SIPS, online source of info?

Regarding SIPs, anybody have a favorite online source for detailed info (*.dwg's?), such as connection details, panel sizes and specifics, roof limitations, variations in construction methods and materials, etc.? Frankly, I don't know jack about them, have never even seen one. Everything around these parts is standard stuff, rarely will anyone try anything new. Might have something to do with that 130mph thing......
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In a previous post Don wrote...

Don:
Try this link:
http://www.pbspanels.com/sitemap.cfm
--
Bob Morrison, PE, SE
R L Morrison Engineering Co
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http://www.extremepanel.com /
I bought my panels from these guys.... The details aren't that tricky. Most panel manufacturer's have the same types, but the particulars vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.
P
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In a previous post 3D Peruna wrote...

Nice pictures!
As Paul says, the details aren't that tricky. Premier is here in the Pacific NW and so I use their details, but if an owner wanted to use another manufacturer then most of the details will work from a structural point of view. After, there are only a few practical ways to connect these things together.
some of the connections are the designers preference. For example when using SIPS at two-story construction I prefer to have the second floor joist bear on the first floor panels rather than having a 2-story high panel with the joist hanging off a ledger. Part of this comes form the cyclic character of seismic loading which can cause a weakness in ledger connections. So, I try to avoid using ledgers for supporting main structural elements unless there is no other choice.
--
Bob Morrison, PE, SE
R L Morrison Engineering Co
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In a previous post Don wrote...

Yes.
No. The nails in the joist are too close to the end of the member and will pull out the end of the joist, leaving the joist on the ground and the bucket still attached to the ledger.
This is one reason why masonry and concrete walls are required to be anchored to the framing with something like a Simpson PA18 nailed to the top or side of the joists.
I will use ledgers at exterior decks even though the problem described above can happen in a seismic event. A better detail is to install something like a horizontal LTT20 nailed alongside a deck joist and bolted through the ledger to a horizontal LTT20 inside the house. I would probably only do this if the deck off the 2nd story or is otherwise a long ways above grade as in a sloping lot.
I'm working on a house now in which the first floor will be 15 feet above grade on the downhill side and level with grade on the uphill side. The house will sit on either concrete or wood columns (I'm thinking round poles) with a lattice of beams to support the gravity loads. I haven't yet worked out the system for resisting wind and seismic forces. The exterior deck on the downhill side will definitely be firmly attached to the house framing.
--
Bob Morrison, PE, SE
R L Morrison Engineering Co
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Now, is this sort of product/idea something that a client could take to a designer/architect and say, "I saw this product and it seems interesting, can it be used, and what are the advantages/disadvantagges for this local area?"
Also, pardon my ignorance, but is there a way that a layperson can find, on the net, a general/ballpark comparison of any sort?
I think it'd be really useful if there was someplace that posted, for example, the shell (IOW no carpets or counters or fixtures, since those are totally variable) a regular basic house and maybe a fancier house, and beneath them, post beginning cost per sq ft for regular construction, and then list price changes for useage of various materials.
That way, a person could know right off the bat if their ideas are potentially feasible (given their finances) or unmitigatedly absurd...
I'd post it on my site if I had the info ;)

How did you like working with them? How do you like living with them?
- K.
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In a previous post Kris Krieger wrote...

Kris:
In my experience SIPS have pluses and minuses (just like every other thing).
The pluses include: the house is much quieter compared to a conventionally framed house because all those studs aren't transmitting sound. The same is true for energy efficiency and for the same reason. SIPS house usually go up faster because in theory you are lifting the shell off a truck and setting it in place (in pieces of course).
The minuses include "first cost". SIPS houses are more expensive to construct. Depending on your energy costs this can be made up by the energy savings.
Does that help?
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Bob Morrison, PE, SE
R L Morrison Engineering Co
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The initial cost has come down quite a bit, too. I think I was only about 10% more than conventional framing for materials, and the labor was supposed to be less (it wasn't, but that's not because of the SIPs and is a very long story I'd rather not get into).
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Yes and no - I figured the initial cost would be higher, but we wouldn't build unless we knew we were going to remain in an area for more than 2 years. At which point, energy savings would start to kick in - but comfort and quietude are also concerns. Also safety/protection re: both storms and criminals.
So I'm googling around looking for price ranges per sq ft of various items - and not having much luck.
The end point being, if I have a projected budget of, let's say $350K for land and house; land costs say $50K, add $20K for some landscaping - leaving $280K for house. Now, say I want storm resistance to 300mph (might use integrated storm shutters rather than the special glazing); super insulation (I hate drafts and I hate the idea of heating/cooling the outdoors); a metal roof (also very well insulated); some passive energy capability. Oh, and, if it has to be on a slab, let's add in an elevated slab with reasonable anchoring.
That'd be the shell. I'm trying to roughly estimate the cost, then I'd of course have to allow for the inside stuff, but those costs are fairly easy to get hold of once the dimensions are estimated. I already know, for example, what sort of cabinets I want, and the material (hickory probably), so I can look those proces up at Lowe's and Home Depot - same for flooring (hardwood, tile, etc.), and other such accoutrements. Anyhoo, I'm trying to figure out how many sq ft of house I could get. At this point, as I'm fooling around with designs and plans, I always end up between 2400 sq ft and 2800 sq ft, but I can't estimate whether that size is at all feasible given a high-quality shell.
Now, sure, locally, for $350K - $380K, we could have gotten a 4200 sq ft place on a postage-stamp-sized lot next to a "lake" (more like a pond) in a somewhat-local development, but it was one of those things where the walls are that foamboard crap (sorry but IMO it is crap, you could puncture the house with a golf club and IMO that equals crap), and there is way to much froufrou that has a huge markup (crown molding for example), and so on. Not to mention wasted space.
So the question I'm trying to answer is, if I culd build something and wanted solid construction (I've been thinking poured concrete, as thick as is reasonable, reinforced of course), how many sq ft could I get for the same cost. Thing is, I don't see any sense in even thinking about going to a professional if there is no way I can afford what I want...
- K.
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I'm thinking of ballpark figures, as in, within $10K-$15K. IOW, say I come up with an idea for a place - I have a preliminary floorplan and prelim. outside. Before I go marching into a professional's office, I first want to know whether I'd be able to at all afford the place.
So, let's say that the shell (no carpet or tile or etc. yet) of a single- story frame-built house is $X/ft sq. Since I have an idea of how many sq ft I want, i can multiply the two if I have an idea of the range of X.
I can find the cost for a finished house (locally, about $120 or so per sq ft), but what I don't know how to find is, for example, the added cost of replacing the frame-built foam-sided shell with, for example, a cinderblock shell or a poured concrete shell, or even, replacing the foam with a layered board such as the ISP under discussion (I saw no pricing on the sites).
Now, if a website would say, "Our ISP board costs between $X and $Y more per sq ft than does foam board", that's something I can calculate.
What I'm trying to do is figue out how many sq ft I could afford if I had, say, a budget of $300K, but wanted certain construction options. Again, ballpark figure for the shell. I can find prices for carpet, tile, cabinets, and the other stuff that goes inside to finish it off. What i don't know how to find is figuring out how much the shell costs - for example, whetehr ti csts more to plumb and run electrical wiring through, say, a house using steel studs rather than wood ones, and if it does cost more, a general range for how much more per sq ft.
That sort of thing. Maybe there are "consumer guid"-type charts somewhere, it's just that I doon't know what search terms I can use to find them. I just want to get a ballpark, yet realistic, range of costs for stick versus other options.
As it is, for example, I'm using Google to try to find something resembling a price range for those 300-mph windows. No go yet. Every site has info about their saving or their rebates or so on, but I've yet to come across one that says the price range per ft sq of 300mpg glazing is between X dollars and Y dollars. I'm trying to figure out what is and is not within the range of what we could afford, before I even start thinking about going to a designer/architect...
- K.
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Don wrote:

Don, just curious. Have you ever used the National Cost Estimating manuals (or whatever they are called now)? Years ago I had to do some "estimating", and once you figured how to use the manuals it wasn't too hard, especially since it dealt with systems, labor man hours, and construction cost variables throughout the country. I haven't done this in many years, and I now usually deal with a Cost Estimator (or Quantity Surveyor outside the US). I'm sure some regulars here have used one recently and I was wondering how it's accuracy stands up.
It just seems like someone has already done the work you described above for you, at a cost of course. Maybe you should create your own "manual" for your area. ;-)
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I used your terms with Google, came across this: http://www.bsdsoftlink.com/costlinkae/ae.htm it's software, costs $1195 but at least they have a free demo version to DL and try.
Here is a book - I don't know whether it'd help any pro's tho', my guess it that it might be more of a Basic Info book but I dunno: (Amazon.com product link shortened)
Hopefully of some help...
- K.
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Kris Krieger wrote:

Actually, I was thinking of these series of books. http://tinyurl.com/8sbvj
I'm sure there are many out there, but I think this was the same 'model' I used many years ago. I have my original book from 1994 somewhere and I'll check and see if it was the same brand.
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[ ... ]

The "National Building Cost Manual" is $18+change at Amazon.com ;) so I was thinking of getting that. The other (more expensive) ones are probably more professional/detailed.

There were several on-line 'services' as well, but the books seem to be more economical.
Tho' I still think the idea of a "quick'n'dirty estimator for those conemplating having a custom home built" could be interesting ;)
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(snip)
I'm sure there are some easier ones to use out there, just check around, but I would be leary of ones that are too "easy". The ones I mentioned above weren't as difficult to use as you might think. I actually learned to use it while in Graduate School (gasp! that's almost something you can use in the real world). I was able to bring my 'skills' into play a couple of years out of school when I made the 'mistake' of mentioning my knowledge on doing some rough estimation to my boss at the time. While my knowledge was limited, it was way above anyone else I worked with at the time, including my boss. I wonder if some architects get intimidated by estimating because it's usually handed out by the Contractor, who try and make it sound like rocket science so you can't question their prices. (hidden mark-up anyone?) It's such a hugh portion of what we have to deal with to balance the quality of the building versus that inevitable nasty acronym V.E. (Value Engineering)
My foray into estimating was very brief, (thank God!), but at least I have a remedial knowledge of where estimators get their numbers from. Since I've been doing overseas work for a long time, I have to deal with these Quantity Surveyors all the time, and they are almost always Brits. (know matter which country the project is in). These guys live for the numbers. lol
I just did a concept package for a project in Romania, and had one these guys asking for a detailed Bill of Quantities so he can start estimating the cost of the project. I just looked at him and said, "Are you serious"? Why don't you call me back in about a month or two when we get this frickin building designed with some level of detail and material palette. This was the first preliminary concept presentation with rough 3D and sketches. We were still developing multiple schemes at the time. "jesus dude, why don't ya' tap the brake for a second!" I think he was just excited because he was seeing lots of "beans" floating before his eyes ready to be counted.
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This was the link I would send you too as well. I have used these panels for 6 houses in the last 2 years in central Texas. Many times we use these for roofs only. We have "some" cold weather here, but not much. For us it's the two billion degree attics that cost so much.
Clients like it because they have a "conditioned space in the attic. The attic also has lots more usable storage space if you put down decking. for TONS of storage in the attic that is not subjected to horrific temperatures. AC contractor like it because the duct is in conditioned space, and the units don't have to work so hard.
I have talked to 4 of the 6 clients and they are loving the houses so far. I have not energy stats for you, but when I build my retirement home, I will certainly use SIPS roof.
jojo

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jojo wrote:

ask a roofer if that is a good idea
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??? Share.....
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