We're sort of in a blue-sky brainstorming out-of-the-box thinking mode now. We have nine kids and have decided that traditional houses just aren't cutting it for us. The space is used inefficiently and the layout is totally wrong for our needs.
When I say steel building, I mean a large factory made steel building shell with steel paneling on the outside and inside with 6" of insulation between them. We'll have some windows and doors to start, but will probably add more later.
We decided against the basement (yea!). We'll probably build some sort of concrete tornado room or something instead. Haven't given it much thought yet.
The size is now probably 50x80.
The idea is to get into the house as cheaply as possible up front, then have a lot of flexability and options to partition the space later. By doing it this way, we can pay cash for everything and add rooms or features as we have the money. No mortgage. And we would end up with an industrial loft type house with a lot of space and with our unusual requirements for a house.
So I have a few new questions.
First, instead of the basement I'm thinking we'll opt for an 18-20 foot eve height. The idea is that we'll have really high ceilings now, and add a free-standing second floor later inside the shell. I figure we'll start with some normal 1st floor type rooms, but make the ceilings in these rooms out of appropriate floor joists for a second floor, so like 2x6s or 2x8s, at the normal 8 or 9 feet off the ground. Later, I would just climb up there, put in a staircase, throw down some plywood, flooring, and whatever else to make a second floor. I think I'll have to treat these like load bearing walls. I can't transfer the weight of the second floor to the shell. So they'll have to be free-standing. Would I need a footer under the slab under all these walls? I'd like to have the freedom to rearrange the locations of the new walls after we've moved in. So maybe rebar in the slab instead of wire mesh or a thicker slab would make the footers under the interior walls unnecessary?
What if I made a post and beam type structure, footers under the posts?
I've seen these free-standing steel structures in industrial settings. Maybe that would be better? What about footers under those? Can you point me at someone who sells such things?
The second question is assuming a mostly flat grade to start, how much can I expect the footer and slab to cost?
And lastly, we're thinking of doing this in a rural part of northern illinois or southern wisconsin. What can I expect the well and septic to cost, planning for a dozen people?
are the costs so far:
shell - 35,000 footer/slab - 16,000 building assembly, 4 guys, a crane, and a week - 15,000 (this is a guess) windows and doors - 10,000 well/septic - 10,000 (this is a guess) hvac - 10,000 (this is a guess) plumbing - 5,000 (this is a guess) electrical - 5,000 (this is a guess) general contractor crazy enough to do this - 20,000 (another guess) stuff we didn't think of - 20,000
Does anyone have any interesting ideas?