cost of building a home

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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

As others indicate, cost depends on what you want. It also depends on where in Florida you are...SE or SW are going to be a bunch more than Polk County where I am. What I did a dozen years ago...
1. Buy land 2. Rough out floor plan 3. Refine plans via architect or "home designer". The latter are basically specialized and knowledgable draftsmen and are what I used. They can also tell you what trades you'll need and can probably make recommendations.
4. When I had the needed plans I started talking to the various trade contractors to get bids. I also talked to generals.
5. I can get along OK in wood but had zero experience with concrete which is what most Florida houses are so I hired a general to act as a construction manager through "dry in". He was to come everyday to check work, act as liason between me and subs, pass payments from me to them etc. I used some of his subs - slab/block/framer/plumber - and his trade accounts; i.e., subs told him what they needed, he ordered from supplier; supplier billed him, he gave me bill, I paid him, he paid supplier. It worked out fine, saved me some on the materials and didn't have to set up accounts with the suppliers (or COD). I paid him a flat fee...IIRC, $5000. In hindsight, I think I over paid him (at that time) by $1000-1500.
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Being your own general can save you a bunch. To get to dry in cost me around $25 sq.ft in 1996 (figure about 35% more now). That got me a shell...textured drywall inside and all built in electrical (fans, cans), insert fire place, HW heater, gas, 2 heat pumps, bare concrete block exterior, tar paper on roof. Adding stucco, tile roof, paint inside and out was around another $5.00 sq.ft. Total was at least 40% less than if I had hired a general. Building out the inside also saved a bunch...total overall (inside/outside) would be 1/2 or less than the lowest complete builder bid.
Downside is that you are totally responsible...if something gets screwed up it is your fault and you have to fix/get it fixed.. _________________
SUBS
Finding subs isn't hard...the yellow pages are full of them. Finding good ones is harder. You have to assess them the same way you do anyone else...can you communicate with them?...do they behave and operate in a professional manner?...license and insurance up to date?...stable?...been in business for some years?
Ask around too. No, not your neighbors but at stock houses. Need an electrician? Go to an electrical supply place, skip over the fixture showroom and talk to the order counter guys...they know who is good and who is a flake.
Get several bids from each trade so you get an idea what is a going price. Some - like slab guys - will give you a per square foot price over a phone for labor, you can compute concrete costs by figuring square yards and calling a supplier.
The building inspector will assure that the subs' work meets code. That doesn't mean it is good; however, any sub that has been in business for a few years will probably be doing decent work. Your eyes will tell you too. BTW, never let a sub work on your money...NEVER pay in advance.
Once you have your subs lined up, they will tell you what needs to be done before they can do their thing. For example, the plumber has to do his initial work after footers and foundation/fill but before slab. ________________
SUBS YOU'LL NEED
Concrete - may or may not do site prep and footers. If not, you'll need a tractor man to scrape off the overburden and a layout man to do footers.
Block
Fill
Plumber
Framer
HVAC
Electrician
Roofer
Drywall
Stucco
Painter
Finish carpenter
Others? _______________
RANDOM THOUGHTS
To me, the two most important things in a house are the bottom and the top...the foundation/slab and the roof. Don't skimp on either.
There are two types of slabs generally used in Florida. One incorporates footers - the slab support - in the slab itself by having it thicker around the perimeter. The other involves digging a trench, pouring separate footers then the slab (after adding any needed block and fill as foundation). The slab can be "fiber cement" (has fiberglass) or use steel. I still know very little about concrete but I prefer separate footers and slab. And steel. As many footers as possible, lots of steel. If any fill is needed before pouring the slab accept nothing other than clean fill free of organic material and the fill needs to be VERY well compacted.
Builders here abouts generally use 1/2" (7/16") flakeboard as roof sheathing. I prefer plywood. If you are going to have a tile roof - worthwhile IMO - I'd certainly go to 3/4 ply.
The simplest shape to build is a rectangle. Any inside corners mean a valley on the roof. Valleys are a PITA particularly if there are any trees dropping debris on the roof. Built out wall areas may need a separate little roof- probably cheaper to push the whole wall out.
Florida has hurricanes. Any gable ends provide more wind resistance, IMO, the best Florida roofs are hip roofs. If you are going to have tile, make the pitch 5:12.
Floridians seem to have a love affair with small, two story, roofed entrance porches. With columns yet! Not cheap to build and look preposterous IMO, YMMV.
The roof is about the most expensive thing. Definitely is if you use tile. The cheapest way to frame the roof is with trusses. Trusses means that the attic area in unuseable. The alternative is "stick built". Don't know how much more it would cost but wish I had used it.
Try to plan space sizes to fit material sizes. If you want to save $$, eschew stuff like tray ceilings, crown molding, etc. If you want something other than flat ceilings, consider scissor trusses for the roof. Instead of a horizontal bottom they have a bottom that slopes up (at a lesser pitch than the roof) which can give you a sloping ceiling in parts of the inside.
Windows will cost somewhere between Ouch and MY GAWD! Cheapest are single pane (PGT is a decent brand). If you are located where the climate is pretty mild - neither super hot nor cold - you might consider them. You can mitigate the heat transfer through them with shade outside, drapes inside.
If you get stuck, there are all sorts of people - architects, engineers - that you can pay for hourly info/advice.
--

dadiOH
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(dadiOH) says...

Just off the top of my head, they will also need a well driller cum water system installer, septic system installer, insulation contractor, cabinet maker, counter installer, flooring contractor for each different type of floor, maybe tile setter and/or brick mason, entertainment- telephone-data-alarm system pre-wire, and perhaps a landscape contractor.
If they buy off-the-shelf cabinets, the finish carpenter can set them, but they will still need someone to do the counter tops. The world has moved past self-edge and Formica.
The expense of modern homes is the feature set. The structure is still pretty much the same, but standards of performance have snowballed. Nobody wants to pay a fortune for air conditioning or heat, which means attention to energy efficiency. For that matter, nobody wants to live without central heat or air conditioning. I was a teenager before my parents installed their first furnace, and was almost 40 years old before I owned my first furnace.
The newest thing is the expansion of data lines into a service utility just like power and water. In the near future, you will need to connect your home entertainment system to the internet, and nobody has yet proposed a wireless standard that will transmit a 1080p signal. You need a megabit ethernet cable to a surprising number of locations. I have been pulling cable through my crawl space, but if you have a slab house, that's a problem. I pre-wired HDMI and audio cables during my last remodel, but now I wish I had done more. This may seem minor, but it all adds up.
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On Sat, 5 Jan 2008 14:35:14 -0800, Larry Caldwell

re: I pre-wired HDMI and audio cables during my last remodel, but now I wish I had done more. This may seem minor, but it all adds up.
(Powered by AMIMON's WHDI Technology, the Belkin Solution Will Wirelessly Connect HD Sources and HDTVs Throughout the Home) *
About WHDI
WHDI-based products will enable a new level of entertainment experience; consumers are now free to wirelessly distribute HD video content anywhere around the home:
-- Multimedia PC: From the PC in the office to the wireless HDTV in the living room
-- Gaming: From the gaming console in the kids' room to the projector in the basement
-- Home Theater: From the media server in the closet to every HDTV in the home
-- Lifestyle: From the DVR in the master bedroom to the Wireless HDTV in front of the treadmill in the garage
* http://www.marketwire.com/mw/release.do?id 6865
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(Oren) says...

1. It's not available now.
2. It is a lossy transmission scheme
3. It still doesn't support 1080p resolution.
There are lots of "High Definition" standards. This one might be OK for duplicating a signal to a small TV in the bedroom or garage, but it's not ready for prime time. It also doesn't solve the problem of getting data from the internet to the home theater.
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On Sat, 5 Jan 2008 16:00:27 -0800, Larry Caldwell

Announced on the 3rd

Not yet?
(including uncompressed 1080p) * http://www2.marketwire.com/mw/mmframe?prid44450&attachide7392

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