The first thing needed is at least a floor plan sketch. We can take pictures, portions of floor plans, drawings on a pizza box lid, etc. to generate simple floor plan sketches as well as exterior 3-D views of that same sketch. Using that information, we try to arrive at a design that you’re happy with and will work with a timber frame. We do not charge for generating those sketches.
Our objective with those sketches is not to design the entire home but instead to develop the “curb appeal” and rough layout of the home. This establishes the building envelope from which we can develop our cost and the panel company can derive theirs.
No. We don’t subscribe to the cookie-cutter mentality. Because of that mindset, all our designs are custom to each homeowner. Many of our completed homes are posted on our “Finished Timber Frames” page. If you like the look of one of those houses, we can certainly use that design as base to work from. In addition to our homes, there are countless websites and books devoted to showcasing different designs. We are comfortable using one of those as a base to start from.
In most cases, the sketches are enough to start getting cost estimates from builders or contractors. At this point, you’re trying to find out if a timber frame fits within your budget.
If you were to have a contractor do all the work on your home, a cost break down you can assume is this. Our timber frame estimate combined with the estimate from the panel company should represent 1/3 of the turnkey cost of the house. Again, that is not a hard fast number. It’s simply meant to give you an idea.
We see a fairly even split if you don’t distinguish between those who do all or those who do some of the work themselves. We have observed homeowners having the most success in tackling the project themselves when they have had some previous experience in building a home. Typically this needs to be more than a shop class or even a single weekend project. We certainly don’t want to quench a dream but we do know that in a building project, there are always unexpected pitfalls that we call the “black holes of construction.” These black holes are inevitable and almost always require more time and money to climb out of. An effective contractor, hired or not, will see these in advance and do everything they can to mitigate their effect on the project.
You’re looking for several things in this order:
- Do your personalities fit? Personality clashes in many cases can be overcome through discussions but they can also become the single greatest cause of delays and budget overruns if left unresolved. We advise that if you have an uneasy feeling directly related to the contractor, you need to either find out more information or part ways. This goes for any contractor involved with your project.
- Do they understand that details matter or do they simply gloss over the plans and put a number to it? Details are a big part of building a timber frame. If a contractor is unsure or too busy, they will budget a number that can accommodate for any errors in the building process. The home may turn out exactly as you wanted it to but it won’t be as inexpensive as it could have been.
- What is the community opinion of the contractor? This is a tough one. This requires that you not only seek out the opinions of past clients but also what their relationship is to the contractor.
This again depends on the complexity of the frame. However assuming a basic frame, here’s what you can expect:
- Upon ordering the timbers, it will take 4 – 6 weeks before the timber arrives in our shop.
- Once they’re here, we will take around 4 – 6 weeks to cut and fit the frame.
- When we are done with the fitting process, we are ready to raise. This is typically where most delays happen due to weather or on-site construction issues.
- Once a raising day is set and we arrive on-site, we will spend 2-3 days raising your frame.
- After the frame is raised, about one day is needed to apply T&G on the ceilings if that is the chosen finish.
- At that point, you’re ready for the panel company. Once they’re done, your house is ready for the final close-in process with roofing, siding, windows, doors, etc.
- After the house is closed in, the timing of the project depends on the timing of local contractors.
So from ordering to raising, it will take 2 – 3 months and then we’re on-site with the frame.
We are open to building just about anywhere in the contiguous United States. The states we’ve raised frames in to date are: Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Wyoming.
As you can see, we operate in a large swath of the country; the central states are by far the most common states we build in. We don’t believe in distance surcharges. If for example you were building in the coastal states, our quote or estimate would include any resultant costs for transporting the crew and tools. Beyond those costs, our raising cost would be figured the same as if you were building an hour down the road from us.
If you’re still unsure if we would build where you’re wanting to build, give us a call. We’re more than happy to discuss your project!