Posted by: SoccerGirl | March 18, 2008

Choosing a Builder Part 2

After a nice night’s sleep (with earplugs for me to seal out any snoring that may have occurred) we enjoyed a great breakfast before heading back over to the property to meet builder #2. As we were driving up the road to the property we saw that he was already there and had driven his truck up the hill to the home site. Normally when we go to the property we follow a path along the bottom that meets up with some of the old logging roads in the woods. Not this time though… I guess my dad wanted to save time so we drove up. Let’s just say that this is not a smooth ride, there are many, many holes and large bumps that made it quite a ride to the top.

Builder #2 was also accompanied by his wife, something that seems pretty common so far in our experience. Again my dad talked with the builder and my mom and I both talked to his wife. After briefly looking over the layout of the house on the property and I believe some discussion of the road building they offered to go somewhere with us to look at photos of their building experience since they didn’t have any timber frame projects going on currently. Oh I should mention here that this builder had gotten a copy of our house plans from the architect, which was a good thing because we discovered on Friday that someone (to remain nameless, but it wasn’t me) left our copy of the house plans back at home.

We drove back down the property, this time taking a different route that was a little smoother than the way up and headed over to the closest place, a little cafe about 15 minutes away. There the builder set up his laptop and began showing us photos of a timber frame house they had built nearby. One of the first things my dad noticed is that he used SIPs or Structurally Insulated Panels in the construction. this house appeared to be much more basic than the one that we had seen on Friday and more similar I think to the plans for our house.

Again we asked the same questions of this builder with pretty much the same answers as Builder #1. 1. Do you have your own crew? (yes, except for certain things that require subcontractors) 2. Are you here most of the time? (yes, all the time basically) 3. How many houses do you generally build each year? (2-3, although his wife said he would prefer to do just 1) 4. How do you charge? (cost plus, which means their cost for materials plus 15%) 5. How long will it take to build a house (12-15 months is what they usually write the contracts for). Both of these builders said they do cost plus rather than a flat fee, but I’m not really sure which would be better, anyone out there reading this have any thoughts or experiences in this area? My dad also asked this builder about the Superior Walls, but he seemed to prefer traditional foundations. The plans and my dad’s preference is to use ICFs or Insulating Concrete Forms for the foundation.

Since we’ve begun this process of building this house my mom has begun thinking about the flooring and cabinets and overall color schemes for the house and builder #2’s wife said she would be able to help with that aspect, setting up appointments for her or going with her to pick out things, which was nice to hear and since they ave more knowledge of places in the area will probably be quite helpful.

After about 2 hours of talking and looking at photos we wrapped up the meeting. Of course I had to get some shopping in on this trip so I went next door to a little gift shop (and managed to find a few things) along with my mom and my dad headed back to the property to get his tools and lock the gate up across the entrance area.

Next on the agenda is a visit to the house that builder #2 showed us pictures of to see it in person.



  1. Your mom should check out this stuff called Ice Stone. We’re thinking about using it in our bathrooms.

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