How To Enjoy A Real Bargain On A Steel Frame Home
December 7, 2008If youre in the market for a steel frame house, you, no doubt, understand the value of money. This type of construction can beat wood framing hands down when it comes to strength and durability. Unfortunately, it can cost a lot on the front end to have a steel frame house constructed. Unless you happen to have the Midas touch, chances are youll be frightened away by the sticker price. You dont have to be. If you take the right steps to make your own golden opportunities for money savings along the way, you can have the home of your dreams without busting your budget by mythic proportions.
While its true the initial materials will likely cost you more for a number of reasons when steel construction is on tap, you can save plenty of pennies in other areas. If you happen to own your own land which you plan on putting a home, youre even better off.
What Is Steel Frame Construction?
Steel frame housing is very similar to regular construction. These homes can taken on any imaginable outer appearance you happen to desire. The inside framing materials the 2-by-4s, for example will be made of steel rather than lumber. The advantages of steel over wood are many, despite the elevated costs. The money invested can save you a lot down the road because steel:
Doesnt attract termites and other wood-eating pests
Tends to hold up to storms better
When the long-term advantages of steel are considered, this building material makes a lot of sense. With todays lumber in short supply and the quality often in question, steel is a sound alternative.
How To Get Steel Framing
You cant run to your local hardware store and purchase steel framing for your house by the stick. In most cases, you have to deal directly with a manufacturer who will prepare your order based on your house plans. You have two main options here, both can present cost savings if you shop around. They are:
Buying in kits Some companies that manufacturer steel framing for housing offer nearly complete construction packages. This means they can provide you blueprints for house construction (or alter yours for steel), offer you all the materials you need to frame your house and cut everything so its ready to fit together. This option can save you some hassle and even money in the long run if you like the plans and the pricing is sound based on going it alone.
Buying just the steel If you discover you can buy your other materials for strapping and securing more reasonably as separate purchases, this option makes sense. In most cases, you will still need to have plans in place so the steel can be pre-cut for framing based on your blueprints.
Once you secure your steel, other options for money savings will readily present themselves.
Getting A Plan
If you dont choose to go the kit route with steel frame construction, you will need blueprints from which contractors can put your home together. Aside from the kit, you have two main choices for getting plans that will map out the home of your dreams. Both present cost savings potential. They are:
Buying pre-made plans Architectural firms and builders often are more than willing to sell stock blueprints for homes. This is a great way to get the plans you need without having to pay a fortune for an architect. If you find plans in this manner and love them, do take the time to vet the reputation of the company you are buying from. It doesnt do you any good to have your blueprints arrive to find out a few weeks down the road they are flawed.
Working with an architect Should you want a custom design, this is your best bet. Take the time to gain quotes and study the work of different architects before diving into a contract. Its also a good idea to see if your architects of choice work with steel framing.
Why Land Is Important
Owning your own property to build on is a big piece of the pie if you want to save money on steel frame construction. Not only will you have one of the largest expenses already out of the way, you will have more control over how your home is built if you are the owner/builder.
If you dont own your own land and plan on constructing on a builders lot, you will not have as much flexibility. When you call the shots as the landowner, you will be able, legally, to save money by:
Acting as your own contractor You can assume the role of the general contractor. This means you will pull your own building permits, hire your subcontractors, order materials and even schedule work and inspections. Make no mistake; this is a lot of work. Still, it can save you thousands of dollars in the expenses a general contractor would normally charge you. If you have the time and the organizational skills, acting as your own contractor will enable you to more than offset the higher material costs associated with steel.
Doing some of the major work yourself If you take any phase of construction and do it yourself, you can save yourself a ton of money in contractor and labor fees. As long as your work is good enough to pass inspection, youre perfectly okay in doing the plumbing, electrical, roofing, window installations whatever task or tasks you can take on with knowledge and skill.
Handling the finishing steps Okay, so you looked at the big projects and decided you either didnt have the time or money to do them. Thats perfectly fine. You can still save money by tackling the smaller, cosmetic jobs. For example, you can do your own interior and/or exterior painting, lay your tiles, and put fixtures in the bathrooms. Even the smallest jobs will cut a slice of the pie out of what contractors will earn and put it back on your table.
Making final purchases A house isnt a home until the appliances and fixtures are in place. If you rely on a contractor to make these purchases, you could end up paying a lot more in the long run. When you dont buy a home as part of a land/building package deal (such as in a subdivision), you are more free to find your own appliances, counters, cabinets and other finishing items. This means you can shop around, compare pricing and even look for bargain basement sales.
Steel frame construction can be costly, but it does pay off in the long run. If you want to save money and still enjoy topnotch quality, there are steps you can take to shave dollars even thousands off the final expenses.