped, insulated. Walls are not closed on the inside so plumbing and electric is done as usual, making our building inspector happy that he could see what was going on.

Did it cost less-- no, probably about the same, but we got closed cell foam insulation in the panels as a bonus.

Was it faster-- yes, we saved 2-3 months on the construction schedule because our contractor's crew completed the renovation of the rest of the house while the addition was built in the factory. It allowed us to run teams in parallel.

What to beware of-- your foundation needs to be spot on. (ours was) Your contractor needs to be fussy about measurements, there's no adjusting after the panels arrive. On-the-fly modifications are hard (this can be a good thing or a bad thing).

Here is a link that might be useful: some pictures of our addition going up

This post was edited by rwiegand on Tue, Apr 22, 14 at 11:38

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 11:29AM
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Have you looked into ICF?

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 10:25PM
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We looked into ICF for our basement and found them to be expensive in both material and labor cost and no compelling energy advantage vs a regular poured concrete foundation with 2" of closed cell spray foam on the exterior and 2" of rigid foam and a 2x4 wall with fiberglass batts on the inside. Our contractor had used them on several previous jobs and found them to be difficult to keep plumb and square on the tall walls of a basement with 9' ceilings.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 8:09AM
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