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KHB-Zine, Issue #013: Owner Builder Capability
January 04, 2018
Welcome to the January 2018 edition of KHB Ezine.
Early PS: if you are reading this on a phone, turn it sideways to enable landscape view, it's easier to read.
Welcome to the new year fellow Owner Builders. A great question from one of my site readers: "Do I have the capability to Owner Build a kit home?" Basically, if you can project manage, it is completely do-able. For most kits, there is very little material estimating required as all is supplied. Let's break it down a bit.
Compiling a Development Application: This is similar to a 6-8 week university assignment. There are many proformas, diagrams, grahics, plans and designs to create, procure, provide and compile. It is in itself a building course, as it teaches you what the guidelines are, what they mean, and how you can meet them. It all seems like a big pile of red tape to start with, but by the time you have finished the build, it all becomes clear. It takes time, determination and resourcefulness, and a practical and pragmatic frame of mind. For more information go to
Owner builder training: These courses are online and have two components. The first is a White Card for ensuring you are Health and Safety compliant in the workplace, and the second is a project management, communication, and site safety certificate. For more information go to my Distance Ed info page.
Clearing: This requires an earth-moving outfit: at the most an excavator or bulldozer, at the least a drott or bobcat. Easy to arrange, just give them the plan. For more info go to my Land Clearing page.
Slab: Send the engineers plan to three slab builders, you will be surprised at the variations in the quote. Their slab build includes the 'setting out' of the foundations and they will do the complete job without any input from you if you
prefer. Consider garage slabs as well while they are on the site. For more information go to my Slab Construction Pictorial page.
Plumbing: Plumbing is professional trade-work so don't concern yourself with these tasks. Just have a good plan for what you need when seeking a quote eg septic, water tanks, hot water, bathroom fittings etc.
Frames: This is the fun part and quite straight forward for a practical OB. All frames are numbered, are erected in sequence, and connected easily. I have constructed two complete kit home frames: one wood and one steel, both by myself, but a second person is useful. There is some ladder work and working at height to get the roof frames set, but all can be completed without professional help. For more info go to my steel framing
Roofing: My first kit home had a simple gable roof style that was challenging but do-able. I had done a few shed roofs and felt I understood all the roofing components. A complex roof, for example, with a couple of hips and valleys, will require a professional roofer. For more info go to my DIY Roofing page.
Electrical: Once again, a professional trade-worker job. Draw up a complete lighting, fan, AC and power-point plan for the quote.
Windows: They come with pre-installed 'reveals' which are surrounding wood panels that make them relatively easy to seat. They also have installed sashes/flashings on the outside edges and base. Prefab kit frames have pre-made window enclosures ready for window installation. Generally, a practical OB can accomplish this task. For more info go to my house windows page.
Cladding: Owner builder input here varies depending on the type of cladding chosen. I used profiled fibre cement on my first Kit and blueboard on my second. This type of cladding material is supplied with the kit so both were achievable for me, but if you choose bricks or blocks, brickys are essential. For info on cladding go to my Blueboard page.
Doors: Modern external doors come 'pre-hung' in built frames ready to throw into the outer frames: a relatively easy task. The internal doors are also pre-hung, but disassembled and require a fair degree of work to get them installed. There are also a lot of them: in my steel frame house I had 12 doors (including cupboard doors). More about door installation here.
Wall linings: Get a professional, end of story. All linings, and fixing materials come with the house kit.
Architraves and Skirtings: some reasonable carpentry skills are required to fit archs and skirts. Good cross cut speed saws and precise measurements are mandatory. A carpenter will fit them out in a couple of days. All archs and skirts come with the house kit.
Flooring and tiling: A completely personal choice as it will depend on what flooring you choose and whether you have done any flooring or tiling and have the confidence to do the job. No flooring or tiles come with the kit.
Well, those are the large tasks that you may have concerns with and as you can see, you only do what you are capable of doing, and farm out the rest.
Need a short ebook on owner building? Your big bonus, just for being a subscriber, is personal access to my Free Ebook:
Kit home groundwork: 5 Crucial Steps.
Download your free PDF version HERE and use your personal password khb7321 (lower case letters-expires in 7 days). If you miss out just contact me.
Are you looking for a fantastic full experience description of completing a steel framed kit home, from beginning to end? Steel Yourself is an ebook with excellent graphics, diagrams, submissions and material lists to assist an owner builder to navigate the journey of the owner build.
I will prove to you that any owner builder can plan, submit, build and finish a steel building kithome project.
Remember, if you have any questions, have an article or submission, or would like to comment on a kit home, provider or design, please contact me, I'm happy to publish your submissions, reviews and experiences about kit home building and the projects surrounding them.
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