Building Affordable Concrete Homes

In this post by gp-inc.com we cover issues surrounding building affordable concrete homes. There is a decline in residential housing industry affecting both large custom and affordable home building. Concrete home construction has drawn more interest as the price range is affordable for most builders. The interest largely focuses on:

  • safety
  • Sustainability
  • Disaster resistance
  • Green building
  • Energy conservation

Factors Influencing Affordability

Homes are more affordable because property values have declined over the past years. The cost of materials and labor has also dropped. Affordability depends on size. Homes of 1000-2000 sq ft are far affordable than the larger custom built home. Some builders accomplish lower prices by building several homes simultaneously while others maintain low cost by completing each building at a time.

Judging home affordability by selling price has started to change as more attention focuses on operating costs. Most constructors of concrete home systems have the long-term view in mind.

Longer Term Issues

Homeownership insurance has become a significant part of the home ownership in some areas. For instance insurance rates for homes Southeastern states that are close to ocean or hurricane prone areas have skyrocketed. Insurance rates for home constructed to withstand high-wind forces or fire are lower depending on the insurance company and state. The first question by insurance companies to homeowners is “what is it made of?”

Institute For Business & Home Safety

Simply called IBHS, this is a nonprofit organization that researches and recommends better methods to construct disaster resistant of home and commercial buildings. IBHS under Chuck Vance as its fortified program manager has the support of over 200 insurance companies. It investigates on structures in case of disasters and tries developing better building methods. IBHS will share findings with code authorities to improve building codes.

It also administers Fortified, a program for safer living that certifies a home is build to program standards. According to Vance “these homes must be built to withstand winds of 20mp/h more than the local minimum codes.” It reduces the risk of natural disasters to homes and increases affordability as they do not require replacement due to the effect of high winds.

People prefer living in cost and energy efficient housing during these days of declining energy resources. It is usually reported that building concrete homes raised cost over wood construction by 5-15%. Some builders, however, report they build more affordable with concrete in these ways:

Building Detachable Form Walls

Concrete foundation building owners Jim Bassett and Mike Zeanchozk chose Matrix concrete construction when building Florida homes. They complete 6 houses a week. Now, they are constructing concrete duplex housing near coastline hit by Hurricane Katrina. The average unit of 1049 square feet (with small porch and garage of 317 square foot) according to Bassett sells at $250,000. The homes have concrete walls and wood truss roof. He adds their homes are constructed to resist 146 mph winds and remain affordable because of mass production using handset aluminum forms.

Northern Florida-based Ken Krantz who had a background in structural concrete changed to concrete housing. His company Safewalls decided to take up opportunities in affordable housing market building several in Pensacola and now targeting Jacksonville.

Safewalls homes are made of concrete and also handset aluminum forms. They are roughly 2000 square feet selling under $150,000. They are sturdy with upgraded roof system with resistance 146 mph winds and have energy star ratings. Krantz says homes have a concrete room that offers protection against storms like tornado or hurricane.

Payback

A concrete house comes with benefits of low maintenance costs, increased protection from disasters, more energy efficiency, protection from mold and fungus. It is also healthier. Even if the initial cost is higher than constructing with a standard wood frame, it will be covered by savings in the form of reduced energy, maintenance and insurance cost or absence of catastrophic events that destroy entire structure. The concrete housing also guarantees higher living quality and positive impact on the world community.

Gary Wilson