The worst question is an unanswered question, keep in mind the web allows a lot of questions especially with a product as unique as ours. Our best replies to your questions in by phone. We sincerely do want to answer your questions, but would prefer to have the written question presented first so we can respond by voice. We do have an in bound free 1-800 number. We are happy to return all calls and at our expense. That number is 1-800-660-2859. We do ask in using this number that you possible allow us to return your call on our free out bound phone numbers no matter where you are in the United States. This is one example of why our prices are again affordable. We do encourage business as far west as the Hawaii Islands were we have personally done several. Our largest to date over 7,000 square foot as an owner-builder family project up in five weeks on the Big Island.
1) Package assembly Who puts it up?
Answer: Generally, anyone is allowed to put the package together. Our expertise with the Owner-builder market is that most building departments allow a home owner the freedom to do it there self. The next question is should you? It is all individual and is your own choice. This system is the closest to “stick building” and you would think traditional stick builders would be agreeable to framing our packages. For some unknown reason, there is a resistance to framing panels.
In most situations we have been able to supply those who will professional assemble our packages.
2) Does the price include the freight or delivery fee?
Answer: Freight is an additional fee and varies based on the actual mileage from our manufacturing facility to your building location.
3) Can your system build from my custom plans?
Answer: Yes! This is the most frequently asked question. As a rule, our Danville office does very few standard plans. It is not uncommon for 90% of our delivered business to be custom plans. Pricing will be explained later.
5) Do you build custom packages? This is the number two question!
Answer: YES! From your plans or ours, one story to thus far our tallest of four floors of house and largest residence of over 7,000 square foot we can build too. The largest single building is a 14 unit apartment building of over 22,000 square foot
6) How is pricing generated for my building?
Answer: With most builders price is based on “location pricing”, what they are saying is the land size, views, affluence’s of neighborhood like a gated community, and finally your ability to pay. Lots of traditional builder market there price on LOCATION, we do NOT.
Pricing is directly generated by the complexity of the plan. A four corner building with two truss designs is the lowest price building to build. More corners and truss designs can increase the price from the lowest -8% 4-corners & 2-trusses to +8% with 25 corners & 21 different truss. Thus a complex design could be +16% higher just with these two factors. Here are the typical items that increase price: wall thickness 2×6 instead of 2×4; tall walls 8 foot instead of 24 foot tall; up-graded windows; gable instead of hip roof; engineering features; large garages instated of no garage and up graded exterior doors,
7) Who is responsible for the delivery?
Answer: We have a local trucking company that handles the responsibility of delivery and usually the unloading and placement of the package on your property as reasonable as possible. Note that our drivers are generally experienced with our system. The drivers we supply will generally run the local forklift, if not, you will need to find a driver.
8: What if we want to modify one of your standard plans or any plan?
Answer: There is almost nothing you cannot change on a standard plan or any plan you want us to design and then build. Let me point out that the more changes that you make, the odds are that it will no longer be a standard, but be called your custom plan. The moment a customer hears the words “CUSTOM” the dollar sign lights up. Generally, the worst that could happen is a moderate increase due to paper work, redesigning trusses and shopping the package.
If your custom plan has similar square footage, same basic features of a standard plan; like same number and size of windows, same number of lineal foot of both interior and exterior walls, same wall features like siding type, same roof system, same number of floors, same size garage, same porch areas and features combined with the same number of corners and truss designs, the price could be about 10% more. Not bad when you know you are getting what you want! We like to call our system the Burger King of building “having it your way”. Depending on the type of hamburger you like or dislike, this could be a wrong comparison.
9) What about using plans found on the internet, can you price and build with them?
Answer: Internet plans can be a good starting point if the layout is close to what you like. One of the greatest issues is that most them are from the east coast areas of the United States, thus the building requirements are VERY different from California. When building in California, you build per the requirements of California. Californian builds per the CBC (California Building Code) which requires some of the most stringent building code and design features. California is years ahead of most U.S. states in building requirements. Most other parts of the U.S. are governed by the UBC (Uniform Building Code).
Now back to internet plans, as a real of thumb there is a 75% likely hood that the best thing to do is to take the basic layout and start all over. It is not uncommon to see notes that indicate the designer has the capability of having plans changed to California requirements. It has been our experience that the delay and unknown local requirements will cost more than just starting over.
When in doubt, let us look over what you have and allow us to help.
10) Do you have recommend subcontractors that supply for services that you do not provide?
Answer: Yes, for the typical segments of the building project that some local contractors are at odds with. As a rule anyone can build there own home, this is what we call OB owner builder projects. Question: Should everyone build their own home? NO! The two areas of subcontractors we have had the most requests for are foundation and framing contractors. Much to our surprise, there are very few of you who ask for sub contractors for all the other services to completely turn key the building. Those who choose to build using our system are VERY independent and want to do as much as they can themselves. We believe that this is mainly due to price savings and wanting to do it the way they want.
11) Can you build a post and beam building?
Answer: First, let’s establish what “post & beam” means. It is generally a stick built structure out of large dimensional lumber. The walls are sometimes panels, but usually the buyer has a desire for the walls to be a lot of exposed wood paneling, instead of the more traditional sheet rock covered walls. Next, the roof system is not a truss system. They are generally large beams held up by exposed grade lumber. The ceiling above the beams can be an exposed wood planking instead of sheet rock. There is usually an issue with where and how to place the insulation behind the all exposed wood ceiling. With today’s required high values of insulation usually over R-30 forces the use of a double rafter layer system. The other alternative to using the normal fiberglass insulation is ridge foam insulation. Combined with the large dimensional wood rafters ceiling plus the T&G wood ceiling and finally the rigid foam insulation you now have a beautiful looking ceiling but at a very high price. The other draw back is that this type of construction is very labor intense and much more difficult for the owner builder. In most cases this design will force the buyer to increased cost due to having to have to pay a local contractor to build the shell.
So can we design & build a post and beam? No, but if affordability and easy of construction is important look at the Auburn Chalet, this is as close as you can get to a post and beam using our system. Make sure to read further about custom plans & designs because we do not show many standards deigns that compliment post and beam.
12) Can you build with rafters?
Answer: Yes, again the Auburn Chalet is a good example of using rafters in the main high vaulted ceiling living area. We, as a manufacture of lumber components, prefer to use trusses. Please make sure to read about trusses, next.
13) Does your system favor trusses over rafters?
Answer: Yes, again, as a manufacture of package buildings, it is our desire to provide the easiest, most efficient and affordable building package. This is all obtained by fabricating and delivery engineered trusses. There are many types of trusses that can be created once we see the design that you or your designer has created. The distinct advantage to trusses is that we can build utilizing the use of smaller lumber like 2×4’s. In most cases with rafters and the required R-30 insulation, the rafter will need to be 2×10’s or greater thus more expense in lumber. It is highly desirable to have air flow in the attic or truss rafter areas. The greatest advantage again of trusses is that is generally a considerable void between the bottom cord of the truss, to place mechanical features like plumbing wiring & large HVAC vents. With rafters there is usually NO void for air circulation. There is less drilling and with all the voids in the way. Trusses are designed and manufactured to allow for easy and affordable labor time in installing these mechanical needs. When you observe all the advantages, it is hard to pass up designing them into the design.
14) Why we do not supply the first floor, floor system?
Answer: We are talking about the first floor only. We gladly supply all floors above the first floor, except decks. The reason is that we know that there is a long enough delay between the installing of the foundation and the installing of the floor system and any lumber shipped would be exposed to the weather. Thus when building on a raised floor we have come to appreciated that we should allow the purchasing of this lumber or truss joist locally. For sure if we felt it would be practical we would gladly make it part of the package. The other issue is that the separate shipment from our central California facility is not a reasonable freight invoice to be just shipping a floor system separately the typical additional freight of over $900.00 would more than offset the mass discount of lumber savings from our system.
15) Do you supply the upper floor systems?
Answer: Yes, and generally we use the Roseburg truss joist system. We have tried TJI and have been extremely impressed with their quality and timely supply for deliveries. One of the advantages of TJI over dimensional lumber is LONG STRAIGHT lengths. TJI are much lighter weight to move around when installing long in length, compared to dimensional lumber. TJI per-located holes for mechanical knock outs with little effort to knockout.
There are many different suppliers, but Roseburg has met our strong requirements of quality and delivery needs for our customer.
16) Why do you not supply open web i.e. flat floor trusses?
Answer: We actually heard good things about this type of floor system and tried it with many projects in less than three years had to go back to the closed joist TJI system. We found that disadvantages out weighed the advantages. If you still feel that you want this type of floor system, ask for it to be supplied by you the buyer locally, we will credit the joist system at the beginning. If at a later time you wish it added back into our package price no problem as long as you alert us early enough. Keep in mind this added material can sometimes affect the number of trucks to delivery the whole package.
17) Is there a limit to the roof loads you can build to, like heavy snow loads?
Answer: No, usually there is no problem. Generally specking, there are very few combined roofing materials, plus snow loads combined, which we can, not design. Keep in mind the more complex the design and load, the more it will cost to build.
18) What roof weight are your systems designed to accommodate?
Answer: Our standard design roof load is a dead load of ____ pounds and a live load of ____pounds.
19) OPEN SPACE for question
20) What various roof slopes you can work with?
Answer: As a rule of thumb, our standards designs are between 4/12 and 6/12. On mountain chalets they are a 12/12 pitch. Keep in mind when designing with vaulted ceilings and building with trusses that whatever the outside pitch is the inside is half. Thus on a 24 foot span room working with a 4/12 pitch, the outside is four foot tall and the inside, being half is 2 ft. Thus with conventional 8 foot interior walls, the middle of the vaulted ceiling will be 10 foot tall. On a 24 foot span room, working with a 6/12, pitch the outside is six foot tall and the inside, being half, is 3 ft. With a conventional 8 foot interior wall, the middle of the vaulted ceiling will be 11 foot tall.
21) Do you supply any finishing materials?
Answer: No, we do not supply domestically (in the United States) any finishing materials. Years ago we sampled the values and savings passed on to you the customer and found the negatives far exceeded the positives of the customer controlling and buying locally. If you are building in a rural area, and live in an urban area the selection and cost out way the inconvenience of the transportation. We encourage you to shop at a Big Box store and have the materials shipped to your site. The other vast shopping selection is the internet. Just type in the name brand you want and there it is and at competitive pricing.
22) Why do you not supply finishing material?
Answer: See the answer above!
23) Do you encourage the homeowner to help erect the packages?
Answer: By all means. Being the “leader in the owner builder” industry we encourage you to go right ahead and totally build and finish your dream home. So, the next serious concern is, should everyone build and finish their own home and the responsible answer is NO! The more we say no, the more you will prove you can do it.
24) What kind of building systems does the federal government define your buildings?
Answer: We are classified as an “open wall panelized” system. There are no mechanical or insulation in the walls. There is sometimes a finished siding, what the lumber industry refers to as T1-11, applied to the outside of the open wall. If the walls are to be sided with any other materials, such as lap siding or stucco, these materials are locally applied. As always if a feature we offer is not the material you are looking for, you are welcomed to buy it locally.
25) What advantages of the open panel panelized building system over others?
Answer: The most distinct advantage is the easy of framing and speed. The other comment we hear over and over is that the buyer wants to perform the mechanical tasks to save money and not want insulation stuffed in the walls to have to work around when installing wiring or plumbing. One of our more recent competitors in the panel industry is the SIP wall systems. SIP’s are known as a closed wall system. Keep in mind that professionally this type of system has some draw backs. The most controversial is the health issues of closed walls with NO air exchange. The strongest issue is the extremely high insulation values. Sounds interesting, but there is only an effective value of not usually over R-22 that has an insulation investment return. When building with our system, you can obtain this value when building with 2×6 walls with conventional fiber glass insulation.
26) What can you building with a site that is not level using CPH standard plans or our custom plans, can we work with one of your standard CPH plans or our custom plans?
Answer: We can design and build on almost any hillside. It is fairly unlikely that you will use one of the standard plans, on a hillside lot. As a rule, if you find a standard CPH plan that looks like suites your needs, it can be modified sometime to fit your hillside design. The one feature that usually hinders this idea is the change the location of the attached garage.
When this happens the next step is just tell us what you like about an existing plan you have seen that you like. We do need you to supply the hillside contour mapping, known as topography map. We then implement the design to the contours of your topography map, now we are ready to design your dream home.
27) As an owner-builder, am I allowed to put up the frame and do any or all the finishing work?
Answer: By all means, YES, you are allowed to do any or all the work that you feel capable of doing. You do have to get the work past the building inspector’s eyes and final inspection. In all the years we have been doing this, there are many customers who have had the self satisfaction of a job well done ALL by themselves.
This is an awesome task and you may want to think twice before you take on more than you are capable of doing. This type of task and work is called “SWEAT EQUITY”. On the other side is the “MANAGEMENT EQUITY”. Over many years we have had the largest part of our buyers build this way. This allows a single person or better yet a dual management team, the ability to share in the management. In the traditional arrangement, the man and woman team has worked well. In these change life styles we have had many combinations of relationships successfully accomplish the same task with the same sense of personal accomplishment.
28) Loans: Do you have lenders who work with your system?
Answer: Yes, we have lenders who work quite well with either the “sweat equity” or the “management equity”. We do have local lenders who will provide the owner builder construction loans. Normally it is good to have an above average credit scores. The main qualifier is that you combine the acquisition cost of the land, plus the total projected cost to build times the factor of 20% & sometimes more depending on the lender. This is the amount of equity the bank is looking for to qualify you for your loan. If the land cost is $400,000 and the 2,000 square foot package you are going to order builds for $100.00 per a square foot this equals $200,000 for a total of $600.000. The bank is looking for 20% of the total $600,000 or $120,000 of your money in the overall building project they will normally be happy to lend you the other 80% of $480,000 at the prevailing construction loan interest rate. Also they would like to hear that the project is owner occupied. As always, there are many variables so PLEASE DO NOT DO YOUR OWN QUALIFYING. Let us help you find the way to your needs.
29) Do you have lenders for the OB owner-builder construction loans?
Answer: YES! Please review the explanation above. This basic philosophy works in both cases. The harder loan to obtain is a speculation loan, not owner occupied. There are usually other less traditional lenders are able to help with these type loans.
30) Would you recommend an owner-builder do their own foundation?
Answer: No! we have had very few customers who are non- construction types who have installed their own foundation. This is a trade I would not encourage an owner builder to get involved with to save money and time. We have had several foundation sub contractors over the years who have seen first hand the speed and advantages of our system. They have even used CPH to build their additions, garages and homes too.
31) What is the requirement to sign a contract and the minimum deposit amount?
Answer: There are several papers that make up the contract and we would be more than happy to fax or email them for your reading. We are very capable of having the whole paperwork process be done electronically. We now have complete email and internet capability of signing contract electronically. If you are on a deadline, like the end of a month and prices are rumored to go up, it is advisable to make sure you overnight FedEx or any service you feel will have the package to PMHI the day before the end of the month. If using an overnight service, you will need to use the factory’s street address Note this address will be supplied when the time is right.
The minimum deposit is 15%, payable to the factory. There are four other deposit options that allows the price guarantee to be held from 60 days, with 15% to 180 days with only 100% deposit. That’s SIX MONTHS, unheard of in the lumber industry. The price holding guarantee is also available on the web showing several examples of specific dates.
32) What does the package include? See page _____ of the web.
Answer: There is a very detailed list of these items on the web. These pages are always available by fax or email.
33) How long have you been in business? See page _____ of the web.
Answer: This is likewise explained in depth in the history portion of the web. In short, CPH has been in the industry over 35 years and PMHI 42 years as of 2011. You will find only a handful of businesses that have been around this long in the United States. In California we are the only one’s left, as of 2011.
34) What is the typical cost of building a home? See page _____ of the web.
Answer: There are five examples that you will find on the web. These pages are always available by fax or email.
35) What is the typical cost of building a garage? See page _____ of the web.
Answer: You will find on the web five examples that. These pages are always available by fax or email.
36) What is the typical cost of building an addition? See page _____ of the web.
Answer: You will find on the web five examples that. These pages are always available by fax or email.
37) What is the typical cost of building a “granny unit”? See page _____ of the web.
Answer: You will find on the web five examples that. These pages are always available by fax or email.
38) How is the sales tax calculated and who pays?
Answer: Sales tax is based on the state of California’s minimum sales tax which is currently 7.25%. If you are building in the Sacramento County area, the sales tax is 7.75%. If the delivery requires using the PMHI 20 foot bobtail for any portion of the delivery, the tax rate is based on your delivering location tax rate.
39) What is the typical cost of building permits and who takes care of this?
Answer: All building permit fees are buyer’s responsibilities. These fees are impossible to project. On a moderate size home this could easily over $2,000.00 in the California market. Many municipalities have what is called school taxes. On a simple two car garage, you should expect to pay under $500.00 and will not have any school tax fees. As for additions, most building departments are more lenient on the tax if the addition is less than 500 square foot. As a rule, we will not build an addition package less than 500 square feet. There are exceptions on some additions we will accept 499 square foot depending on the local building department fee on addition over the 500 minimum.
40) What is the typical time to frame up a package home as an owner- builder?
Answer: The time it takes to erect on package home is directly related to the abilities of the crew putting the package together. We have had some owner builders who have been as timely as professional general contractors. There is no special or technical knowledge needed to assemble our system. The key item is to keep working. The temptation with an owner builder is to assemble the package in one’s spare time. This approach tends to drag things out. It is hard to tell you what and when to do the work other than it is better to move along at a steady pace. In citing a couple examples, we have traditionally heard of a two car garage with four workers up in a weekend. Then, there is the GREAT story of a garage of over 1,700 square feet, that 12 fellow firefighters help a another fire fighter to assemble all the walls in one hour and forty five minutes and on the same day had all the trusses up by 4pm.
Additions are a little more involved due to the tying together, of the new from CPH to the original older built building.
There were two very large custom homes both over 7,000 square foot. One a rambling rancher in Hawaii up in five weeks. The was a an owner builder of a two story in the East Bay hillside up in four weeks. “Up” means the exterior wall, note usually all exterior walls come completely sheeted with windows flashed in the wall, interior walls header for door openings and roof trusses, plus roof sheeting applied over trusses.
There was a very large 14 unit apartment building of three floors, with over 22,000 square foot in size, was a weather tight shell in under fifty-five days. Bear in mind that this last example was with one of our regular buyers who knows what to expect from us.
41) What is the typical time to frame up a package garage as an owner- builder?
Answer: We have traditionally heard of a two car garage, with four workers, go up in a weekend. Then, there is the GREAT story of a garage (of over 1,700 square feet) that 12 fellow firefighters help another fire fighter assemble all the walls in one hour and forty five minutes and on the same day had all the trusses up by 4pm.
42) What is the typical time to frame up a package addition as an owner- builder?
Answer: Additions are more involved due to the tying together the new section to original older built building. We have seen a 500 square feet and sometimes 2,000 square feet up in less than two days.
43) Do you provide a custom drafting service?
Answer: Yes, the fees are dramatized on the web under the drafting heading. We are more than happy to do drafting on new homes, cabins, chalets, barns and garages without any requirements for a job site visit, unless you feel there is a need for a visit. There is a travel time fee and a minimum two hour visit time provided if requested.
When dealing with an addition, there is considerable more time devoted to the existing building as there is the new addition. This statement is based on the assumption that the addition is 25 to 50% of what the original house was. Many times we have completely redesigned a new, and usually larger addition, complete remodel floor plan. It is always good to check directly with your local building department at what they will and will not allow you to do. It is not uncommon for us to provide drawings for over thirty to fifty different building departments in a busy year. Because of this, it is almost impossible to have a 100% professional handle on the individual county and city regulations. We leave it to for you to read up on the “in’s and out’s” of what they are going to require and us the drafting service. We are willing to read over their requirements.
In over thirty three years of providing plans, it is better that the customer to hear the requirements first. Then, it gives us an opportunity to read between the lines and share with you other successful approaches as to how to get the plans for the new project the way you want to have the project flow.
44) What is the typical amount of time it takes for custom plans on a house?
Answer: The preliminary house plans generally will take 2 to 4 weeks drawn by computer. Next comes the final sign off set about one more week. After all have been approved, the next step of final plans takes another 2 to 3 weeks. After all plans have been drawn, they are sent to the engineer that takes another 2 to 3 weeks. All totaled a minimum of one and half to three months is needed. Please keep in mind all these dates vary depending on holidays, how long you take to sign off and move to the next step.
45) What is the typical amount of time it takes for custom plans on a garage?
Answer: On the preliminary plans garage plans generally take 1 week to be drawn by the computer. Next is the final sign off set a couple days later. After all have been approved, the next step of final plans takes another 2 weeks. After all plans have been, drawn they are sent to the engineer and that takes another 2 weeks. All totaled, a minimum of one to two months is needed. Please keep in mind all these date vary depending on holidays, how long you take to sign off and move to the next step.
46) What is the typical amount of time it takes for custom plans on an addition?
Answer: There is an extra step when providing plans for an addition called a site visit. This includes measuring the existing building. This step is very important and fairly time consuming.
The preliminary plans Addition generally will take 1 to 2 week to be drawn by computer. Next, is the final sign off set of one more week. After all have been approved, the next step of final plans takes another 2 weeks. After all plans have been drawn, they are to the engineer and that takes another 2 weeks. All totaled a minimum of one and half to two months is needed. Please keep in mind all these dates vary depending on holidays, how long you take to sign off and move to the next step.
47) Is your system classified as a manufactured home?
Answer: No! We are quite different. We are not limited to style, size, height, width, weight, feature type of roof, flooring, appliances, paint, carpeting just to name a few differences. We let you get involved you can have it your way. Along with having it your way you can do as much or as little of the work you want to do your self and same more money. About the only thing a manufactured home has a over us is time.
The most important economic issues are how the public and banks look at this type of construction process. It is not uncommon to hear banks not wanting to loan at full value. For an unbiased testimonial, ask a listing real estate agent if they would rather sell a manufactured home or a “stick built or panelized home”? From a real estate appraises point of view the manufactured unit will appraise at a lower value when comparing like size, location and quality of our system.
48) Do you help in finding land to build the package?
Answer: We have found that realtors are the best when purchasing land. Generally, if you are buying land in the same area you already live, you will want to find a local real estate agent or broker who can assist with both ends of both transactions. This is a great way to plant the seed that the real estate agent could help in not only finding local land along with getting your present home sales transaction. What a great opportunity to ask if they help with both transactions what kind of commission savings are available.
49) What are the advantages to building using the open wall panelized building system?
Answer: System is the key word. After over 40 years, we have proved we have a system that works. The consumer benefits include having the shell framed in half the time as a stick built custom home. We are the closest you will come to building a custom “stick built home.
50) Is there a question we have not provided an answer?
Answer: Please present the question and we will personally answer this new concern. As new questions are asked, we will share with others the ones we feel are helpful in understanding our great product.
This is a new addition to our web site and, we hope that the in-depth wordy answers are informative when dealing with……… Frequently asked questions