Friday, March 30, 2012

Building on a Sloped Site

One of the most common questions asked is "Can I put one of your panelized homes on a sloped site?"

First, I must clarify that each of our home packages is designed and built custom to you and your site's needs.  For a sloped site we can either help you design a completely custom design or we can modify one of our standard pre-engineered packaged homes.

Custom Pre-cut home kit

The custom home in West Sonoma County was designed with the help of North Coast Packaged Homes and was built to take advantage of the down sloped site and the incredible views to the south.  The large covered porch was designed to protect the great room from direct summer sun.

Pacific Modern Homes modified Napa
Pacific Modern Homes modified Napa

This Napa model was also built on a steep down slope lot.  The driveway gently sloped down to the garage so that the garage and the front of the house appear at grade.  The rear of the house is elevated allowing for a large storage area under one portion of the house and a raised deck facing the view.

Pacific Modern Homes modified New Haven

This modified New Haven was built on an up slope site.  The slope was adjusted with the use of retaining walls incorporated into the landscape and by slightly dropping the garage.  Usually correctly orienting the home and the driveway is the first step allowing easy access for automobiles.

Pacific Modern Homes modified Westlake

A more extreme example of a steep up slope lot was in Lake County.  In this modification the hillside was so steep we designed the garage to go underneath the house and made the garage in the plan into a large family/game room.

As you can see by these examples we can design the foundation to fit your site and we can always adapt the pre-cut home kits to fit on that foundation.
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Monday, March 26, 2012

Closed in and the Finishing Begins

Within two weeks all of the sheathing is complete and the rough plumbing is started.

Exterior Sheathing is applied to framing package

Two more weeks and the roofing is complete and the house wrap applied.

The house wrap is applied over the assembled wall panels

And a month later the exterior siding is applied and the plumbing and electrical are complete.

The lap siding is applied completing the framing kit

Three and a half months after the delivery the house is complete and the furniture moved in.

The pre-engineered home package is complete
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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Assembly of the Framing Package

The owner of this modified Lakeport was a very hands on client.  A canine police officer, he was not only very involved in the design but worked on the project from beginning to end.  We completed the delivery of his package at 11 am on Friday morning.  He had family and friends to help him with the assembly of the package. One of his friends was a skilled framer which is recommended with the complexity of a hip roof.

Assembly of the home framing package
I had the opportunity to go back on Sunday afternoon and I have to admit.............even I was amazed at how quickly the package was going together.

Interior Framed Walls

Pre-cut engineered roof trusses going on top of wall panels

roof trusses on the end of a hipped roof

48 hours after the delivery of the packaged home
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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Beginning the Foundation for your Framing Package

Once all of the drawings are prepared it is time to submit the drawings to your local building department.  Most clients choose to submit the drawings themselves.  The length of time each building department takes to review the plans varies.  Many departments are impacted and are not operating with a full staff.  If any redlines or corrections come back PMHI will correct the drawings they prepared at no charge to the client.

While the plans are in plan check it is a good time to get bids from subcontractors and the begin preparing the site for construction.

The first step is the foundation.  The framing packages can be placed on either a raised foundation or a slab.

Home packages can be placed on a raised foundation or a slab

Next the subfloor is framed, the rough plumbing is completed and it is insulated.

the subfloor is built before the arrival of the framing kit

Plumbing, insulation and the subfloor are completed and the home kit arrives

Once the subfloor is complete it is time for the package to arrive.  

This is the ideal situation but to be honest this only happens in a small majority of cases.  Unless the site is very tight storing the package on site for a few days or weeks is not a problem and we will provide you with proper storage instructions.  And the most common request we hear is "I just need to delay the delivery for a few days."  This is almost never possible as the trucks and trailers are continuously booked and a slight delay can turn into 6 weeks easily.  We will work very closely with you to insure that your delivery is scheduled correctly and goes smoothly.
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Friday, March 2, 2012

Building Department Requirements

The next major step in building your dream home with one of our panelized packages is obtaining the building permit.  Obtaining this permit is exactly the same as for any other custom built home.  There are no special requirements for submission to your local building department as our pre-cut homes are the same as a stick built home.

From the drafting department you will receive fully engineered plans wet stamped and ready to submit to your building department.  These plans will be drawn to include any local codes required including wind and seismic zones, snow loads or wildland fire codes.  You will receive:

  • Complete design drawings including a basic electrical plan.
  • Cover sheet
  • Wet stamped structural drawings and details.
  • Wet stamped structural calculations package.
  • Wet stamped truss plan and truss calculations.
The base price of the standard pre-engineered plans will cover most of the costs for these drawings.  Slight drafting and engineering charges may be incurred for modifying the plans including for a sloped site or some local code changes such as for the wildland fire code changes.
Other requirements include:
  • Site Plan - depending on the site complexity and the requirements of the local building department this can be drawn by the client, our drafting department or in some cases it will involve a surveyor for a topographical map and a civil engineer.
  • Title 24/Build it Green - we have a company that works closely with PMHI or you may use a company of your choice but many of the requirements now need to be included on the site plan and/or building plans.  The basic cost for these designs start at
  • Sprinkler Plan - this is now a state wide requirement and new plumbing companies in your area are meeting the requirements to provide this plan daily.
Other requirements that may be required by your local building department:
  • Septic Design and Environmental Health Clearance - this obviously depends on the property.  This may require a soils report and design by a Civil Engineer.
  • Geologist Report - this soils report is done by a licensed geologist and this report is used by the structural engineer to design the foundation.  Some jurisdictions always require a geologist's report, some never and in some cases it depends on each individual site and requires a site visit by the local building inspector to determine if it is required or not.
  • Civil Engineer drawings such as a grading plan and/or drainage plan.
  • Mechanical Plan
  • Build It Green Checklist
  • Landscape Plan
  • Planning Department and/or Architectural Review
The good news on this last list is that many building departments do not require any of these documents and others only if it is a difficult sloped site.  It is important though that the individual requirements be determined early in the process.  For example, if the drawings are submitted and then a geologist's report is required this can trigger the re-design of the foundation and additional engineering fees.

Please contact us and we will be happy to help you determine what the requirements are for your local building department.

And remember that in addition to our standard pre-engineered plans - we can help you with construction documents for your own custom plan.

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