Q: What is a Structural Insulated Panel (SIP)?
A: A SIP is an energy efficient structural wall system that is manufactured with a core of Styrofoam laminated to oriented strand board (OSB) or plywood. Panels are available for walls, roof and floor systems. Special below grade panels are also available for super insulated lower levels in the ground.
Q: Why is it better to use SIP's than standard "stick-built" construction?
A: First, the use of SIP's provides a much sturdier exterior wall - approximately 2 1/2 times stronger, in fact. And, of course, the energy efficiency is far, far superior to standard 2x4 or 2x6 construction - usually averaging up to a 50% to 60% savings on your energy bills.
Q: My "stick-built" home has an R-19 rating. What makes a SIP home so much better?
A: "Standard" fiberglass insulation has the ability to settle, allow air infiltration and can actually allow for air circulation within the wall, thus reducing the actual "R" factor of the wall, usually to an actual 9 to 12 "R"-factor, NOT R-19. The SIP's we use in SIPerior Design Homes offer an "R" factor of 22. There is no settling and no air infiltration, so this is a "real" and fixed "R" factor. Plus there are fewer studs to conduct cold into your home, this is refered to as a "thermal short".
Q: Does it cost more or less to build with SIP's?
A: The initial cost of construction with SIP's might be a little bit more, but the labor is less and you'll save money on your energy bills for the life of the home! Also, the faster construction time can reduce your construction loan interest cost.
You can learn even more about SIPs here.
Q: Does the home come pre-assembled?
A: Your home will be built on-site in accordance with the plans that have been engineered specifically for your job site's requirements. Only the wall panels are pre-built and delivered to the site.
Q: How is the SIPerior Design Home delivered to the site?
A: Your SIPerior Design Home will be built on-site, and the materials will be delivered as needed. You won't see any material laying around on the job site for longer than necessary. The builder will determine the delivery schedule. All it takes is a phone call to SIPerior Designs (and the appropriate lead time) and we'll have the materials delivered in a timely manner.
Q: Where can SIPerior Design Homes be built?
A: Really, they can be built anywhere in the United States. Here's how it works: SIPerior Design will find suppliers as close as possible to your building site, such as a SIP supplier, lumber supplier, etc. Materials will be delivered from those suppliers as needed, thus reducing the handling and shipping cost typically associated with kit or packaged homes. Depending on location most interior finish materials would be supplied locally.
Q: Does SIPerior Design have its own building crew?
A: While the estimated cost of building the home is factored into the pricing schedule, SIPerior Designs does not serve as the General Contractor. SIPerior Designs provides the house plans and material package only. Yes, our sister company, Andersen Enterprise, can provide the labor necessary to build your home and act as General Contractor. You can, however, select any builder of your choice, or you may build the home yourself.
Q: How do we select a builder?
A: In many cases we can help you find a builder in your area who has experience building with SIP's. But any experienced builder can learn to use SIP's and technical help is available in the form of manuals, CD's and on-site assistance. SIPerior Designs is in constant contact with the builder from the beginning to the end of the project. If you're building in SIPerior Designs immediate area, our General Contracting company, Andersen Enterprise, can provide the labor necessary to build your home. There are also a number of local builders who have built many of our homes. You may choose any builder to build your home.
Q: How long does it take to build a SIPerior Design Home?
A: Once everything is in place, it generally takes 6-10 months to build a SIPerior Design Home, depending on it's square footage. "Everything in place" means that financing is in place, your plans have been drawn and engineered, your plans have been submitted to the Building Department and approved and your building site is ready to go. You need to allow plenty of up-front time to complete these items.
Q: Can we do some of the work ourselves?
A: That's one of the reasons SIPerior Design Homes are so popular! You may purchase just materials from us and build the home yourself; you may have a builder erect the shell only; or you can elect to have the entire Siperior home built. We would be happy to explain how these options work and discuss which method is best for you. See What's Included
Q: Can we make changes to SIPerior Design's standard plans?
A: There are lots of "standard" changes you can make to the plans. For example, you can extend the great room by four feet and the bedrooms by two feet on most models. You can add porch and/or deck. You can add a lower level on any model for a drive-under garage, additional bedrooms, family room, etc. If you want to change the configuration of the plan, that is possible for a fee. Naturally, this cost depends on the extent of the changes. Finally, there are many ways to customize your home with our "standard" selections, such as your choice of siding, roofing, cabinets, countertops, etc.
Q: What is SIPerior Designs cost per square foot?
A: SIPerior Designs provides pricing for each specific model. "Price per square foot" is a very inaccurate method of calculating the cost of a home as there are so many variables. SIPerior Design'sQuick Quote system will provide a cost for the model you select with the options and upgrades of your choice. This is a much more accurate and predictable method of calculating the cost for your home and can be produced very quickly.
Q: Does SIPerior Designs have model homes?
A: If you're in the Woodland Park, Colorado area we invite you to stop into our demonstration & model home; the Schofield model which exhibits many structural details. You'll also see dozens of pictures of homes we've built throughout the years. Once you've selected a model we're often able to send you out to a home under construction. Finally, our website has lots of photos. We add to our website photos often, so keep coming back.
Q: How many homes has SIPerior Design supplied?
A: The original Building Alternatives started business in 1985. In 1994 they developed the PAC Home product line and supplied more than 200 homes to date. Our general contracting company, Andersen Enterprise, has built almost 40 of those homes, including three award-winning homes in the Colorado Springs Parade of Homes.
Q: What is the warranty on a SIPerior Design Home?
A: The materials supplied by SIPerior Designs carry individual warranties. You may refer to our warranty section for more information on these. The General Contractor is responsible for the warranty on the construction of the home and for the materials supplied outside of the SIPerior Designs materials package.
Q: Does SIPerior Design provide financing?
A: SIPerior Design does not provide financing. Customers may work with the financing institution of their choice. However, we do have several excellent banking relationships in our local area that are familiar with us and our products. Upon request we would be happy to provide this information to you. Or, you can visit their websites that are linked to their advertising on our website.
Q: What is the billing procedure?
A: You will have one contract with SIPerior Designs and a contract with your builder. SIPerior Designs requires a $2,500.00 Drawings Fee to produce the Preliminary Drawings. The Drawings Fee is non-refundable, but does apply toward the total cost of the SIPerior Designs Materials Package. Then, a 20% deposit (this is 20% of the SIPerior Designs Materials Package or $20,000 which ever is LESS) is required to have the Final Plans drawn and engineered (minus the Drawings Fee previously paid). These initial amounts are held in reserve. Once building begins, you will receive an invoice from SIPerior Designs once a month for materials delivered to the site the previous month. At the end of the building process SIPerior Designs will "draw down" the original amount that has been held in reserve. Heavily modified plans and full custom designs will require a larger fees based on the scope of work required.