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How much will my Green Dream Home cost?  

House Plans   Planning & Design   Site Survey & Contract Services   Foundations & Drainage   Scaffold &Frame Erection   Roofing    Windows & Doors   Training   Project Management  
 What's the Cost?

The answers to these questions are vitally important but also difficult to answer in anything but very broad and generalized numbers. The only accurate manner in which to tell you how much a Green Dream home will cost is to complete the design process, generate construction drawings and obtain bids for all aspects of the construction process.

Some Guides for Costs Are:
• A Green Dream home can cost anything between the same as an old fashioned ‘wet trades’, bricks and mortar building and up to 25%-30% more than a high-quality conventionally built, custom designed home of the same size and volume, using the same finishing materials. This is for the house only and does not include land and those related costs.

• Owner-builders who contribute a significant amount of expertise and sweat equity (labour) can save up to 30% over the fully contracted cost. However, a more realistic savings for an owner-builder will be between 10% and 20% savings.

• An owner-contractor who has real expertise and capabilities to perform the work of a general-contractor can expect 10% to 20% saving over the fully contracted cost.

• A construction-manager can save an owner between 5% and 15% over the fully contracted cost.

Variables that Increase Costs:
• Regional markets: The cost of construction varies greatly from one area of the country (world) to another. Resort regions where the building season is limited because of weather will increase costs. The cost of local labour and materials can affect the cost by 10%-20%.

• Climate: The weather can affect the cost of your home. Snow and wind loads can add significant cost for additional engineering and larger timbers. Severely cold climates may require higher insulating values and thicker SIPs.

• Site related issues: Ledges and/or rocky terrain, a steeply sloping site and problematic soil conditions can add cost to the foundation.

• Design: Complex and eclectic architecture with lots of interior and exterior corners, complex rooflines, especially hips and valleys will add costs.

• Volume: High vaulted ceilings add volume thereby increasing the cost per square foot. A long narrow design will require more wall area than a cube to enclose the same floor area and volume.

• Timber frame variables: Douglas fir, red oak and quality-recycled timbers are more expensive than eastern white pine. Complex trusses, such as hammer beams, octagonal frames, hips and valleys will add to the cost of the timber frame. Details such as chamfering, curved knee braces and gun stock posts will all increase costs.

• Windows and doors: These items can vary greatly - size, type (casements are more expensive than double hung windows) and insulating values (double or triple glazing) can add significant cost to the project.

• Interior finishes and materials: The cost of kitchens and baths can greatly affect the completed costs. Within the same space one kitchen can easily be double or triple the cost of another manufacturer's cabinets. Appliances also vary greatly in cost. Whirlpool tubs and steam showers add significant costs. A real stone fireplace can be three to four times the cost of a "zero clearance" fireplace with cultured stone finish. Floor finishes can add greatly to the cost when stone, tile and hardwood are used. Heating and cooling systems can increase costs. For example, in-floor radiant heating costs can be upwards of two or three times a hot-air system.

• Exterior finish materials: The type and grade of wood finishes can vary greatly. Stone finishes will add cost over simple wood trim. The roofing materials you select can also add cost. Generally steel, tile and other non-fiberglass/asphalt types of roofing are more expensive.

Variables that Reduce Costs:

  • Regional markets: Building in a competitive market where there is less demand for builders can help contain costs. In these areas local labour is more readily available and usually at a lower cost.
  • Climate: Weather can affect the cost of your home. Moderate climates can reduce cost with regard to the requirement for lower insulating values and smaller timbers and less engineering.
  • Site related issues: A simple, flat or gently sloping site with good soils will be less expensive to build on and help to control foundation costs.
  • Design: Simple designs usually mean less cost. For example, a simple rectangular or ‘L’ shaped house is probably going to be less expensive than a fancy design with Victorian features of the same floor area.
  • Volume: Avoiding cathedral areas and using that volume to include a second floor will reduce cost per square foot.
  • Timber frame variables: A Green Dream pine frame is usually less expensive than other species. Short spans and common rafters (as opposed to principal trussed rafters with purlins) will usually reduce costs. Square edged timbers without chamfering will also help contain costs.
  • Windows and doors: Keeping windows to a minimum, using the double hung style of windows and staying with basic argon filled, low emissivity glass can reduce cost greatly.
  • Interior finishes and materials: Shopping carefully for kitchen cabinets, appliances and bath fixtures will help reduce costs. Items such as installing a wood burning stove in lieu of a fireplace can save money. Selecting less expensive floor finishes will also help.
  • Exterior finish materials: Eliminating brick or expensive types of siding and trim can create significant savings. Staying with architectural grade shiplap boarding as opposed to cedar shingles, steel or tile is also advisable.

Comparing Package Prices:
It is vitally important to understand that materials, quality and service vary greatly from one company to another.

For example: Not all timber frame companies design, manufacture, sell and erect completely engineered timber frame system buildings and, when they do, you must ascertain the type of materials they are using and the loads (weight and deflection) to which they design.

When Benfield Advanced Timber Technologies provide and install a first floor joist and decking system as part of our package, we include a complete system using the best materials and designed for 65 pounds per square foot of live load (45lbs/square foot is all that is required). Few other companies conform to this standard.

When Comparing Prices:
• Be certain to develop a spreadsheet type of comparison listing material specifications and services

• See current examples of their work

• Speak with their references

• Ask about issues of quality in the timber frame, SIPs and other package materials

• Ask about and carefully consider the services and support provided above and beyond the timber frame package

The Cost of Building A Benfield ATT Green Dream Timber Frame Home:

Completed Cost: Inclusive of garage, decks, and basement (if required), based on constructed floor area of the house proper, but not including walkout basements or garage floor areas:

• Simple design built in a competitive market: £125 - £150 per square foot
(Green Dream Package portion: £65 - £85 per square foot) *

• Simple design built in an inflated market: £135 - £160 per square foot
(Green Dream Package portion: £65 - £85 per square foot) *

• Complex design built in a competitive market: £150 - £200 & up per square foot (Green Dream Package portion: £70 - £100 per square foot) *

• Complex design built in an inflated market: £165 - £225 & up per square foot
(Green Dream Package portion: £70 - £115 per square foot) *

* Green Dream Package portion presumes Benfield ATT labour services but will vary depending on the complexity of the design, species of wood, SIP ‘U’-values, snow and wind loads, style of windows and doors and their insulating values, type of siding, trim and roofing.

Click-on Building a Green Dream Home for more information.

The above costs are based on our experience and are intended to serve as a general guide only and are not a guarantee of the cost of and for any particular Benfield Advanced Timber Technology Green Dream Package or completed home.

Please speak to your Benfield ATT Green Dream Technical Sales Representative for more information about your specific project


Wherever you are ... Whatever you need ....

'Better Build Benfield'

"... the sustainable way to build ..."

United Kingdom Accreditation Service, certifying your timber frame project is manufactured and erected to reliable and quality ISO 9001:2000 procedures SGS - Society General de Surveillance ensures that quality systems and procedures are used in the design, manufacture and erection of your engineered timberframe structure is of the highest standard FSC - Forest Stewardship Council - FSC Timber Frame certification. Benfield ATT hold Chain of Custody certification for the Design, Sales, Manufacture & Distribution of Engineered Timber Structures – FSC endorsed by Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and WWF and EcoHomes Investors in People, Benfield ATT are one of a few timber frame companies to hold an award for the training and ongoing development of their people and service

Chartered Building Consultancy - timber frame, OSM (off-site manufacture) and engineered timber structure advisors. Timber Research and Development Association – our work with TRADA ensures high quality, eco-friendly engineered Timber Frame build projects. The Green Register of Construction Professionals - Benfield ATT's membership demonstrates our passion for environmentally sustainable timber frame self-builds, new homes, schools and social housing for local housing authorities AECB - Association of Environment Conscious Building – our FSC certified timber frame is endorsed by The Ecology Building Society Impact Upon Society Big Tick Award from Business in the Community – BITC – award-winning timber frame company within the Timber-frame industry TRA - Trussed Rafter Association – our membership assures Timberframe Trusses, Trussed Rafters, roofs and complex and innovative roofscapes are quality HBF - the only developer partnering timber frame company to be members of the House Builders Federation. Wales Quality Centre – members and committee members, we ensure the highest quality, especially when coupled with ISO 9001, FSC certification and Q-Mark Plus standards RICS - Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, assures our customers of our professionalism in wood and timber frame building and developing and surveying

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