Eaves and a Comfortable Life

When designing a new home, you want to take advantage of the chance to make it as energy efficient as possible, thereby saving money as well as creating a healthier and and more comfortable living space. For new home builders it's an important factor to think about environmentally sustainable homes. All homes need to be…

When designing a new home, you want to take advantage of the chance to make it as energy efficient as possible, thereby saving money as well as creating a healthier and and more comfortable living space. For new home builders it's an important factor to think about environmentally sustainable homes. All homes need to be correctly shaded so as to take advantage of the winter sun, and block it out in the summer, and this also includes the shading of glass.

Unprotected glass is the major reason for unwanted heat in a home in the summer months, where radiant heat becomes trapped within the confines of your living space. One of the most effective ways to provide shading is through the use of eaves which are designed to protect your home, including the windows, from the rays of the sun in the hot months, and to let in helpful sun during the cool months.

This can be achieved in many climates by angling the eaves to allow some low angle winter sun to reach walls, floors and particularly house windows. The way that you correctly align your eaves would depend mostly on the weather – in colder altitudes the width of the eaves must be reduced to 42 or 43 per cent and also increasing the distance between the window head and the eave. It may not be beneficial to alter the width of the eaves in the lower latitudes, as hot summers and long days would make the lack of eaves unbearable.

There are very specific formulas that should be used based on latitude and climate to determine an optimum eaves width for energy efficiency. One way of calculating the needed width of the eaves on a ground level home is to multiply the distance from the eaves-line down to the bottom of the window by 0.7; this will give you an eave width that will protect the window during summer. Doing so should keep the glass exceptionally shaded in the hotter latitudes during the summer months.

Considering all the potential for shading is an important consideration for new home builders. Not all home builders use external sources and plants, blinds or even louvers, operable clerestory windows, glaze and tinted glass so as to adjust the way sun enters the home. You want your home to work for you, instead of against the climate. If it runs too cold or too hot, it could become expensive to keep your home tolerable.

If your home is well designed and sustainable, it would both run better as well as save you money. Fixed shading devices such as eaves, if properly installed, not only save money, but save lots of time, energy, care and hassle, making your home a more comfortable, healthy and homely place to live.

Customized Home Building Advantages

The foremost benefit in building a customized home is that you get a house that meets your preferences perfectly, both in terms of purpose and value. Nowadays, most spec homes are built with “builder's grade” materials to reduce the cost of the structure. However, these kinds of products have short life spans and the selections…

The foremost benefit in building a customized home is that you get a house that meets your preferences perfectly, both in terms of purpose and value.

Nowadays, most spec homes are built with “builder's grade” materials to reduce the cost of the structure. However, these kinds of products have short life spans and the selections of house layouts and features are often restricted. Customized home building on the other hand gives you vast alternatives and lets you choose what to place and where. You would be able to decide the layout of your house, the floor size, colors of the walls, cabinet and flooring designs as well as artificial lighting and landscaping. Practically, the possibilities are endless as long as you have the right custom builders to consult and to help you construct a house that will match your preferences and necessities.

Immediately, building a fully customized home is costly. Exceptional features and products are not sold “builder grade” price box in home improvement shops. This way you can assum to expend 2-3 times more per square foot structure costs of assembling a fully customized house.

Building a semi customized home generally proposes several house layouts and floor plans to choose from. Also, you may choose from cabinets, flooring, appliances, lighting and spot lighting. Often, the flexibility depends on the budget allocation. For instance, a developer may offer a stipend of $ 2,000 budget for kitchen appliances and you will choose what will be installed in your kitchen. If you decide to buy devices that exceed the allowance, of course you have to pay the extra costs of it.

Even if you've hired a great designer and builder, you have to work and decide on many things. Prepare to spend time in home improvement centers, bathroom and kitchen flooring stores, lighting stores, etc. You will have to make decisions on various features of your house and you would not be able to do this if you would buy a spec house.

Nowadays, most spec homes are built with “builder's grade” materials to reduce the cost of the structure. However, these kinds of products have short life spans and the selections of house layouts and features are often restricted. Customized home building on the other hand gives you vast alternatives and lets you choose what to place and where. You would be able to decide the layout of your house, the floor size, colors of the walls, cabinet and flooring designs as well as artificial lighting and landscaping. Practically, the possibilities are endless as long as you have the right custom builders to consult and to help you construct a house that will match your preferences and necessities.

Prefab Homes

Prefabricated homes are a great option for anyone building a home and looking for an affordable option. Prefab homes often have a certain connotation associated with them. However, they are built just like any other home with quality materials. They are manufactured off site and shipped either in pieces or as a whole piece. In…

Prefabricated homes are a great option for anyone building a home and looking for an affordable option. Prefab homes often have a certain connotation associated with them. However, they are built just like any other home with quality materials. They are manufactured off site and shipped either in pieces or as a whole piece. In addition to quality, prefab homes are fully customizable and can accomodate almost any size family. Due to advances in modern technology, it is also quicker to set up a prefab home, because all you need is a piece of property to put it on and it is quickly assembled. In fact many of these homes construction can be completed in 2-3 months time. These homes may also be your best bet for value in a time when property values ​​are decreasing due to a slow economy.

With prefabricated homes you have many options in styles, details and square footage. Your needs can easily be met with fully customizable homes for every size budget or family. Whether you want a traditional or modern floor plan, one or two stories, there are endless choices for prefab models. Some of the customizable options include custom cabinetry and kitchens, hardwood or ceramic floors, quality granite counter tops, and many more beautiful choices. You can also pick the amount of square footage you need for your home and style you want. Some popular home styles for prefab homes include ranch, cape and two-story traditional. The square footage of these may range from 1000 to 3500+ so it's easy to find a model for any family size and budget.

If you are looking for an affordable, customizable beautiful option for your home it may be time to consider a prefabricated home. Not only can you have any home you want, it is also built faster than ground up options. Your family could be living in your dream home in 2-3 months time. With the economy and property values ​​in the shape they are your best option for the most value at this time may be a prefab home. There are several companies which offer beautiful, affordable prefabricated homes. They even have show rooms where you can see just what your home will look like and you can hand pick from a list of fully customizable options. Finding your dream home is simple, look no further than a fully customizable prefabricated home today.

5 Reasons To Build Your Own Home

Today there are plenty of pre-fabricated houses to choose from. We've got a plethora of pre-planned communities with cracker box homes that will do in a pinch. However, does this really satisfy your needs and wants? You can pay a decent amount of money and buy something that somehow fulfills your needs, or you can…

Today there are plenty of pre-fabricated houses to choose from. We've got a plethora of pre-planned communities with cracker box homes that will do in a pinch. However, does this really satisfy your needs and wants? You can pay a decent amount of money and buy something that somehow fulfills your needs, or you can build something that was specifically meant to fulfill your needs. There's no point in arguing the fact. If you have the means (and the means are easy to come by), building your own custom home is preferred by nearly everyone. Aside from this logic, here are a few more reasons why building a custom home is probably a better option for you.

Wise Investing

That's right … owning a house is just plain, good business sense. Land is becoming a dwindling resource, and many are forced to rent. If you have the means to purchase a home, you should do it. It is a solid investment in that, even with the real estate bubble collapsing, when you analyze the real estate trends over the past 10 years, you'll find that home values ​​have steadily been increasing.

Lower Your Interest

No, we do not mean that in the way you think. What we mean is that interest rates have been steadily dropping. Now is a prime time to take advantage. Sooner than you think, interest rates will begin to climb again, and you may have missed a spectacular financial endeavor.

Newer Homes Tend To Be Better

For a number of reasons, newer homes tend to have much better features. These homes tend to have more living space, are constructed with less toxic materials, are more energy-efficient, and much more. If you have the choice, you'll see that there are many benefits to reap when you buy “new”.

Low Material Costs

Currently, lumber costs have declined, which means lower construction costs to you. This literally means that you can get more house for your buck. There's also a strong indication that the lower costs apply to many other construction materials as well.

Control

Being in control of your house's construction from start to finish allows you the luxuries that you would not normally have. For example, you will have the capability of negotiating prices on construction materials and updating plans. Let's say you are able to negotiate the price of your granite countertop down. Now you get the option of either saving that money or investing it into another part of your home that you'd like to add.

Home Design Plans – Unique Style Options and Considerations

Choosing the best home design plans is a difficult task. Because there are so many different options out there, it can be confusing to keep track of everything that you have to choose from. Figuring out the best design involves looking at the options, so here are some great ideas to help you start your…

Choosing the best home design plans is a difficult task. Because there are so many different options out there, it can be confusing to keep track of everything that you have to choose from. Figuring out the best design involves looking at the options, so here are some great ideas to help you start your search for the perfect home design plans:

Architectural: These plans are all about architectural style, providing larger floor space and more unique details that will surely catch the eye of anyone looking at your house. Lofty ceilings and open floor plans are a must-have, along with unique architectural elements that add a touch of beauty and elegance to every residence.

Classic: Classic home design plans feature an upper-market version of traditional weatherboard homes, and are available in single and two storey designs.

Modern: Freestyle homes have a monoplane roof style, perfect for the city or the beach. Having the single plane roof design is more modern and upscale, and there are many different styles and sizes of homes to choose from. Those who enjoy modern function and design will appreciate this style of house.

These are just a few different styles of home design plans that you can choose from.

More important elements of designing a new house are the interior and exterior features. Cladding, brick color and style, roof style and material, color steel fascia and guttering to compliment your choice of roof and cladding, garage door and aluminum joinery are just some of the exterior features that you will need to decide upon when customizing your home design plans.

In terms of interior features you also have many considerations including: color of the walls, doors, lever handles and door stops, blinds for the bathrooms, living areas and bedrooms. In the kitchen you need to select bench tops and cabinetry, in the bathroom – taps and shower mixers, and then flooring for the house. There is a wide range of pure wool carpets to choose from, or you may be more interested in wooden or concrete flooring.

Many construction companies offer house and land packages within stunning subdivisions. This offers you the chance to view other houses made by the company, which can offer valuable inspiration when it comes to designing your own house plans. Showhomes are another valuable resource. There is nothing quite like walking through a replica of what could be your future home. It is the best way to get a feel for the space you need and the aesthetics you appreciate.

By taking the time to explore your options, it will be easier for you to find the design that suits your tastes.

Total Concrete Housing Technology Analysis

Design, material and component selection. The Design. The best design for the structure, (to ensure compatibility for design, market acceptance as well as accurate test results), is to be a small home complete with basement, targeting the low to mid income bracket. Materials. Advanced Materials to be used in the structure include existing products such…

Design, material and component selection.

The Design.

The best design for the structure, (to ensure compatibility for design, market acceptance as well as accurate test results), is to be a small home complete with basement, targeting the low to mid income bracket.

Materials.

Advanced Materials to be used in the structure include existing products such as ICF wall system, basement insulated slab on grade system, composite concrete intermediate floor system, High performance, dual glazed, low-E and argon filled windows, with exterior stucco and cultured stone systems.

New technologies developed include; A hybrid ICF composite concrete cast in place roof forming system utilizing both Formtech and Speedfloor components. A simplified radiant in floor heating system. Earth coupled geothermal water to water hydronic heating / cooling system, utilizing passive soils heat transfer methods to reduce loop lengths, and engineered soils to increase performance. An advanced air separator cleaning unit and fresh air energy recovery ventilation system complete with an integral mid volume air conditioning system.

New methods of installation including external vibration methods utilizing new technology. More efficient design and detailing methods. Introduction of new installation methods, which simplify and demystify the processes involved in the construction. Multi function or combined construction tasking, which combine two or more tasks into one. Lower experience and knowledge requirements through efficient material selection, management practices, design, detailing, and scheduling.

Criteria included in design and developed products and / or techniques

Over the last years we have accumulated information and research into the needs of the building market place, and determined that the following base criteria for all products would have to be addressed within the design and / or construction of the building.

1. Cost. Overall, the cost of materials and / or labor would have to ensure that the current construction methods associated with ICF construction would have to decrease the total cost of the building by the offset cost of utilizing these types of products installed to current standards.

2. Efficiency. The material and labor components must comply with efficiency in design to reduce construction time, and reduce material requirements by a undetermined acceptable level. Material components should perform two or more construction or building functions per item, or combine several aspects required into the design, such as stay in place formwork.

3. Methods of construction. The methods of construction must simplify the construction process, allowing low skill labor to be utilized effectively.

4. Quality of construction. The Quality of the building must be increased to meet the new challenges of a modern world including Longevity, durability, strength, esthetics, operation, form and function.

5. Compatibility. The building must be constructed in such a matter as to be identified in form and function with current residential structures.

6. Versatility. Any normal residential structure must be able to be designed and built with the systems and methods, to ensure compliance with current designs in the construction industry.

7. Needs and shortfalls. The building has to address most, if not all, of the current needs and existing shortfalls in residential dwellings.

8. energy-efficient. Energy requirements should meet or exceed, even the highest standards of current construction materials and methods.

9. Environmental Friendly. The materials and methods should address as many environmental considerations as possible, including waste, energy required for production of materials, and energy required for construction. Low environmental impact products and methods of construction would be a must.

10. Manufacturing capacity. All products and existing labor markets must be able to be easily adapted to meet the needs for construction of buildings of this type.

All materials and components as well as the manufacturers have been selected based on the product's ability in speed, durability, workability, quality, strength, warranties and market acceptance from existing raw materials and / or processes.

Heat loss.

Component factors

Roof effectiveness.

Existing energy efficiencies for ICF wall systems rate about 30% more effective in overall heating and cooling when combined with current standards of wood truss roof installation and slab on grade basement installations. Knowing that the current energy loss of a heating climate for walls in residential structures is about 23% of the overall loss of a home, and the roof representing about 42% of the overall heat loss, I am assuming the following: 42% (total roof loss on a normal home) / 23% (total wall loss on normal home) X 30% (the known effectiveness of ICF walls only on a home) should in theory increase the effectiveness of the above slab thermal envelope by about 54.78%.

This assuming comparative R-value increases, combined with reduced air infiltration and thermal conductance characteristic differences associated with ICF construction.

Below grade and under Slab effectiveness.

Although smaller, below grade and under slab loss's do count in the overall building heat loss, and typically represent about 7% of the total heat loss on the building. This can be reduced substantively through the use of effective drainage of ground water, the inclusion of foil covered Expanded Polystyrene insulation to isolate the slab from the ground as well as ICF construction for the basement walls. By including 4 “of EPS foam, a reflective layer of foil, and effective subsurface drainage, we can increase the efficiency of slab on grades and below grade areas by about 67% over the current accepted standard of 6 mil polyethylene sheets only. numbers to be accurate, we can include the following, 7% (total heat loss through the sub structure area) X 67% (effective increase in thermal performance of the slab) = 4.69% (total added savings overall to the heat loss characteristics) Adding this to the above slab thermal envelope effectiveness, we now have a building which is 59.47% more effective than standard construction methods.

Window / Door factors.

Outside issues, such as windows and doors have an overall heat loss characteristic of about 17% on the total home, through infiltration, loss / gain and conductance. Primarily by incorporating a higher quality window, built with lower air infiltration rates. Less thermal conductance and the inclusion of affordable low E glass with Argon gas between two thermal panels. Existing studies and tests prove that these types of windows and doors increase the thermal performance of such units by about 30%. On a home, this a relatively high factor outside of standard construction, due to the intensive use of window area in design. We will be assuming normal use of about 15% of wall area. Assuming these numbers to be correct, we can, in theory say that 17% (heat loss through windows and doors in standard construction) X 30% (increase in performance of higher quality windows) = 5.10% (savings in heat loss for new structure) ). Adding this to total thermal envelope effectiveness, we now have a building which is 64.57% more effective than standard construction methods.

Overall factors.

Standard Ventilation factors

Ventilation factors of.3 air changes per hour are a standard code requirement. Current standards of construction achieve this through the use of exhaust fans or air variables. The proposed standard will include a high-efficiency, dual core system from NuTech, which operates to effectively supply.3 air changes per hour with 87% effective heat recovery from the exhaust air. Knowing that the mechanical ventilation accounts for about 8.5% of the total loss to the building, we can effectively ensume the following. 8.5% (mechanical ventilation loss to building) X 87% (effectiveness of Heat Recovery Ventilation unit used) = 7.39% (increase of performance for air exchange. than standard construction methods.

Radiant heating.

Further energy savings, in the heating climate which would have a significant impact on the study, include Radiant Heating and high-efficiency boilers, through a hydronic installation, which is supported by existing studies to increase energy efficiencies about 20% overall. The base theory to support this effectiveness of radiant heat over convected or conducted heat transfer to occupants of buildings. Taking this factor into account in a ratio for normal construction and the proposed ICF shell, 20% (representing standard construction methods effective reduction in heat requirements) X (100% – 71.96%) = 28.04% (representing remaining energy required by incorporating ICF envelope ) = a further 5.61% in total energy savings through the use of radiant technology. This equates to 77.57% total energy savings included in the calculations.

Thermal Mass and Heat Storage

By utilizing a compromise, the home is designed to take advantage of off-peak heating through the use of concrete in the structure. Effectively, the building would be utilizing the off-peak hours to store heat energy in the thermal mass of the concrete floors, for daytime use. This to be achieved simply through the use of programmable thermostats, which would store heat in the concrete slabs during the early morning hours. The overall effectiveness is currently undetermined.

Geothermal Applications.

Through the use of passive solar collectors, installed below the roof shingles, and integral with the ICF roof assembly, on warmer winter days, solar water water would be used in a closed parallel loop to increase the geothermal bed temperatures, thenby effectively storing heat for later use in the ground. During summer months, the same parallel loop, will utilize rain water and cooler nighttime temperatures, in an effort to reduce ground temperatures. Over the loops, a new product, “InsulTarp” will be installed to prevent excess loss of the earth surface. This being studied in an effort to reduce trench depths, and loop lengths from the current standard, as well as increase efficiency of the geothermal heat pump system. Overall effectiveness is currently undetermined.

Geothermal units operate much more efficiently as the load decreases on the unit. When any fluid material, (including air which acts in the same way as a fluid) requires a large delta T temperature increase, (the difference between the return fluid temperature and the supplied fluid temperature) a geothermal heat pump has to work very hard to pump enough heat to supply the demand, so the efficiency of the unit drops. This called the COP or “coefficient of performance”. Most geothermal units operate with a heating COP of about 3. What the COP represents is the comparison of the overall energy output from the unit, over the energy input to the unit. A COP rating of 3, means that for every 1 unit of energy or “watt” we put into the geothermal heat pump, we get 3 watts of heat out of it.

Now here is where it changes when we combine it with ultra efficient structures, hydronic in floor heating and thermal mass.

The much lower heat loss of the building, means a lower Btu output per square foot of floor area, In the case of some of our research structures, this equates to about 10-13 BTU per square foot in areas such as Michigan USA and Ontario Canada. Now, water entering the radiant system of a concrete floor, needs only be 76 degrees F to maintain a 71 degree F temperature for the occupants. This means that the radiant system only needs to supply a 6 degree temperature rise. This means that the coupled geothermal system now only needs to combat a heat pressure difference (for lack of a better word) of only 5 degrees F instead of a normal 50 degree rise for non concrete, radiant systems. Less temperature difference means more efficiency as the geothermal system works less, to produce more. An easier way to look at is to think of water, in which much higher volumes can be moved a small vertical distance with the same amount of energy, as compared to a large vertical distance. More water per energy unit can be moved, ergo a geothermal system can move more heat per energy unit. COP ratings up to 10 can be achieved.

This means that by building with concrete, and incorporating good design and material selections, we can extend the efficiency of geothermal heat pump systems to gain efficiencies 2 to 3 times that of existing geothermal pump capacities.

Strength and durability.

Strength.

As the entire shell, including all interior structural components consist of steel reinforced concrete, known to be much stronger and more resistant to active loading conditions. Typically, the components used have proven, through existing engineering, testing and analysis to far outperform standard construction methods when subjected to dynamic loads suffered from earthquakes, tornadoes, projectiles etc. Due to the reduced risk of material failure, the occupants can enjoy a safe environment, and the structure will undoubtedly suffer damage in the event of such natural or mechanical damages, which other structures are likely to fail at.

Used independently, each system sufferers from weak connections, such as the ICF wall with a truss roof, in which the roof becomes separated from the structure due to uplift, exposing the interior. Although this test model does not incorporate a product line of windows and doors, designed to withstand these types of occurrences, they are currently being manufactured. The hope is that one day we may be able to see the results from this type of construction, including including windows and doors with comparatively high strength ratios. This decision was made upon evaluation of the location in which this home was to be built, in which it would be impractical to include. Future studies of this technology should be incorporated in a coastal structure in the state of Florida, for a more accurate investigation into these types of components.

It is recommended that the ICF walls, in existence today are about 10 times stronger than standard wood frame construction methods, it may be safe to accumulate, that the roof system may now have that same capability.

Durability.

All of the buildings structural components are of concrete and steel. It is known that reinforced concrete is truly capable of spanning several centuries. Although it is not known as to the overall life expectancy of concrete, many researchers have suggested periods in excess of 5,000 years. The secondary insulating component, Expanded Polystyrene, in a non-degradable plastic component, in which it is expected to last several hundred if not thousands of years, if suitably protected from Ultra Violet breakdown. As all of the EPS foam which is in the building is covered and protected from both this and mechanical damage, we can safely assume that the life of the structure would have been in excess of 100 years. Potentially it could be equivalent to that of the concrete, which is expected to be several thousand.

The exterior stucco and stone coverings are highly durable. Utilizing Acrylic stucco compounds, these face covers are almost imperfect to degradation and breakdown, although they may be subject to mechanical damage, as they are exposed. However, these types of finish materials are easily repaired or replaced, and can be maintained with much lower cost / year ratios than wood, vinyl or aluminum. By replacing the shingles with long-lasting acrylic stuccos, which are also highly resistant to the effects of acid rain or frost action, we can extend the life of the roof finishes well beyond those of standard asphalt shingle. The stuccos longevity is further enhanced as the ICF base construction on which it is applied is not only an ideal substrate, however it is dimensionally stable during temperature and humidity shifts.

Mechanical Considerations.

Although the strengths of the mechanical components are reliably unimportant, durability issues such as usable life span are reflective primarily of the wear and tear of the components. These units are expected to last a reliably short duration, as compared to the building itself, and actually should be replaced periodically as newer and more efficient units or means become available. However, current technology has expanded to include such items as Heat Recover Ventilators, Air Cleaners, high-efficiency boiler systems, and radiant heating systems which are both energy-efficient as well as cost-effective to install and operate. Most importantly, they systems need to be de-mystified and standardized enough to not only operate properly, however allow for less complicated installation methods and materials, and make the technologies easier for the public to access.

Future Development.

This initial structure will utilize components which are readily available in the marketplace to achieve the basic structure and mechanical considerations, through modification of such products or methods. It is projected that this structure will cost 14.6% more than an equivalent structure built to code standards for wood frame construction. Due to the costs associated with prototype manufacturing for single project purposes of some components, this forecasted shortfall should easily be reduced. The projected forecast, once all manufacturing and standardization is in place for the products and methods of installation, is projected to be at or below the cost of wood frame code construction.

The benefits associated with this type of building should not be compromised as a result. We are expecting that as products and people become more readily available, that cost competitiveness will reduce the prototype buildings construction costs adequately. Market acceptance should be reliably good, as there are no detracting features or concerns associated with efficient buildings such as dome structures or plastic buildings. The final product will present itself esthetically and functionally, identical to current residential structures.

Several Guidelines to Design Your Own Home

When you are going to build a house, the first thing that you should prepare is definitely the design. It shows what your house is going to look like and it will determine whether your future house is going to be the house that you have always dreamed of. So, you should take this matter…

When you are going to build a house, the first thing that you should prepare is definitely the design. It shows what your house is going to look like and it will determine whether your future house is going to be the house that you have always dreamed of. So, you should take this matter very seriously or else your house will not turn out the way you wanted it to. You can make the design with the help of an architect if you are not sure how to do it yourself. Yet, if you are creative enough and you have quite a unique taste, you should be able to design your own home. It can be a lot more challenging, but you will get exactly what you want.

The first thing that you have to remember when you want to design your own home is that you are going to need some inspiration. You can find ideas and inspiration from home design catalogs or magazines. They also contain some design aesthetic rules that you must know. Hopefully, after reading the catalogs or magazines you will have a clear picture of what you want your house to look like. Maybe you want a house with a minimalist style, or one that has an oriental touch to it. The design theme for should be thought through because it will determine what kinds of furniture you should purchase for your house.

The second thing that you should consider is the colors. You should make sure that the colors you choose for the walls, windows, doors and even the roof will suit each other well. You can also ask other people's opinions for this matter. If you are married, you can ask for your spouse's suggestion and you can even discuss the whole designing process with him / her. If you are single, you can ask for your family's or friends' advice. Their opinions can be really helpful, but absolutely, you still have to stick to your own taste.

The third and last thing that you should do when designing your own home is picking the proper furniture. As mentioned before, your house should have a design theme and all the furniture that you are going to purchase should be able suit the theme. You should also consider what furniture material you are interested in, because most of the time, some materials cost more than others.

Useful Features of Home Design Software

Before building a new house, you certainly need to create the design first. Designing your dream house can be confusing and complicated. Before hiring an architect, you should consider using a home design software to help you with the task. Home design software is a popular tool for creating design plans. By using this software,…

Before building a new house, you certainly need to create the design first. Designing your dream house can be confusing and complicated. Before hiring an architect, you should consider using a home design software to help you with the task. Home design software is a popular tool for creating design plans.

By using this software, you can totally express your creativity. It gives you the opportunity to design a home based on your personal tastes. You can also modify the design as many times as you like to get the perfect look.

This software is a great choice for both professionals and amateurs alike. It has many useful features to offer. Here is a list of features that you may find helpful:

1. Automatic Floor Plan Dimensioning Tool: This is a feature that you can use to determine the size of your home. Use this to increase or decrease the size of a room.

2. Interior Furniture Objects: This feature allows you to put and position furniture objects such as tables and chairs, so you will know how they would look inside a room.

3. Stair Generator Tool: Designing staircases will be easier with this tool. There are many staircase styles to choose from.

4. Cabinet Designer: If you want to make your kitchen look as good as any other rooms in your house, this tool is what you need. You can use this feature to place cabinets or other appliances on the kitchen area. Certain software even allows you to customize the cabinet design.

5. Roof Truss, Window and Door Schedule: This is a feature that you will find on any home design software. This tool enables you to design the door or window with the style and size of your choice.

6. Custom Roof and Pitch: This simple tool helps you customize roof pitch, which is the steepness of the roof.

7. Exterior Furniture Object: You will be happy to know that the software can also help you design the yard of your house. This tool will help you arrange patio furniture or even plan a playground for your children.

Designing your dream house using home design software is fun and easy. You only need to sit in front of your computer screen and a new design plan is just a click away. The handy tools will help you in creating plans for both the interior and exterior. Besides that, this software is also easy to obtain. You can order it online and the retailer will ship it to your address as fast as possible.

What Is The Open Wall Construction Technology?

Open Wall construction is not limited to a single technique. The theories and principles behind the construction are unique, but the design uses existing methods and materials to allow for complete flexibility. Methods discussed later describe only one of a number of design models created, and provides examples of the applications, which should be modified…

Open Wall construction is not limited to a single technique. The theories and principles behind the construction are unique, but the design uses existing methods and materials to allow for complete flexibility.

Methods discussed later describe only one of a number of design models created, and provides examples of the applications, which should be modified to meet local codes and personal preferences.

Wrap and Strap Open Wall Construction

This method is ideal for tradesmen because its application is simple, and the buildings thermal envelope can easily be maintained. It consist of a primary shell, which is the buildings structural skeleton, being constructed with standard platform framing techniques. The entire building is then wrapped in polyethylene, then a second non-structural skin is attached to the exterior, which is insulated and finished. This type of open wall construction is used to retro-fit existing two by four construction into super-insulated, air tight homes.

Platform Open Wall Construction

Platform construction methods require that the framing carpenters perform not only the structural framing, but install the windows, doors, insulation, air / vapor barrier, exterior moisture barrier and sometimes exterior finishes when used in paneled wall sections.

This method has been utilized in the pre-manufacture of exterior walls in sections which are handled by four workers easily. It is very effective for consumers, not familiar with structural design, but who wish to erect their own homes. It is also a much quicker method because the building can be factory built elsewhere, shipped, and identified with the vapor barrier, insulation, electrical, interior finishes, windows, doors and siding already installed. A unique ability of this method is the capacity of the structure to be disconnected and moved in sections. This would have ideal applications for modification and additions, or to perform panel repair / replacement.

Construction of pre-manufactured walls are made in major sections of eight foot lengths, and minor sections, in divisions of one, two or four feet. Corner units are constructed to allow for varying exterior wall thickness. Wall heights include above floor thickness to maintain interior ceiling heights of seven foot six inches to nine feet.

Foundation

When building the foundation wall assemblies, it is important to use proper materials and consider the use of a raised, compacted sub-footing. Whether using a granular sub footing, a full height concrete footing or a footing and sub foundation to elevate the wall assembly, the foundation panels can not be backfiled more that three and a half feet. Any more than this and the structural integrity of the wall will be compromised.

Foundation walls must also be manufactured with at least two by eight inch plates to prevent lateral plate failure caused by earth pressures. The bottom plate is of pressure treated material which is about one quarter of an inch smaller than non constructed construction lumber. Because of this, the interior structural two by three wall assembly must overhang the plate by approximately one quarter of an inch. Exterior wall framing can be made with economy or number three graduated lumber so long as it is pressure treated to resist rot. The horizontal economy grade stabilizer and remaining stud grade plates are non-treated lumber.
The interior framed two by three wall is constructed first. It is constructed with regular framing nails with the studding at sixteen inch centers. The wall section is then squared off and secured to prevent movement. Over this, a polyethylene air / vapor barrier is placed, with the edges folded over the outer wall members, and stapled along the outside faces. Do not staple the air / vapor barrier to the edges of the plates or the studies, this will only punch irreparable holes in it. Corner sections require that the air / vapor retarder be wrapped around the interior walls corner studding. At this connection it is necessary to ensure that enough of the air / vapor barrier is left so that it will provide a surface to seal to at the interconnecting sections. Corners should be neatly folded to prevent bunching which would create air passes and prevent proper joining of the sections.

Over this, a horizontal stabilizer is laid down perpendicular to the wall studding, and fastened with screws to each individual stud. The stabilizer should be placed forty-five inches above the sole plate for full batt insulation placement. The composite wall top plate can then be fastened to the interior wall top plate, flush and true, with normal ardox framing nails.

Individual pressure treated exterior wall studs can then be delivered to the top plate at sixteen inches on center. The pressure treated sill plate is fastened, first to the exterior studding, then the sole plate of the interior wall assembly, the two end studs, then all exterior wall studs. These studies should be lined up straight, and fastened to the horizontal stabilizer with wood screws. Structural wind bracing (when required) is placed in the wall section, by being let into the exterior wall studs.

Batt insulation is laid in the middle cavity, perpendicular to the studies with approximately one half-inch overhang at the ends of the wall assembly. Batt insulation can now be placed within the exterior stud cavities. Depending on the covering of exterior, foam insulation and or sealed polyethylene to grade is applied. If foam insulation is used, the joints are sealed with vapor tape or acoustical sealant to the wood wall components as well as each other. It is a good idea to install the walls vapor trap along with the exterior polyethylene, as a single sheet, which can be sealed to the interior vapor barrier between the two sole plates. A moisture barrier is then placed over the wall assembly. It is secured by folding the edges over the studies and plates, and fastening with staples.

Finishing the wall by installation of the pressure treated plywood foundation cover and / or siding is then done. The plywood foundation paneling must be installed with the joints staggered against the underwriting foam board. These panels are fastened with exterior screws, spaced eight inches around the edges, and ten inches within the interior area.

Foundation vapor traps and groundsheets should be sealed by sandwiching them between the sill plate and the top of the foundation with a combination of sill gaskets and acoustical sealant. The moisture barriers are sealed with vapor tape at each joint. Anchor bolts should be left loose to allow for shimming or grouting if necessary.

The outer walls are fastened together with wood screws, each two feet along the end studs of the interior wall. If required, metal tie straps are installed on the inside edge of the top plate. The walls can then be leased and squared before proceeding with floor or roof construction.

First Floor Walls

In design, it is important that if you do not use tie straps to hold the sections together, then the upper and lower sections should have overlapping plates to prevent separation. Also, depending on the particular design, the floor may have to be installed before continuing. It is recommended to install floors before continuing for this gives the carpenters a level area to construct the upper walls on and supports the exterior foundation.

One way these walls can be installed with the windows and siding is by overhanging the wall sections. Construction of the interior bearing walls, vapor barrier, stabilizer, plates and exterior wall studding in this approach is similar to the foundation wall assembly. Where they differ is in the edging of the units.

Edging is the bottom cover, which hides and protects the overhanging framed members and insulating barrier. It can be decorative hardboard nailed to the underside of the sole plate which is sandwiched between the plate and the foundation or floor assemblies. This edging should be sealed to both the floor and foundation wall or to the floor assembly vapor barriers.

This overhang method is ideal when combined with a face brick applied around the first floors exterior. The overhang allows for installation of bearing, platform framed floor assemblies while providing sufficient second story overhang for the brick face.

Windows and Doors (exterior openings)

Probably the trickiest area to seal against infiltration and exfiltration. Although the area around the opening could be sealed with expanding foam, by pre-installing the windows in frames with a perimeter gasket, less work and material is required.

The window or door is first squared off in its frame, and held in place by cross corner strapping. A half-inch plywood or aspenite frame is built up around the window. The aspenite frame width should be equal to the entire thickness of the wall assembly. This frame is then sealed to the window by sandwiching a sill gasket between it and the surrounding wood members, which is secured with wood screws inserted through the window frame. This allows removal for future repair or replacement of a window or door. Leave approximately two inches of the gasket extending beyond the interior edge. The resulting box allows fastening of the interior finish directly to its surface, without gaps or unsupported areas.

The framed walls and header should be attached with screws directly to the boxed window, with sealant applied between the box and the individual vapor barriers. After squaring up the completed section, bracing is let into the studies. This bracing is important to the operation of windows or doors, because out of square or twisted framing will cause binding. For this reason, casement windows and wood doors should be used to allow post construction adjustment. Once the bracing has been secured, exterior sheathing with the moisture barriers are installed together, and exterior finishes applied.

Interior Floors

Because open wall construction relations on continuous wall insulation between stories, the interior floors in this method must be designed to remain within the building envelope. Utilizing overhanging walls, wider lower wall sections or ledger strips, the interior floors can be supported on sufficient bearing. Floor assemblies can be joists, truss floors, wood I beams or any other type of framing material.

Floor construction, through wall overhang or wider lower wall sections, allows the carpenters to construct the floor assemblies as current accepted practices, with one exception. The header or trimmer joist may have to be placed inside the edge of the top plate of the lower wall. The main concern with this type of construction is that when installation of the upper-framed wall is attempted, there is a likely hood of decreasing the lower wall off the platform and foundation wall when raising it. Simple blocking or tiebacks under the floor will prevent such a problem and ensure site safety.

Floor construction with ledger strips or ribbon boards permit finished floor levels to meet with the top plate of the lower wall assembly. The bearing ledgers or ribbon boards should be installed as per local building code requirements. Floor sheathing must overlap the wall joists to ensure a proper firebreak between floor levels. Although time consuming, header and trimmer joists can be omitted because end restraint is achieved by lamination to the lower wall studs.

Variations of the interior floor support concepts can include second plates, joist hangers or tie straps. Most importantly, design the connections for your tradesmen abilities. Framed floors are easiest to construct and install because the techniques and design criteria already exist. Only qualified personnel with the proper experience should attempt other more complex designs.

Roofs

Open wall construction was designed for use with truss components, but by strapping over ceiling joists, the same results can be obtained. For effective design, overhangs should be completely eliminated. They are costly and require extensive labor to complete. Roof edges should have angled fascia (called knife edging) to allow enough overhang to prevent excess run off from running down walls. Simple “two by” fascia, lapped over wall siding can be trimmed or painted in many colors and still provide adequate visual separation from the roof. By lapping the fascia over the siding gravity water can not enter into the buildings wall cavities. But remember to leave enough screened eave area, to allow for adequate attic ventilation. Gables should also be completed with knife edging and reduced overhang. Sheathing and roofing materials are applied as per current building techniques.

Raised heel trusses or plated ceiling joists will raise the roof to allow for eave insulation and venting. The attic vapor barrier should consist of 10-millimeter polyethylene. This thicker and more durable layer is less likely to be damaged during construction, or when running fish tapes for future utility lines. The vapor barrier is installed parallel to the truss members or ceiling joists. Wall edges are sandwiched with acoustical sealant between the top wall plate and two by two strapping. Joints landing on truss members or ceiling joists should be sealed between it and a piece of two by two strapping.

Over the ceiling air / vapor barrier, two by two strapping is screw nailed to the underside of the ceiling support members. Areas around penetrating utilities such as stack vents and furnace exhausts should be made with plywood sealed directly to the air / vapor barrier. Holes drilled or cut for the utilities must be carefully sealed to the plywood with expanding foam or other acceptable materials such as acoustical sealant.

New Home Builder Information

What does a Home Costs? The price will vary with the type and quality of finish materials used. Eighty-five dollars a square foot will give the building an oak kitchen, solid cedar siding, architectural shingles, medium quality carpet, central vacuum, and alarm system (as an example). Top dollar is generally brick siding, ceramic floors, whirlpool…

What does a Home Costs?

The price will vary with the type and quality of finish materials used. Eighty-five dollars a square foot will give the building an oak kitchen, solid cedar siding, architectural shingles, medium quality carpet, central vacuum, and alarm system (as an example). Top dollar is generally brick siding, ceramic floors, whirlpool tubs, maple cabinets throughout, central air conditioners, central vacuum, detached garage, high quality carpets, chandeliers, etc. but will cost the consumer about ninety-five to a hundred dollars a square foot.

Contract Documents – What You Should Have And Why?

Architectural / Residential Technologies uses four main documents:

1. Building Contract – states what work will be preformed, who will perform the work, how revisions will be handled, the costs involved, and a payment schedule.
2. Building Plans – detail how the building is to be built.
3. Specifications – describe what materials will be used, the quality of materials that will be used, and how the building elements will be constructed.
4. Timeline – Describes the order of events, gives completion dates for different parts of the project, and helps track the progress of the project, so that we can be sure to complete the project on time.

There are a wide variety of other legal considerations to take into account when building your own home.

Building Permits and Plans

1. An application for building, plumbing or other permits
2. A site plan – sets out the compatibility of the building design, the proposed land area grading and drainage. The plan should also include the Legal description and lot dimensions.
• The location and setback of the proposed building property lines of the lot.
• Location of every other building on the property.
• The distances from the existing building (s) to the new building. Existing and finished grade levels of the proposed building, and the lot.
• A zoning administrator may require a plan of the survey certified by a registered land surveyor.
• Any number of complete sets of house plans and specifications, (specifications may be noted on plans) one set should be returned to you, and kept on the job site during the construction of the building. The Building Department will likely retain one set.

Requirements of Drawings

Drawings should be to scale and include:

Foundation Plan
• Plan fully dimensioned showing size and location of beams, bearing walls or support columns (including footings) and foundation thickness. Specify type of material to be used, for example concrete block, scattered concrete, wood, or other.
• Indicate size of floor joists above including spans and distances to centers.
• Indicate stair location including required framing around stairs

Floor Plans
• One floor plan per story
• Plans should be dimensioned with rooms and spaces identified
• Identify doors and windows including sizes, rough openings and lintel sizes over each.
• Identify plumbing fixtures
• Indicate stair location including required framing around stairs and direction
• Identify structure above, including truss and joist layouts

Cross Sections
• Showing foundation, floor, wall and roof assembly with all materials defined
• At least one full building section should be completed
• Include floor finish levels

Elevations
• Complete set of elevation drawings showing all four sides including exterior finish, grade levels, decks, entranceways, and finished ceiling and floor height.

Chimney Section
• Indicating flue size, clearance to combustible materials, height of chimney above roof hearth extension, fresh air inlet and indicate type and manufacturers specifications complete with material used in construction

Legal Considerations

Typical permits or approvals may include the following:

1. Can your property be used for the purpose you have in mind. In other words, you will require rezoning for residential or commercial applications which may be associated with your building requirements, such as home based businesses, apartments, garages or wood shops.

2. Verify whether there are any special requirements under a subdivision agreement, which may or may not be privately held.

3. Can you place or design the building, as you would like to. Allowances for side yards, front yards, rear yards, lot coverage, local fire regulations, or other such items can have a substantial impact on the size and design of the building. And remember you can apply for small variances, which may allow you to override such laws.

4. Fees are involved. As with everything there is generally a fee for permits, variances, inspections, plan approvals, environmental studies or analysis, and any other considerations your municipality may require.

5. You may need to find out if a site plan control agreement is required

6. You need to know if you can gain access to the property from a local roadway or highway, whether utilities and services can be bought in and whether or not you can use the property for the project you are proposing.

7. Will you be required to install a septic system, well, or can you connect to existing services. There is usually a fee required for such approvals or connections to town lines.

8. Check for conservation and environmental considerations that your local natural resource development authorities may have in place for the intended property. Questions such as flood plain, drainage and environmental sensitivities should be addressed.

9. Check the requirements and costs associated with the administration of projects that are usually contained in building, electrical, and / or plumbing laws associated with your geographical locations.

10. Remember to find out, when required and by what, temporary or permanent services for electricity, telephone, sewer, cable TV, gas and other miscellaneous utilities that you may require.

Always check to see if,

1. Any of the above certain to you
2. How much will it cost
3. How long will it take to obtain approval
4. Who should apply for approvals.

Heating Choices For Your Home – Learn About The Pros And Cons Of Each System

In the prehistoric days of the caveman home heating was a fairly simple affair. You sincerely gathered wood, formed it into a pile, and ignited it. Then to keep warm you sat as close to the fire as possible, as no system of ductwork had been invented yet to propel the warmth to other parts…

In the prehistoric days of the caveman home heating was a fairly simple affair. You sincerely gathered wood, formed it into a pile, and ignited it. Then to keep warm you sat as close to the fire as possible, as no system of ductwork had been invented yet to propel the warmth to other parts of your cave. Thankfully, home heating has come a long way since then, and now there are several choices to keep you and your family warm and toasty at night.

Considerations Regarding Your Ultimate Choice Of Heating

I have lived in several different homes over the years, and each possessed its own unique form of heating. Currently, my East York home is heated through a new high-efficiency furnace; one fueled by natural gas. Whether buying a property resale or having your dream-home built from scratch, there are several considerations you should keep in mind when making or modifying your heating choice.

1) Hardware cost factor. How much will your choice be to initially install, and are any home modifications necessary to accommodate your decision? (example: gas furnaces need ductwork; electric baseboard heating does not).

2) Fuel cost. Furnaces run on fuel (oil, gas, electricity) and each has a distinct cost. Can you afford to pay the monthly bill using your chosen fuel?

3) Maintenance and durability. What will be the cost that your selection for home heating requires, in order to keep the chosen unit running smoothly year after year? (example: furnace reliability)

4) Basement apartments. Heat rises, so if your entire home is heated by just one furnace, the upstairs will be much warmer than the foundation – resulting in a cold tenant or irate in-law. Consider employing a different delivery system so that both units are ideally kept warm (or air-conditioned for that matter).

5) Indoor air quality. Most furnaces burn fossil fuels. This creates the potential – if proper combustion does not occur or there is adequate venting – for the build-up of carbon monoxide in your home. Naturally, these types of systems should be cleaned and serviced yearly to detect any problems, but if this is a concern for you then another system should be used in your home such as electric base heating, which does not emit life-threatening carbon monoxide.

Types Of Heating

There are three main types of heating that currently dominate the marketplace, and each comes with its own strengths as well as a few weaknesses.

Electric Baseboard: This type of heating is reliably inexpensive to initially install yet can be prohibitively expensive to run. My family and I once lived in a home with electric base heating, and much to my chagrin my hydro bills were astronomical. Basically, this form of heating is like having a space heater in each and every room of your house. They are individually controlled so each room in your home can be set at a different temperature. This is a positive should different members of your family react to the cold differently.

Also, as there is no ductwork involved, air and dust which can cause allergies to flare, are not blown through the home. The units themselves rarely need maintenance, and can last for years. Other than its operating cost, these systems one major drawback is that because no ductwork runs through the home, one can not easily put in central air conditioning. A ductless system must be employed; one that can typically cost about 30% more to install and operate. A less expensive way to cool select rooms (generally bedrooms) would be to install simple window cooling units. Also, this form of heating can oftentimes dry out a home leading to headaches, dry throats and skin. A separate humidifier would need to be brought to bring much-needed moisture into your home.

Forced Air: This common central heating system is one which utilizes heat that is generated at a single location (typically a furnace), then distributes the warmth through your home via a series of ducts. It can be initially expensive to install depending on the type of furnace you purchase. High efficiency furnaces are becoming the norm throughout the building industry. These units generally draw their combustible air from outside the home. They also require no chimney as they vent directly outside. Typically, a furnace can last upwards of 20 years with regular servicing and maintenance. Furnaces can run on gas, oil or electricity, and each fuel comes with its own market price.

It would be prudent to do a cost breakdown to see which fuel best suits your situation. Remember, if you choose oil you will need to purchase a storage tank for it, and this will add to your initial cost. A positive to having a forced air heating system in your home is that air conditioning can be easily installed, as you already have the ductwork in place to circulate the cool air. But, having that same ductwork brings a negative. Dust, pet dander and pollen are drawn into the furnace through the cold air return and then are blown back out into every room of your home, wreaking havoc for those with allergies or asthma. This is why it is imperative to clean or replace the furnace's filter on a regular basis. An added bonus to this form of home heating is that a humidifier can be easily installed directly to the furnace, adding much-needed moisture to the home on extremely cold, winter days.

Radiators: This form of heating is probably the most noticeable in one's home simply because radiators are generally large, accordion-shaped, heavy units that protrude out from the wall thereby eating up precious floor space. Many older apartment buildings employ this form of heating. Basically, there is a boiler in the basement which is up water, which in turn travels about the home through a series of pipes to each room's radiator. As with base heating no ducts are used therefore dust and pollen are not blown about the home. But oftentimes these pipes are wrapped in asbestos to aid in keeping the water warm during its travels. If you suspect your pipes are wrapped by this material then it would be wise to call in a professional to discuss your options. Do not tamper with or remove any of the suspected material yourself.

As with electric base heating, you would need to put in ductless air conditioning or window units as no ductwork lines the home, which will add to overall cost. As well, you will need a separate humidifier as the air will become dry. The current generation of boilers are extremely efficient though, and take up very little floor space themselves. Again, with this type of system you still need to utilize a source of fuel to heat the water, and this makes for an ongoing monthly cost; one that needs to be factored into your budget.

Typically, here in Canada, our homes need to be contained for several months of the year. Therefore, it is prudent to always maintain whatever system you have, and keep it up-to-date. By doing so, means you will not find yourself inadvertently left out in the cold.

Home Warranty Site – Get The Best Warranty Services

It is natural that you might be building your home with great expectations that it should definitely come in accord with your dream house. Also you might have really struggled hard to get hold of the house in the right manner without facing any kinds of issues with the passage of time by saving good…

It is natural that you might be building your home with great expectations that it should definitely come in accord with your dream house. Also you might have really struggled hard to get hold of the house in the right manner without facing any kinds of issues with the passage of time by saving good amount of money obtained through the hard work you were carrying on in the previous years. It is natural that at times you could meet up with certain defects with the time wherein you might really find it difficult to replace it by yourself as you might be moving in a tight situation with respect to the financial sector as you might have already spend the entailing saving for the task of constructing the house with the time.

There are ways wherein you could move on with the replacement by selecting the appropriate products that are having the required home warranty services. You should be careful right from the beginning as there are many components that are being offered to the people in the market with certain period of warranty services and the period usually varies with respect to the product you are selecting for your requirement with the passage of time . There are many warranty services companies giving out the required warranty service with the time and you must be careful while selecting your service as it should be really worth without putting you in any kind of troubled situation with the passage of days.

You should trying going through the conditions of the warranty service very well as the service conditions keeps on varying from provider to provider without any issues wherein you should try your level best in getting hold of the best service in the perfect manner which are definitely going to be useful to you at some point of time in the best manner. You can make use of the facility of internet in order to actually determine the best home warranty service as per your needs in the best manner without putting you in any kinds of issues with the passage of time. Also you may be concerned about the expense involved with the process of extending the warranty services after finishing the expiration date and so on and considering these factors you should move on with the process of checking with the quotes wherein you will definitely come across the one that remains feasible to the level best.

The Code for Sustainable Homes: Improving Energy Efficiency and Sustainability of a Building

The Code for Sustainable Homes, or CSH, is a rating system which assesses the drawings and specifications of a property before construction and allocates points based on the Government has introduced this rating system as means to reduce the environmental impact of our homes, and increase the energy efficiency and sustainability of both new and…

The Code for Sustainable Homes, or CSH, is a rating system which assesses the drawings and specifications of a property before construction and allocates points based on the Government has introduced this rating system as means to reduce the environmental impact of our homes, and increase the energy efficiency and sustainability of both new and existing properties.

Working in collaboration with the Building Research Establishment (BRE) and the Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA), the Government has introduced the Code for Sustainable Homes, based on the EcoHomes system, to set the standard for sustainability and to be used as a basis for future developments to building regulations.

The following nine elements are assessed within the Code for Sustainable Homes rating system, which fall under two categories; mandated and other.

Energy and CO2 Emissions –

Energy and CO2 emissions fall in the mandatory category, as they are important factors in increasing the sustainability of a building and reducing its environmental impact. This element uses the SAP – Standard Assessment Procedure to calculate a rating, assessing whether the energy consumption and resulting CO2 emissions meet the minimum requirements set to keep both at a minimum and what systems have been put in place to regulate this.

Water –

The water element also falls in the mandatory category along with energy and CO2 emissions. This element is assessed based on the quantity of water consumption of the property, and whether building products have been installed to keep water consumption to a minimum.

The water consumption needs to be limited to 105 liters per person per day, and by installing a graywater recycling system it is not difficult to keep water consumption to a minimum. Other building products that can be used to reduce consumption include low-flush mechanisms and water saving tap flow limiters.

Surface Run-Off –

An important element contributing to sustainability is surface run-off, which can be harnessed to generate electricity or be reused in the property. By controlling surface run-off, the risk of flooding due to urbanization is reduced, therefore reducing environmental impact as well as meeting the requirements for water consumption. By using a rainwater harvesting system, the requirements of the Code for Sustainable Homes can be met.

Materials –

There are no minimum requirements to be met for this element; however the assessment is made on the environmental impact of the building materials to be used in the construction of the building.

Waste –

The waste element also has no minimum requirements set to meet the code for sustainable homes. However, this element will be assessed in terms of the waste products generated in the construction of the building and the methods put in place to encourage recycling.

Pollution –

The pollution element has no minimum requirements to meet to adhere to the code for sustainable homes. The pollution created from the use of the property will be assessed as part of the Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH).

Health and Well-Being –

Health and well-being has no minimum requirements to be met. The assessment is based on the effects of the property on its occupants, in terms of design and indoor environment.

Management –

The management element is a more general assessment of the methods introduced in the plans and specifications of the building to manage the environmental impacts of both the construction of the property and the use of the home. This element also has no minimum requirements set.

Ecology –

The ecology of the building is an important element to be considered when aiming to reduce the environmental impact of a property. This element is assessed based on the impact of the building on local eco-systems, and biodiversity.

They Don’t Build ‘Em Like They Used to! Women Who Project Manage Their Home Construction

It's well known that project managing the construction of a home will save you money – and give you more decision making control. What is less widely known is that many successful project managers are women – who have no construction experience whatsoever. My company has been selling cedar homes for 18 years. Over the…

It's well known that project managing the construction of a home will save you money – and give you more decision making control. What is less widely known is that many successful project managers are women – who have no construction experience whatsoever.

My company has been selling cedar homes for 18 years. Over the years, I've had the opportunity to work with all sorts of home buyers. Their backgrounds and experiences are as varied as the houses they build. However, I've noticed that the women who elect to project manage the construction of their homes share similar characteristics that absolutely qualify them for the job.

What women lack in home construction knowledge, they more than make up for in natural curiosity and organizational skills – or as some prefer to say, “multi-tasking abilities.” Anita Legaspi and her husband Ray (neither of who had construction experience) built a 3,600 sf custom cedar home near Lake Stevens, WA about 5 years ago. At the time, Anita was a stay-at-home mom who enjoyed sewing and Ray was employed at Boeing. They realized early on that “they could get more house for their money if they did it themselves.”

Of the pair, Anita had more time available to organize the project and research their options. She realized that her experience with soliciting items for school auctions would also be helpful in obtaining subcontractor bids for their home. “I was not afraid to talk to people and ask questions.

With the help of a timeline (outlining tasks and deadlines), Anita obtained bids and contracted out: the foundation, shell construction, electrical, plumbing, roofing and deck installation. Anita, Ray and their son Christian did much of the painting and finish work themselves.

Anita admits that the time spent building the home was difficult for their family. Ray and Anita chose to live onsite by utilizing their small trailer and a camper. She remembers the initial fun of “camping,” complete with bonfires (to burn up the stumps) and hot dog roasts. However, the summer fun dissipated when wet weather set in. Ray and Anita realized that their trailer was becoming more claustrophobic than cozy – and it was not very well insulated ..

Looking back on their house building days, Anita offers this advice:

  • Decide what's important to you. If you really want that special kitchen – go for it.
  • You can never go wrong with quality.
  • Develop a cost breakdown sheet to help you compare bids and expenses.
  • Big name companies do not always offer the support you'll need. You need to be able to communicate with a dealer, subcontractor, etc. You should feel like you can call them any time.

Nancy and Paul Davis knew that they wanted a cedar home for their mountain retreat near Cle Elum, WA. Neither Paul nor Nancy had bought property before and the whole process of developing the property and building a home was new to them.

In an effort to learn more about the process, Paul and Nancy attended a Log Home Seminar and also reviewed companies and products on the internet. According to Nancy, “The seminar was good for us. It brought up all the things we had not thought about.”

Prior to staying home with their son Cory, Nancy had been a foundry supervisor and had also worked in a human resources department. She knew a few things about interviewing, hiring and managing people. She also knew that if she and Paul were to build the cabin themselves, “it could take years!” Their solution was to put Nancy at the helm and have her manage the construction of the cabin.

Paul and Nancy elected to undertake the finish work themselves, but hired separate subcontractors to handle the foundation, shell construction, electrical, plumbing and roofing. At one point, Nancy put together a work party with three girlfriends. Together they installed the wood flooring in the great room and kitchen. However, Nancy noted that this was done “only after we had dinner out on Friday night to discuss our approach – and of course, a great breakfast with lots of chit chat before we actually began.”

A low point for Nancy came when she was the only person onsite and “the cabinet people dumped all our kitchen cabinets right in the middle of our driveway.” It was up to Nancy to figure out how to get them all inside by herself. Nancy called for back up and said, “I had to be really assertive, which is entirely out of my personality.”

Today, the Davis' are very proud of their 2,300 sf cabin retreat. “We knew we could do it with the support of knowledgeable people in the industry.” Based on her recently acquired construction management skills, Nancy offers the following tips:

  • Find your own system to stay organized. Nancy used a notebook divided into tasks, ie electrical, plumbing, and roofing, etc.
  • Network with other people within the construction community and seek their advice
  • It's OK to be assertive – especially when you are trying to track down answers and make decisions.

“Everybody is blown away by how beautiful my home is,” says Diane Weibling who project managed the construction of her own 1,200 sf cedar home in North Bend, WA. For ten years, Diane, a family support worker for the Seattle public school system, read “how to build your own home” books at the North Bend library. The librarian finally told her she was going to have to stop reading and start building her own home. And that's exactly what she did.

In addition to her library research, Diane attended open houses and talked with other homeowners. She says that the idea of ​​project managing the construction her home evolved slowly. “I felt like if I wanted it done right, I had to do it myself.”

She obviously did a lot of things right. Her home has a panoramic view of Mt. Si – in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. People drive slowly past her home so that they can appreciate her unique setting and beautiful home.

Diane took time to look for bargains on cabinets and appliances for her new home. She said, “I got all my solid maple kitchen cabinets for $ 1,200. Someone had ordered these and never picked them up. I went to the Sears Outlet and checked out their scratch and dent models. I easily replaced. I bought a demo wood stove at the fair and saved $ 600. ”

Her project managing experience has taught her a few more things, including:

  • Try not to micromanage the subcontractors. It'll drive you (and them) crazy.
  • Ask the builder how many projects they have under construction. It may mean that they will not have blocks of time to give to your project – and this could extend your timeline.
  • Ask for contractor prices

Each of these women brought unique skills to their home projects – none of which was a background in construction. What motivated them to manage their home construction? Certainly money was a factor. By project managing the construction of their own homes, each woman realized many thousands of dollars in savings. The savings could result in a lower mortgage payment – or it could mean having a larger home for less money – or both! In some cases, project management is a way for the homeowner to maintain more control over all aspects of the home's construction.

Project managing home construction is not an option for everyone. The state of Washington allows homeowners to serve as their own general contractors (or project managers) – but not all states will permit this. Bear in mind also that not all banks will finance owner-built homes. Lastly, remember that when the plumber does not show up on schedule, you're responsible for keeping the project moving forward and on budget. Some subcontractors are aware that your home is a one-time project for them – whereas a contractor will be calling them for other jobs in the future. This may affect the quality and timeliness of their work which in turn may adversely affect your timeline and budget.

None of the women interviewed for this article had building background and none of them had ever project managed the construction of a home. However, all three women had a natural curiosity about the process and were willing to step out of their comfort zone and try something new. Certainly, the end result for each of these project managers is a beautiful home and many thousands of dollars saved. The most unexpected outcome has been a change within each woman. When asked, “What did you learn about yourself” all three women project managers responded, “I learned I can do anything I set my mind to.”

The History of Timber Frame Houses

Timber has been used as a construction material in buildings in the UK since the Neolithic period. Some of the oldest timber houses in Europe are found in England and Scotland, and the earliest timber framed buildings existing in the UK today date back to the 13th century. This goes to show just how durable…

Timber has been used as a construction material in buildings in the UK since the Neolithic period. Some of the oldest timber houses in Europe are found in England and Scotland, and the earliest timber framed buildings existing in the UK today date back to the 13th century. This goes to show just how durable this construction method is.

After going out of fashion in recent centuries, timber has seen something of a revival in modern times despite advances in other forms of building techniques, demonstrating the enduring popularity of timber frame houses.

Early Timber Building Techniques

When timber framed houses were first constructed in the UK back in the 12th and 13th centuries, lap jointing was the most common technique, but this was soon followed by the far stronger mortise-and-tenon joint which created a solid and durable frame.

As the centers went on, other timber construction methods became common, including box frame construction and crane construction, with box frame construction more common in the UK.

Another technique which became very popular was jettying, where the floor space on upper floors was extended beyond the external walls. Sometimes more than one floor was added using jettying, leading to homes where the top floors reached right over into the street. A good place to see this is in The Shambles in York.

The Waning Popularity of Timber

During the 16th century timber became harder to find in the UK as it was used incrementally for ships and fuel. Up until the 18th century, most buildings remained timber framed, but it became less fashionable over the following centuries, and often the timber was covered up with plaster.

The Modern Timber Revival

Timber framed houses saw something of a revival in the 1970s in the UK as well as in the USA and Canada where more affordable mass-produced techniques became common. However, in the UK at least, the techniques were initially lacking in quality.

The timber was usually a poor quality softwood with minimal structural integrity, the frame was erected quickly with an external brick skin and overall the final product was poor and had a low quality feel to it. This different from some other countries where timber framed buildings were still popular, one of which was Sweden.

Swedish Superiority

Timber framed buildings remained popular in Sweden over the centuries, and over the past 50 years Swedish craftsmen honed their skills in constructing timber houses. One of the reasons for the higher quality was down to the significant differences between the Swedes and Scandinavians delivered timber buildings compared to the British process.

First and foremost, they used a high-quality lumber. In Sweden, the timber used was slow grown for over 50 years compared to the UK where timber was fast grown over 25 years. This had a significant impact upon the structural integrity of the base product.

In Sweden craftsmen also tended to build wall panels, starting with the window and building a frame around it, as opposed to walls with openings for windows. This meant that each panel had full thermal integrity with a factory finish.

In contrast, in the UK it was more common to find lighter frames with openings for windows which were then identified on site and the windows were fitted retrospectively. This made the junction between the windows and the frame a weak part of the overall building.

Improvements in UK Timber Buildings

Whilst the 70s trend towards timber framed structures in the UK caused consideration damage to its reputation, we are now seeing something of a renaissance in the market place. Timber framing is now regularly used for the construction of care homes, hotels and other buildings. In some cases it is also used in housing and generally provides a better level of environmental performance because it is an eco-friendly technique which is known for its energy efficiency.

Several UK companies have now chosen to adopt many of the skills of the Scandinavians and are developing timber houses with exceptional environmental performance and sustainability. These buildings can last for over 50 years provided they are well maintained during their lifetime. As long as the right techniques are used, timber is likely to remain a popular and highly-effective building material in the UK for many years to come.