How to Utilize Professionals to Keep Your Project Within Budget.

Little known fact: The start of your custom home project is not when you break ground for the first time. It’s all figured out on paper first.

Be prepared to review, revise, and repeat to get everything within your budget and style. Make sure to allow enough time for planning and building to achieve your desired delivery date.

RTM design budget

So what are the steps you need to take to get your RTM project plan together?

Do Not Fear Disclosing Your Budget

One big, and necessary, step is discussing what you hope your overall project will cost. At B&B, we have compiled an entire list of the expenses associated with building a home – reaching past the costs related to the RTM alone, including site prep, hookups and foundations.

Discussing your budget with our on-site designer and estimator gives them the ability to design and quote your home project using materials and function that will fit within your overall budget while allowing enough room for other expenditures and features.

To ensure that you do not encounter any surprises along the way that can suddenly hinder you from achieving your dream—or will require last minute split decisions—our estimator at B&B Homes is equipped to provide you with detailed quotes based on your budget parameters. From your RTM home costs to your on-site garage, foundation, hookups and deck, as well as any other required on-site elements that may come up.

Be Prepared to Review, Revise, and Repeat

There are a couple steps involved in this process. First, designing your custom home. This involves everything from the style and materials chosen, to the layout and function of the home that fits your family’s lifestyle. All of these parts are taken into consideration and reviewed to make sure they are fitting your overall vision.

The next step is estimating the cost of the design. In this phase you will be given quotes that include everything discussed during the design process. Once the first vision of your home is quoted, and you have a concrete idea of all the costs involved, it can be necessary to go back and revise some of the options chosen, or remove some features.

Do not fear this step. Request changes or revisions to get the project to a stage you are comfortable with.

This is a natural progression point in all major projects. More often than not, there is another material available, or another timeline to consider – like saving the decks or garage for a project the following year – that will make achieving your exact vision a reality (without depleting the quality of your home).

So What Now?

The biggest feeling may be to give up. We get it, we’ve all been there. At B&B, we want to be there for you helping you through this stage. We understand this last step is full of very personal decisions, and requires thoughtful deliberation of answering the questions like “What do you most want to get out of your home?” and “What are the top 5 priorities?”. Once you feel you have those questions and thoughts answered, approach the drawing board again with our team of professionals.

Be Involved

Ask all your questions, state your ideas, and display any concerns or fears you may have. B&B Homes wants to build you a home that we ourselves would live in. That requires perseverance, flexibility, and honesty from both sides. Believe us when we say all the hard work at this stage, makes the reward at the end even better.

B&B Homes has earned the reputation for providing excellent quality RTM homes and prides itself on delivering superior customer service throughout the process. If you are ready to start planning a 2019 RTM project, reach out to us here for more information.

Onsite Planning for an RTM Project Part 4: Landscaping

We have reach the final part of this RTM onsite project series. We hope you have a good understanding of some of the items that will come up in a project so you can be prepared and educated.

Part 4 of this series focuses on some landscaping considerations that may or may not apply for your location, they are:

  • Eavestrough
  • Road access/driveway
  • Window wells
  • Deck
  • Parging exterior of exposed basement walls
  • Fencing (if needed)

If you missed part 1, 2 or 3 of this series, you can still read them on the B&B Homes blog.

RTM Home

Final grade

This is a very important step of your landscaping. You need to make sure the ground is sloped away from your home. You need to plan for heavy downpours in the summer and snow runoff in the spring. If you get your foundation work done with B&B Homes we will help you prepare this.

Roadway Access

When planning for a new roadway, access, or when upgrading your existing, make sure you plan ahead and prepare for moving day requirements. Make sure there will be enough room for your home to safely come off the main road and into your yard. Ask us for specific information, we can help you plan for this.

Eavestrough

B&B does not install eavestrough on our homes. This is because there is a chance it will get damaged during the move. It is a good idea to have eavestrough installed as soon as you can once your home is on your foundation. This way any runoff from your roof will be directed away from your basement and prevent damages to your new investment.

Window Wells

If your basement windows will be below final grade, you will need to install window wells as well. Make sure that the local codes are followed when determining the specifics. This is very important as your basement windows serve as a fire escape and have some requirements.

Decks

There are many different finishes you can have when planning for your decks. One thing to make sure is that your deck is sitting on a solid foundation such as screw piles or concrete piles. This will help insure your deck will last for many years to come.

Parging

After your final grade is complete, window wells installed (if needed), and the decks is built, you will need to cover the exposed portion of the  foundation to protect it from the weather. Acrylic parging is one method you can use. This is a stucco like product that gets applied and comes in many different colours. Other options include siding or stone. This is usually one of the final finishing touches you’ll do to the outside of your home.

Fencing

If you live in a town or small hamlet, you may want to budget for a privacy fence for around your property. There are many different materials you can use ranging from maintenance free to materials that you will need to stain or paint every year. Maintenance free materials will cost more but if the cost is figured out over time, you may save money, time and hassle in the future. Make this decision carefully!

Window wells

RTM

Eavestrough

RTM

B&B Homes does onsite decks as part of our comprehensive RTM packages

If you have any questions about foundations or any other aspect of the RTM process or would like to get started planning your own 2019 RTM project, contact us here.

 

RTM Maintenance: Protecting Your Home From Humidity and Moisture

Fall and winter are the seasons to be cautious with humidity levels in a new home. Moisture and humidity problems are classified as regular maintenance issues and are not covered by B&B’s warranty. It is very important that you are aware of the dangers so that you can take preventative measures against any future damages and avoid incurring any costly repairs.

The early warning signs of high humidity are:
•Exterior door handles & deadbolts no longer work properly
•High amount of moisture on windows
•Exterior door handle & deadbolts have visible moisture or frost on them
•Exterior doors are freezing shut
•Water pooling on window sills
•Exterior door handles & deadbolts begin to rust on the inside

If things get really bad, the worse case scenarios of high humidity (which we have seen) includes:
•Cabinet doors swell to the point that they won’t close
•Paint is peeling on cabinets, railing, etc.
•Laminate flooring buckles
•Mold will grow on doors, windows and other areas of the home

Fact: A new home typically expels 500-600 gallons in the first year and a half.
Fact: A new home typically expels 500-600 gallons in the first year and a half.

 

Before any of these warning signs occur, there are some measures you can take. They are:

•Testing the humidity with a reliable tester (contact us and we will send you one to keep free of charge)
•Increase ventilation by keeping air circulating with a small fan or by opening windows
•Make sure an air exchanger is set and running properly (make sure your installer explained all the settings and how to operate it)
•Run a de-humidifier. If levels remain high you may need one on both the main floor and in the basement
•If your basement floor is not cemented, it needs to be sealed with poly
•During the summer months, running your air conditioner will help reduce moisture
Make sure that the silicone around the tubs, showers and between the kitchen counter top and walls is still fully intact. If it isn’t, you need to replace it. If moisture gets around the tile or counter tops you will develop swelling and moisture issues over time.

table 1

Re: Table 1. Wind chill temperature – this is the method used to relate wind and temperature. Usually traditional temperature readings do not include a wind chill factor. For example, with an indoor temperature of 20C and an outside air temperature of -12C this table recommends a relative humidity of 30%. However, with an outside air temperature of -12C and a 20km per hour wind, the outdoor wind chill temperature is -26C and so the level of relative humidity should be reduced to 20%. Moisture and humidity damage is classified as regular maintenance and is not covered by your warranty.

To manage the humidity levels in your home, monitor the levels mentioned in the chart above and use your HRV system or a dehumidifier to regulate moisture and protect your investment.

Monitoring moisture and humidity levels help you protect the value and health of your home. Feel free to contact us if you need more information or have any questions about humidity in your RTM Home.

Onsite Planning for an RTM Project Part 3: Code Compliant Basement Finishing.

We are nearing the end of the onsite project series. With only part 4 remaining, you will soon have all of the information you need to shop and prepare for your RTM project onsite work, while having a good understanding of what happens before you officially move into your brand new home.

If you missed part 1 and 2 of this series, you can still read them here on the B&B Homes blog.

Part 3 of this series focuses on what you need to do to complete your basement before you move into your RTM while being compliant with local codes.

Rim Joist Installation

  • Rim joists need to be insulated once the house is set on the foundation. At B&B, we recommend using spray foam as you get a better seal but batt insulation and poly can also be used
  • Once the spray foam is applied, it must be covered by a fire resistant insulation such as Rockwool
  • If the rim joists are left uninsulated for a long period of time, this will lead to damage to your new home. Humidity levels will rise as the colder outside air mixes with the warmer inside air

*Please keep in mind, humidity issues of any kind are not covered by B&B Home’s warranty as it falls under proper home care maintenance.

                                                                                 Rim Joist Installation

Installation of Drywall for Basement Foundation Wall

  • The Styrofoam blocks that B&B Homes uses in ICF foundations have plastic fastening strips every 8” and this is indicated on the surface by a diamond pattern. These particular strips have higher pull out strength then a dimensional stud
  • The easiest way to get the drywall into the basement is through a window opening. Keep this in mind when designing your basement and make sure you have at least one window that is big enough to accommodate this
  • ICF walls must be drywalled before you move in as code requires
*Although mudding, taping, and painting aren’t required at this stage, you will want to consider having this done prior to your move in, for a smoother transition with less of a mess to deal with later on when finishing.
                                                                  Drywall of Basement Foundation Walls

Other Miscellaneous Items to Be Code Compliant

  • Temporary or permanent handrails/railing must be constructed on your basement stairs as per code
  • You will need to have exterior doors leading onto a deck or landing with stairs and railing

If you have any questions about foundations or any other aspect of the RTM process, contact us here

                                                                   

Onsite Planning for an RTM Project Part 2: Hookups

Planning an RTM project does not have to be stressful or overwhelming if you educate yourself on the different parts of the process. At B&B, we try to get as much information into the hands of RTM researchers and planners to help them make empowered decisions regarding their projects while evaluating all of the different stages.

A major part of the process that is often overlooked in budgeting and preliminary research is the onsite hookups. Though B&B Homes offers this service as part of our full offering, you may want to explore some local options or perhaps know someone that works in the trades that can assist you with part II of the onsite preparation you may want to explore.

If you missed part I of this series on foundations, you can read it here on the B&B Homes blog.

Items to consider when gathering quotes for your Heating, Plumbing, & HVAC onsite hookups

  • Furnace type (Eg: high efficiency)
  • Garage heating
  • Water heater type (Tank or tankless)
  • Central air conditioning
  • Dryer venting
  • Fireplace hook up
  • Basement in-floor heating
  • Plumbing rough ins for future basement development
  • Water hook up
  • Water system (Reverse Osmosis and water softener)
  • Septic system
  • Exterior water faucets
  • Garage floor drains

Some Other Items to Consider When Gathering Quotes for Electrical

  • Service amperage
  • Extent of rough in wiring that will be done (Interior walls framed? Is the basement also included?)
  • Electrician needs to know the type of furnace and hot water heater i.e. natural gas, propane, or electric
  • Will there be an air conditioner to hook up?
  • Cost for permits
  • Trenching the wire from the main power box into your mechanical room
  • Wiring of your perimeter walls must be complete prior to drywall being hung

At B&B, we design your basement layout at the same time as your main floor layout so when the electrician wires the walls, the plugs and switches are in the exact spots for future development.

If you have any questions about hookups or any other aspect of the RTM process, contact us here.

 

Onsite Planning for an RTM Project Part 1: Foundation Preparation.

Planning an RTM project can be a little daunting if you are not familiar with the different parts of the process. We decided to develop this short series to walk you through the different onsite stages that occur. Being armed with the knowledge of the process allows you to make informed decisions with your planning and puts you in the driver seat. Below is some information on the process that will allow you to compare quotes from different contractors with accuracy.

Part 1: Foundations covers the different stages from what to compare in an estimate, things to consider when deciding what route to go and what the process looks like once you start excavating.

Items that should be included in your foundation quote:

  • Excavation and backfill
  • Basement walls
  • Crushed rock for weeping tile and floor
  • Weeping tile and installation
  • Basement floor
  • Waterproofing for exterior of foundation walls
  • Beam and the required teleposts
  • Stairs
  • Windows

Foundation construction begins with excavating.

The construction of walls, beams, teleposts and waterproofing are completed next.

Weeping tile is installed next before the backfill.

The basement floor is typically poured after the home has been set on the foundation.

Be sure that the windows and stairs are included in your preliminary quote when reviewing foundation estimates.

Some Other Items to Consider That May Come Up:

What if I have shifting soil on my land?

What is the soil like where the home will be placed? Do you need to be concerned about shifting soil? If so, screw piles or concrete piles may need to be added to keep the foundation from moving over time. In some cases, a study of the soil needs to be done in order to determine what type of foundation is needed, this is called a Geotech study.

What will happen with the dirt that is removed from the basement?

Some of it will be used for backfill. The rest can be used in your landscape otherwise you may have to pay to have it removed. In some cases, the dirt that is removed is not suitable for backfill material. Other dirt or fill must then be hauled in and used in this scenario if it comes up.

Backfill is generally left to settle on its own. If you are wanting to pour sidewalks etc up against the house in the same year, you will have to address compacting the backfill somehow. Although this isn’t recommend as it puts extra pressure on your foundation walls.

We have a high water table on our land, can we still have a basement?

Yes, but it will determine the depth of your basement.

ICF, wood, or concrete foundation?

B&B Homes builds 9 ft ICF foundations as a standard but also will do crawl space, concrete and wood foundations as well.

If you have any questions about the RTM process, want to book a site visit to tour some of our current projects or wish to start the process of drafting your own custom design plan, contact us here.

Building an RTM With Ranch Style Finishes for a Family Outside of Maple Creek.

The Beierbach’s engaged with B&B Homes after seeing a floor plan call out their name that was shared on Facebook. With some modifications to The Redburn to make it truly their own, the rest is now history and they are living in their custom RTM today. When it came to looking for an RTM builder, they were looking for flexibility to suit their ranch style, good quality construction and of course affordability. They also needed to look into RTM options due to their remoteness in the Maple Creek area and for the convenience of outsourced project management around their busy lifestyles.

Having the Space for Entertaining and Hosting Guests

With an open concept and more living space than their previous small farmhouse, they are now more comfortable hosting guests and entertaining at their home and seem to do a lot more of it these days.

“We love our new home and look forward to enjoying for many more years! B&B met or beat every deadline which was so nice as we were super anxious to get into the house once we got the design phase done.”

-Donna Beierbach

Bringing Together Ideas Through Research

Donna spent around three months researching different features and finishes online that would capture their style and preferences. B&B was impressed with all of their unique ideas that were able to be executed. Their home like all custom RTMs was quoted based on the custom specs that were put together specifically from Donna and Williams’ researching and planning. During this time they also talked to friends, neighbours, relatives anyone they knew that had either built or moved in a new home.

What One Piece of Advice Would You Share With Anyone Planning a Custom RTM Home?

“The expenses of site prep/ dirt work basement, plumbing/heating, electrical etc for hooking the house up really adds up. Get quotes for all of the above and allow for a bit extra!”

What Did You Like About Working with B&B Homes?

“The staff!! So helpful! We were way out of our element with this project ….we deal with livestock, not paint swatches and tile samples so we leaned heavily on designer Katia for advice and input. She did such a good job of capturing the feel we were looking for in our home! Darwin was always eager to answer any questions we had and Travis was great about warranty issues and customer service in general!”

-Donna Beierbach

Want to Get Started Planning Your Own RTM Project?

Working with our on-site designer can help you bring a vision to life that you didn’t know was possible for a new RTM home. Contact B&B Homes today to coordinate a complimentary consultation with our designer here.

Which Is Better: Fir Plywood vs. OSB Flooring?

wood RTM
Fir Plywood

B&B Homes has been making custom RTM homes for over 10 years, we are building our 94th house as we speak! We have worked with a variety of different materials and processes and continued to innovate until we found what works the best for our customers while maintaining our own high standards to quality craftsmanship. When it comes to sub flooring, at B&B Homes we prefer using Fir Plywood over OSB. Though we realize that we may be becoming the minority by sticking with this material, it is still our number one choice for our customers, here’s why:

 

Fir Plywood Holds Up Stronger to Moisture

Fir Plywood is manufactured with the grain still intact which gives plywood strength. Fir Plywood is also lighter and holds up stronger against moisture. This product is the distinct winner and the preferred choice under ceramic tiles because of its stiffness and resistance to the elements. Plywood also works better with adhesives. If on the other hand, OSB is exposed to a significant amount of water or even moisture, it can expand by up to 15% on the edges. This swelling can weaken your tiles or other materials that you want to have longevity in your home.

 

Fir Plywood Has More Longevity for the Home

Though OSB can help you save on short term costs, Fir Plywood is more durable over time. At B&B Homes we strongly feel that this is a corner that should not be cut, when building a home that is meant to last a lifetime. As a sub floor, OSB tends to make a poor base and sags between joists and can have tendencies to chip in some cases. OSB also has a higher risk of floor squeaks due to the many layers it’s comprised of and only has an average life expectancy of 20 years.Most of our clients pass their homes down in their families and need a home that will stand the test of time!

 

Putting a Strong Structure in Place

Fir Plywood has been known for providing great structural strength for buildings and homes for decades and is tried and true. Though B&B Homes will continue to experiment with different materials new to market, we also plan to stick with what we know works and want to help our customers make the best decisions possible for their big investment.

 

For more information on planning a custom RTM project or to book a site visit, contact us.

 

 

Preparing for Moving Day for Your RTM Home.

Congratulations, the process is winding down and your brand new RTM is about to arrive on your property! B&B Homes has been working with Neufeld Mover’s for years, delivering our RTM homes reliably and efficiently to our customers. In preparation for this important day, there are a few steps to take for a smooth day and brand new home delivery. A few things that they require before the home arrives on your lot are:

  • Details on specific road numbers with precise directions (noting any bridges, trees  hanging on the road, soft roads, highwater, train tracks etc) and any other obstacle that may impact the home delivery routing and planning
  • You will need to contact your local RM/town to get permission if you require trimming/cutting any trees on the route (you will also be responsible for clean up afterwards as well)
  • There may be unforeseen variables that can affect costs during the actual move, these include: construction, re-routes from utility companies, rural municipalities or counties denying road usage due to condition, size or weight or obstacles mentioned above.

An important consideration, if you require line lifts, we are unable to accurately predict what the exact utility charges will be. The utility estimates we provide, are based on past moves of similar size in the same area. This cost can get affected by re-routes, weather, road conditions and utility rate changes.

B&B Homes will invoice for the utilities after the move. We can provide an estimate in advance so you can technically have no balance owing at that time this bill arrives. Utility companies reserve the right to bill a customer up to and including two years past the original utility bill date.

In most cases the estimates provided are fairly accurate unless any of the above variables occur. If you have any more questions about the RTM moving process, email info@bbhomes.ca

The Value of Working with a Professional Designer for an RTM

Anyone can draw up a floor plan, but when it comes to creating a design for your forever home and selecting the features and finishes, you are going to want expert advice that you can trust throughout the planning and building process. Smart design prevents unnecessary renovations down the road. Like when you book a hotel room, you will have expectations about what kind of experience you want to have for what you are willing to pay.

B&B Homes takes pride in offering unlimited creative options to design a home with the counsel of our onsite designer Katia, who will guide your decision making and planning all the way through. From letting you know what you can pull off in your floor plan within your square foot, to going shopping for lighting fixtures and flooring with you, she will be along for the whole ride when it comes to your RTM project.

We must admit, Katia is part of B&B Home’s secret sauce for delivering a premium RTM building experience. Keeping a strong relationship onsite between the designer and the building crew has lead to a lot of beautiful custom RTM homes.

“We are very pleased with the final product of our customized home with the help of our designer Katia. The entire B & B staff was very professional and easy to work with throughout the entire process.”

-Mike & Shannon Palmier

Hear more about the B&B Home’s RTM building process from past B&B Home’s clients here.