QUESTIONS?

WHY DO I NEED A CONSTRUCTION CONSULTANT?

Building a Custom Home in the High Country is complex. We help evaluate the best construction style to meet budget, lifestyle, and aesthetics for our clients. We represent a select group of suppliers to meet these varied requirements. We have over 45 years of combined experience building over 75 custom homes and know how to avoid costly and timely mistakes. Based in Steamboat Springs, we are centrally located to do site visits in multiple mountain communities as the “boots on the ground” eyes and ears for the out of state Timber Suppliers and their Design Team. We have the local resources to meet local code requirements and consult with your local builder as the liaison between the manufacturer, homeowner, and builder. This is especially important for out of town clients.

WHAT SERVICES DOES MLH PROVIDE THAT THE TIMBER COMPANY DOES NOT?

Most log and timber companies are out of state. Their design staff are not able to visit your building site or with you face to face at the property during the initial design. Permitting and code requirements vary greatly both from county to county and nationally. MLH ensures that the home you design will meet local requirements by verifying snow loads, building heights and other things unique to your site. We have a greater understanding of local building costs and can help guide your design to fit your budget. We work with multiple suppliers to make sure we match you with the right one for your needs.

WILL IS COST MORE TO WORK WITH MOUNTAIN LIFE & HOME?

No, we typically save time and money by avoiding costly mistakes. We charge a nominal consulting fee that gives you peace of mind throughout the process. We are paid directly by the manufacturers who have a commission structure built into their package costs for EITHER their in-house salesman OR their Regional Distributor Selling Partners.

DO YOU DO WHEN DO I NEED TO START MY DESIGN?

With short building season at elevation, you need to complete your plans no later than April to get into the production schedule of most manufactures for a spring or summer delivery. How long it takes to make decisions varies, we recommend starting no later than fall for a spring start.

WHAT IS INCLUDED WITH MY PACKAGE?

This varies by supplier. Visit the Supplier Tabs to see what is typically included with each package type.

WHAT IS SYSTEM BUILT?

The NAHB created the System Built category of home building that includes many construction styles in which components of the home are manufactured or assembled in part, or in full, in an off-site controlled environment. These are not modular homes. The System Built category includes Log Homes, Timber Frame Homes, SIPS Panel and Panelized Wall System Homes. Advantages of System Built packages include: Controlled environment for better quality control, lower labor cost than on-site resort wages or labor affected by weather and other constraints; use of automation; volume purchasing power for lThe NAHB created the System Built category of home building that includes many construction styles in which components of the home are manufactured or assembled in part, or in full, in an off-site controlled environment. These are not modular homes. The System Built category includes Log Homes, Timber Frame Homes, SIPS Panel and Panelized Wall System Homes. Advantages of System Built packages include: Controlled environment for better quality control, lower labor cost than on-site resort wages or labor affected by weather and other constraints; use of automation; volume purchasing power for lumber and other components; time savings in short building seasons and more.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO BUILD MY HOME?

Typical building cycle is 12-18 months from excavation to move in.

However, clients should allow a minimum of 6 months for plan design, budgeting, site plan and financing commitment prior to permitting. You should sign-off on your final plans and commit to a builder no later than March if you wish to build in spring or summer.

Typical building cycle on a 3,000 sq. ft home:

1. Planning, design, permitting - This will vary depending on the complexity of the project. Plans, engineering, permits and site plans this could be 3 months to 1 year depending on the requirements in your area, access to the site, permitting and approvals.

2. Site development and excavation - Allow up to 4-6 weeks for Excavation, foundation and sub-floor The start date is determined by the excavator confirming ground is dry enough, in a big snow year, this can be as late as July.

3. Package delivery and erection - most of the hand-crafted log, SIPs, and Panel Homes can be dried-in in 2-4 weeks.

4. Finishes - Plumbing, electric, insulation, drywall, cabinets flooring etc. typically are an additional 6-8 months.

WHAT IS TURN-KEY?

This term refers to a General Contractor doing the complete job, from planning, permitting and construction and then you only turn the key. When we discuss general "cost per square foot" this includes EVERYTHING UNDER ROOF. Some clients and realtors do not include unfinished spaces like garages when discussing square footage. For construction cost analysis, all "conditioned" (heated) space is included when we calculate 100% of the building cost including plans, engineering, permits and fees to move-in ready divided by the square feet under roof.

CAN I BE MY OWN GENERAL CONTRACTOR?

This will vary by jurisdiction and your confidence, time, and experience. Log and Timber Frame homes take a much more specialized experience and skill level than a typical stick frame home, and we highly recommend you hire an experienced General Contractor in this type construction. The nature of the SIPs and Full Log walls require specialized knowledge and tools for plumbing, electrical, and the fit of the timber components.

However, Whisper Creek Panel Homes are very well suited to homeowner builds as much of the framing, siding, window installation and other “heavy lifting” are done in a controlled environment. These are made up of typical 2x6 construction and any framer or local sub-contractor can finish this home with knowledge of local codes on insulation and foundation requirements.

You may wish to hire a local builder to get the home to dry-in, and put your sweat equity into the non-inspection items like paint, tile and flooring, but still use a qualified builder for the structure. You will need to negotiate with a contractor your involvement in the home building process due to liability and permitting.

HOW DO WE GET STARTED?

Mountain Life & Home will walk you through the entire process. First you need to determine if you prefer Full Log, Timber Frame, Log Accented or Panel Home. We will provide some basic floor plan options as a starting point and will work closely with you to adjust the design. We rarely build a floor plan exactly as provided by the timber suppliers “stock” plan, but rather use these as inspiration for your unique vision.

Most of the Timber Manufacturers have a team of draftsmen and architects that will convert our sketches to engineered building plans. Expect to invest $5-10 per square foot for blueprints. Once you approve your personalized plans, we can provide you with a preliminary budget estimate and package cost for your General Contractor to estimate total building costs.

If you have your own architect, bring us your plans for a package quote, and we can evaluate to assure they meet local standards and Building Codes.

WHAT IS THE AVERAGE SQUARE FOOT COST?

Costs vary so greatly from jurisdiction and we need to know more about your building site to give a true idea. A typical Turn-Key Home in the Ski Resort communities of Colorado can range from $350-$500 per square foot for everything under roof. Factors affecting that range: Log species and diameter, interior finish selections, complexity of roof system, development cost of the lot including permits, fees, well, septic, tree removal, retaining walls, utilities, driveway access, retaining walls and excavation.

Owners have complete control over their finish selections which can affect the end price of the home. If you engage a “cost plus” builder, should provide a detailed line item budget to work from. The more decisions made prior to that budget for your bank financing the more accurate you end cost will be. Otherwise, most builders will give “allotments” on items like flooring, lighting, cabinetry for items not yet finalized at bank budget states.

WHAT IS THE R-VALUE OF LOGS?

According to the National Home Builders Association, Log Homes Council, a typical log home is up to 15% more energy efficient that an identical stick frame structure. Thermal mass of log structures (the ability to absorb, store and slowly release heat over time when temperatures drop) is very high due to the cellular structure, bulk and thickness of the log walls, thus reducing heating and cooling loads. Different species of wood have different R-values. Lodge Pole Pine combined with Thermal Mass factor is 3 per inch giving a 12” diameter log is an R-36 value. Douglas Fir’s combined R-value is a 2, or R-24 for a 12” diameter log. The higher the R-value, the more the wall resists heat loss. Most Stick built framed homes will have average an R-12 value. The R-value and Thermal Mass will keep your high- country home warm in winter and cool in summer.

DO YOU SELL LOG HOME KITS?

We prefer to call them "packages". Different suppliers offer different components as part of the package price. LOG packages typically only provide the exterior log walls and roof structure and no dimensional framing lumber. The SIPs/Timber Frame supplier includes roof, exterior walls, interior wall framing lumber, cedar siding and windows if requested. Whisper Creek Panel Homes include the exterior walls pre-framed in 2x6 framing with the windows and siding complete with siding, chink and stain, and roof framing lumbers…but do not include decks and doors.

So, the key to understanding your package cost is understanding the components included by different suppliers and construction type. We prefer to call them "packages". Different suppliers offer different components as part of the package price. LOG packages typically only provide the exterior log walls and roof structure and no dimensional framing lumber. The SIPs/Timber Frame supplier includes roof, exterior walls, interior wall framing lumber, cedar siding and windows if requested. Whisper Creek Panel Homes include the exterior walls pre-framed in 2x6 framing with the windows and siding complete with siding, chink and stain, and roof framing lumbers…but do not include decks and doors.

So, the key to understanding your package cost is understanding the components included by different suppliers and construction type.

DO I HAVE TO USE A STOCK PLAN?

Mountain Life & Home uses a variety of resources to help get the starting plan to fit your needs. Most clients require a custom plan to fit the lot, views, access and lifestyle. Most Log and Timber Suppliers have a variety of "stock" floor plans meant for inspiration and as a guide for you to take the best features of your favorite homes. You may also submit your own plans for customization to the log company's specs. Whisper Creek Panel Homes has already done 3-5 variations of their stock plans, and because they are more of a production manufacturer, with that supplier using a stock plan with pre-determined option selections is the most efficient.

WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT TO PAY FOR MY LOG PACKAGE?

Every house is different. It is exceedingly difficult to quote price as there are so many variables on a home package. Rule of thumb in the ski resort communities is the house package makes up roughly 20-25% of the full turnkey building costs including permits, fees, site work and interior finishes.

Brian L. Wray in
Breckenridge, CO on Houzz
Brian L. Wray in
Breckenridge, CO on Houzz
Brian L. Wray in
Breckenridge, CO on Houzz
Brian L. Wray in
Breckenridge, CO on Houzz

We Service the Following Counties in Colorado, USA : 

Breckenridge & Summit County – Frisco, Silverthorne, Keystone, Copper Mountain

Steamboat & Routt County

Fairplay & Alma in Park County