• STYLE. COMMUNITY. GREAT CLOTHING.

    Bored of counting likes on social networks? At Styleforum, you’ll find rousing discussions that go beyond strings of emojis.

    Click Here to join Styleforum's thousands of style enthusiasts today!

The Architecture Thread

stro

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2014
Messages
135
Reaction score
171
damn, midsized midwestern city infill ICF is checking all of my boxes. i hope it takes a turn for the better for you, one way or the other. were you planning on using one of the foxblocks products or something else?
 

bdavro23

Distinguished Member
Joined
Mar 11, 2014
Messages
2,970
Reaction score
3,313
damn, midsized midwestern city infill ICF is checking all of my boxes. i hope it takes a turn for the better for you, one way or the other. were you planning on using one of the foxblocks products or something else?
Nudura
 

venessian

Distinguished Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2011
Messages
3,204
Reaction score
1,917
[SNIP] We intended on using ICF for our build, which is a 1800 sq ft (each floor) ranch over a full walkout basement.

We have struggled, like many people, to find contractors qualified to do the work largely because of the ICF. Additionally, the price increases over the last year have been insane. We recently got a fairly detailed building estimate this week for $750,000, which is great except for the fact that our budget is $500,000...
[SNIP]
If I am understanding correctly, your desire is to build
1800sf x 2 = 3600sf for $500,000 = $139/sf
(if we add the basement at 1/3 for cost, so 4200sf total, = $119/sf).

I do not know what midsized, midwestern city you are located in, but regardless that budget seems optimistic these days, especially considering the ICF.

The $750,000 figure ($209/sf or $179/sf w/basement at 1/3) sounds more realistic.

Have you already contacted Nudura (and others perhaps) to ask them for trained/certified ICF contractors in the vicinity?
 

brokencycle

Stylish Dinosaur
Moderator
Joined
Nov 21, 2008
Messages
21,160
Reaction score
17,137
If I am understanding correctly, your desire is to build
1800sf x 2 = 3600sf for $500,000 = $139/sf
(if we add the basement at 1/3 for cost, so 4200sf total, = $119/sf).

I do not know what midsized, midwestern city you are located in, but regardless that budget seems optimistic these days, especially considering the ICF.

The $750,000 figure ($209/sf or $179/sf w/basement at 1/3) sounds more realistic.

Have you already contacted Nudura (and others perhaps) to ask them for trained/certified ICF contractors in the vicinity?
I assumed he meant 3600 sq ft total because he described it as a ranch.
 

venessian

Distinguished Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2011
Messages
3,204
Reaction score
1,917
I assumed he meant 3600 sq ft total because he described it as a ranch.
Yes, that is what I used: 1800sf + 1800sf = 3600sf as the base total.

The basement aspect (is the project technically a "raised ranch"?) was not entirely clear which is why I separated it as added space/or not.

In any case, even at 3600sf all-inclusive, $139/sf ($500K) for ICF, in the midwest, seems optimistic, while the $209/sf ($750K) seems more reasonable for the type and context. Also, the cost/sf could be somewhat mitigated, or exacerbated, by the nature and complexity of the infill aspect, but I would guess the $750K estimate mentioned took all that into account, whereas the $500K budget may not have.
 

Journeyman

Distinguished Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2005
Messages
7,829
Reaction score
3,102
I recently read a newspaper article about a mid-century architect who designed a number of houses in Australia, Iwan Iwanoff - he was particularly prolific in Perth, over on the west coast of Australia.

The article had links to some of his houses, so I thought that I'd post links and some pictures:










 

bdavro23

Distinguished Member
Joined
Mar 11, 2014
Messages
2,970
Reaction score
3,313
Yes, that is what I used: 1800sf + 1800sf = 3600sf as the base total.

The basement aspect (is the project technically a "raised ranch"?) was not entirely clear which is why I separated it as added space/or not.

In any case, even at 3600sf all-inclusive, $139/sf ($500K) for ICF, in the midwest, seems optimistic, while the $209/sf ($750K) seems more reasonable for the type and context. Also, the cost/sf could be somewhat mitigated, or exacerbated, by the nature and complexity of the infill aspect, but I would guess the $750K estimate mentioned took all that into account, whereas the $500K budget may not have.
I dont think its a raised ranch, but maybe. The house will be built into a slight hill on the lot which will minimize excavation, etc. Also, we have the advantage of having all utilities already on site and basically ready to go, so no tap fees or other issues. Obviously every project is different and the details are unique, but we have a lot of things in our favor.

As for the price, I'm sure you're right about $750k being more reasonable, at least in the current context. With that said, there is a limit to the research and planning that I can do before I have to rely on professionals. When we started this project, everyone we spoke with thought our budget was reasonable based on the design and site. Obviously things have changed over the last year. The reality is that it might not be possible to build right now (or ever) based on market conditions, etc.

While I'm complaining, allow me to lament the cost of design and architecture. We live in an area where there was a lot of Mid-Century modern activity, including several FLW homes. In fact, a few of his design associates set up shop here and were relatively prolific, so there are a good number of interesting houses. Much of that seems to have stopped though, and the vast majority of architect built homes here are near $1 million. The median US home size (not including the basement) is 2,300 sq ft, and the median home price is $285k. I really hope that its possible to build an architect designed house for less than several multiples of that median, since living in a McMansion is my own personal hell.
 

venessian

Distinguished Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2011
Messages
3,204
Reaction score
1,917
I dont think its a raised ranch, but maybe. The house will be built into a slight hill on the lot which will minimize excavation, etc. Also, we have the advantage of having all utilities already on site and basically ready to go, so no tap fees or other issues. Obviously every project is different and the details are unique, but we have a lot of things in our favor.

As for the price, I'm sure you're right about $750k being more reasonable, at least in the current context. With that said, there is a limit to the research and planning that I can do before I have to rely on professionals. When we started this project, everyone we spoke with thought our budget was reasonable based on the design and site. Obviously things have changed over the last year. The reality is that it might not be possible to build right now (or ever) based on market conditions, etc.

While I'm complaining, allow me to lament the cost of design and architecture. We live in an area where there was a lot of Mid-Century modern activity, including several FLW homes. In fact, a few of his design associates set up shop here and were relatively prolific, so there are a good number of interesting houses. Much of that seems to have stopped though, and the vast majority of architect built homes here are near $1 million. The median US home size (not including the basement) is 2,300 sq ft, and the median home price is $285k. I really hope that its possible to build an architect designed house for less than several multiples of that median, since living in a McMansion is my own personal hell.
Sure, but it is not really that useful to hope for a national median cost/sf, especially if only from one source, when budgeting a very local and particular project. Those median guides have all sorts of lesser standards involved, and economies of scale, etc., that just don't fit one's specific local conditions very often. Just because your exact project might cost significantly less in Arkansas or Idaho for example is completely irrelevant to you, but the median confounds that.

"Raised ranch" homes are in fact often built partially into slopes, but I am not stating your project is one. You will know by looking at the section.
 

bdavro23

Distinguished Member
Joined
Mar 11, 2014
Messages
2,970
Reaction score
3,313
Sure, but it is not really that useful to hope for a national median cost/sf, especially if only from one source, when budgeting a very local and particular project. Those median guides have all sorts of lesser standards involved, and economies of scale, etc., that just don't fit one's specific local conditions very often. Just because your exact project might cost significantly less in Arkansas or Idaho for example is completely irrelevant to you, but the median confounds that.

"Raised ranch" homes are in fact often built partially into slopes, but I am not stating your project is one. You will know by looking at the section.
I dont think anything I said suggested that I expect to be able to build a house for the national median cost/ sf. We have also gotten a number of quotes over the last year that span a sizable range of prices. The point I was trying to make is that it would be very sad if the ability to build an architect designed house has a price floor that makes it out of reach for the vast majority of people. Irrespective of location, only 12% of home purchases in 2019 were over $500k and only 5% over $750k, and obviously the largest share of those will be in major cities. I also dont think that would bode well for the future of design and architects, but you'd be better placed to opine on that.
 

brokencycle

Stylish Dinosaur
Moderator
Joined
Nov 21, 2008
Messages
21,160
Reaction score
17,137
I dont think anything I said suggested that I expect to be able to build a house for the national median cost/ sf. We have also gotten a number of quotes over the last year that span a sizable range of prices. The point I was trying to make is that it would be very sad if the ability to build an architect designed house has a price floor that makes it out of reach for the vast majority of people. Irrespective of location, only 12% of home purchases in 2019 were over $500k and only 5% over $750k, and obviously the largest share of those will be in major cities. I also dont think that would bode well for the future of design and architects, but you'd be better placed to opine on that.
It is important to separate new construction from all house sales. The average new construction house is ~2700 sq ft and sold for ~$390k in 2019. Construction costs have gone up for a variety of reasons obviously.

Your house is 33% larger than average, so at the same average rate you'd be at $520k (I know you're using a basement which should have lower cost and construction costs average lower on a $/sq ft basis as square footage goes up). However, you are presumably you're using higher specs than average. You've presumably toured/been in "average" new construction houses. They are definitely not to any sort of styleforum standard. Builders use the cheapest they can get away with and rely on economies of scale to keep costs down which normally means the lowest common denominator on materials.
 

bdavro23

Distinguished Member
Joined
Mar 11, 2014
Messages
2,970
Reaction score
3,313
It is important to separate new construction from all house sales. The average new construction house is ~2700 sq ft and sold for ~$390k in 2019. Construction costs have gone up for a variety of reasons obviously.

Your house is 33% larger than average, so at the same average rate you'd be at $520k (I know you're using a basement which should have lower cost and construction costs average lower on a $/sq ft basis as square footage goes up). However, you are presumably you're using higher specs than average. You've presumably toured/been in "average" new construction houses. They are definitely not to any sort of styleforum standard. Builders use the cheapest they can get away with and rely on economies of scale to keep costs down which normally means the lowest common denominator on materials.
I didnt intend to turn this thread into my house thread, so apologies to those who dont give a shit :)

I'd be interested to see more details of the stats you posted, just out of curiosity. For example, is that 2700 sf inclusive of an unfinished/ finished basement, or just on a slab? Also, does that $390k include the land? I would also assume that many/ most of those builds are builder's specials as opposed to something designed with an architect, so a race to the bottom in terms of materials, etc.

The finished sf of our build with be around 2900-3000 sf, and our finishes are decidedly mid-range, with nothing extravagant. All of our utilities are in place and we own the lot, so those expenses are already cared for. Without going into the specifics of the build, we have tried being intentional about designing to the budget. We spoke to many architects and many builders, who all said our budget was reasonable for the scenario. It turns out that when its time to start pulling triggers, at least in this moment in time, this budget is not reasonable. Thats frustrating and I dont know that there is anything we as the clients could have done differently.

10% over a budget is expected, 20% is unfortunate, but 50% is heart stopping. And thats before a shovel has hit the ground, so the odds of hitting that number are not confidence inspiring. We are massively fortunate and that we can even be in a position to be having these conversations means everything is just fine for us. But it still sucks.
 

venessian

Distinguished Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2011
Messages
3,204
Reaction score
1,917
I dont think anything I said suggested that I expect to be able to build a house for the national median cost/ sf. We have also gotten a number of quotes over the last year that span a sizable range of prices. The point I was trying to make is that it would be very sad if the ability to build an architect designed house has a price floor that makes it out of reach for the vast majority of people. Irrespective of location, only 12% of home purchases in 2019 were over $500k and only 5% over $750k, and obviously the largest share of those will be in major cities. I also dont think that would bode well for the future of design and architects, but you'd be better placed to opine on that.
I never claimed you did so. I simply pointed out the reasonable differences between your stated desired budget of $500,000 and the only actual estimate of $750,000 that you posted.

I also addressed the ICF impact on the cost, as you had originally. You then brought up median national costs/sf, and I then only pointed out that those figures are often illusory, and certainly do not take into account local complexities, larger-than-average programs, specialized construction such as ICF, etc. In any case, I just think it doesn't do you much good, at this point with a specific site and project in hand, to worry much about essentially irrelevant national median costs/sf. Those numbers will not change your specific project costs one bit, so why stress over them?

Also, the figures brokencycle cited above, ~$145/sf in 2019, are more rational nationally, and as he also points out correctly likely do not represent the construction methodologies and finish levels (nor the local construction costs, which we do not know) your specific project comprises. More complex than standard construction, and especially even marginally higher-level finishes, can really skyrocket the cost/sf much more than most people think.

The sadness you refer to (budget versus program versus construction) is the devil of almost every project in most locations. Plus, yes, inflation and "scope creep". The math always rules: either the budget must increase to accomodate the program/scope or the program must decrease to accomodate the budget. That fact will never change unless one gets very fortunate in a specifically favorable market/construction-employment situation, just as construction begins but prior to contracts.

In the US right now, architects are generally doing OK, better than a few years ago. It is definitely a very cyclical profession and market, but the profession will survive.



Don't worry, given the paucity of replies here over the last few years, I think very few g-a-s about this thread. You're not excessively stepping on any toes.
 

brokencycle

Stylish Dinosaur
Moderator
Joined
Nov 21, 2008
Messages
21,160
Reaction score
17,137
I didnt intend to turn this thread into my house thread, so apologies to those who dont give a shit :)

I'd be interested to see more details of the stats you posted, just out of curiosity. For example, is that 2700 sf inclusive of an unfinished/ finished basement, or just on a slab? Also, does that $390k include the land? I would also assume that many/ most of those builds are builder's specials as opposed to something designed with an architect, so a race to the bottom in terms of materials, etc.

The finished sf of our build with be around 2900-3000 sf, and our finishes are decidedly mid-range, with nothing extravagant. All of our utilities are in place and we own the lot, so those expenses are already cared for. Without going into the specifics of the build, we have tried being intentional about designing to the budget. We spoke to many architects and many builders, who all said our budget was reasonable for the scenario. It turns out that when its time to start pulling triggers, at least in this moment in time, this budget is not reasonable. Thats frustrating and I dont know that there is anything we as the clients could have done differently.

10% over a budget is expected, 20% is unfortunate, but 50% is heart stopping. And thats before a shovel has hit the ground, so the odds of hitting that number are not confidence inspiring. We are massively fortunate and that we can even be in a position to be having these conversations means everything is just fine for us. But it still sucks.
The stats I posted were the first Google result, so true average, and with the vast majority of new construction being spec houses, that's going to heavily weight the numbers in that direction.

I hear you and agree about the pain.

We bought a house with a massive unfinished space, and the contractor we selected came on the architect's recommendation. The quote started out reasonable and in line with what the architect thought, but once he did a more detailed budget, it was up 50%.

I went out and got quotes for all the subs myself, and I found them all in line with what he quoted me, so it was all his management fees and the like. I just moved forward without him, and saved a fortune.
 

venessian

Distinguished Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2011
Messages
3,204
Reaction score
1,917
I didnt intend to turn this thread into my house thread, so apologies to those who dont give a shit :)

I'd be interested to see more details of the stats you posted, just out of curiosity. For example, is that 2700 sf inclusive of an unfinished/ finished basement, or just on a slab? Also, does that $390k include the land? I would also assume that many/ most of those builds are builder's specials as opposed to something designed with an architect, so a race to the bottom in terms of materials, etc.

The finished sf of our build with be around 2900-3000 sf, and our finishes are decidedly mid-range, with nothing extravagant. All of our utilities are in place and we own the lot, so those expenses are already cared for. Without going into the specifics of the build, we have tried being intentional about designing to the budget. We spoke to many architects and many builders, who all said our budget was reasonable for the scenario. It turns out that when its time to start pulling triggers, at least in this moment in time, this budget is not reasonable. Thats frustrating and I dont know that there is anything we as the clients could have done differently.

10% over a budget is expected, 20% is unfortunate, but 50% is heart stopping. And thats before a shovel has hit the ground, so the odds of hitting that number are not confidence inspiring. We are massively fortunate and that we can even be in a position to be having these conversations means everything is just fine for us. But it still sucks.
OK, so your total sf is not 1800sf + 1800sf = 3600sf (plus possibly the confusion (mine) regarding the basement, etc.)?
Do you have these numbers:
A) Basement/garage minimally-finished sf
+
B) Habitable fully-finished sf?

I agree that 50% over, plus projected increases, is completely irrational.
How many detailed recent estimates (not just back-of-the-envelope numbers) for the project have you received, from good contractors?
Isn't your architect helping you understand where the cost increases are primarily occurring, as part of his/her service?
They should be providing you that help, even if basic, prior to bids/construction, and even if you do not then hire them to also provide Construction Administration (definitely expensive as brokencycle stated above, but also definitely a pro/con decision for the client).
 
Last edited:

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by

Featured Sponsor

Threads of Apollo Leather Jackets: Which 2-tone colourway do you like the best?

  • Blue

  • Red

  • Gold

  • All of the Above

  • None of the Above


Results are only viewable after voting.

Related Threads

Forum statistics

Threads
460,004
Messages
9,981,406
Members
207,870
Latest member
modfitketo02
Top