06:40AM | 02/25/05
Member Since: 02/24/05
3 lifetime posts
I am a licensed contractor and specialize in commercial and residential steel construction. I've been in business for 30 years and have learned quite abit concerning steel design and construction. The first thing that is very important to know as a consumer is that there are alot of Sales Companies out there, but they are only brokerage firms or franchised dealers for the manufacturer. Try finding the manufacturer of the product you are interested in. Also, you need to know that in steel construction you will probably be dealing with commercial sub-contractors rather than residential, and yes, steel requires different tooling and treatment than wood. You also need to know that it is very important to find a good energy contractor. Steel, being an excellent conductor, will conduct heat and cool through the walls. Generally this is solved by installing a wrap type insulation product to break the conductivity, but if you don't know this and just buy a kit, you will probably not be happy with the finished product. Be sure that your contractor knows how to build the product. Ask to see some previous construction projects. Also look at the type of construction your contractor is capable of. For example, if he builds box type buildings and has never built a complex plan, be careful. I think the big picture is that steel homes are new to the industry, and because they are new there are very few builders that are experienced in their construction.


01:46PM | 03/01/05
Member Since: 09/08/04
2 lifetime posts
PS - Wish we could have talked to you before we built the home. As I mentioned before, we always constructed standard wood frame homes in the past. We did, however, talk to other contractors of metal buildings and have some advise to follow. In fact, I am good friends with the owner of a commercial construction company who has done many commerical metal buildings. We did use the recommended insulation wrap. It is wonderful stuff, but we still have problems.

I believe there is a great future for metal homes, but many improvements need to be made before I would ever go that route again. For us and the several other people in our area who have done metal recently, it definitely ended up being more problmatic, labor intensive, and expensive than standard wood construction.


06:54AM | 03/04/05
Member Since: 02/24/05
3 lifetime posts
Pricing -

We all have to remember that the price of steel products took a 35% increase about 5 to 6 months ago. When that occured the cost of steel home versus wood home has put steel at a premium. But we also know that most of our wood products are being imported from Canada. Our renewable resources won't be ready for cutting for another 5 to 10 years. So the price of wood product could increase as it has been doing so steadily for the last year. There are some great benefits for steel construction but you have to weigh the benefits versus cost. Frankly, I don't see steel products going down in price. A little more lobbying on the part of the steel industry would probably lead to lower insurance costs and easier financing, but that is going to take some time. After all, steel is less likely to burn and due to required construction within a steel home, there are less chances to incur weather damage, rot, and structural problems. Being a Californian, we already know that bolt connections are far stronger than nail connections, especially in earthqualkes and high winds. Even though your experience has been pretty tough with steel homes, I feel that you have a far superior product than standard wood construction.


02:49PM | 03/13/05
Member Since: 02/25/05
9 lifetime posts
Hi, Do you have any experience with Heritage Steel Homes? How quick to build, quality,cost, etc? What about their A-frames? I'd really like to go with this comapny, but can't get any strong feedback from builders or owners. Thanks.


05:44PM | 06/30/05
Member Since: 06/29/05
3 lifetime posts

Thank you for your insightful posts.

I spent the last year running around in circles with all the steel home builders. The dance is always the same--We do custom---until you send them your plans. Then the attempt to put my square peg into their round hole. Anyway is it possible in today's steel world to get a simple red iron post and beam fabrication cut list with a engineer stamp for a reasonable cost? Ten foot posts with a perimeter beams all around and a hip roof sitting on top of a rectangle. this is not complicated stuff or so I thought. Why steel with these headaches? I'm building in the tropics--hurricanes, earthquakes, termites and a buddy and I are doing the building. There are no cranes where I'll be. I need to be able to put up each piece one at a time. They way they used to build!

Any info, referrals, engineers, folks that moonlight, directions or whatever would be incredibly helpful. I'm also in California trying to pack a container!


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