Author Topic: Building a small transition shelter?  (Read 1415 times)

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Offline gishidesu

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Building a small transition shelter?
« on: January 21, 2019, 10:42:39 AM »
We are eager to build our own house and have considered kits in the past but we don't have that kind of money yet. A part of our strategy to get there within a realistic amount of time is to remove mortgage/rent from our expenses. So we are thinking of purchasing land without restrictions and building a small transition shelter to live in for a few years. This would be for a young family with 2 parents, 2 kids, 2 goats, 2 dogs and a cat (and the other cat if it wants to come with us).

We've looked at the following ideas so far:


Does anybody have experience with this or have any advice? Our current budget is $25k and we are considering using $11k for 1.7 acres of unrestricted land leaving $14k for the structure.

Mike

Offline Redoverfarm

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Re: Building a small transition shelter?
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2019, 11:32:29 AM »
Mike I would consider a barn structure.  You can finish off a portion for living quarters and leave a portion for storage, workshop, garage or what ever.  If this is temporary then remember to keep it simple but comfortable.  A loft can be added which would not expand the ground floor space. Septic & Well can be situated so that it can be transitioned to the main house at a later date.  In addition to giving you temporary housing it would also give you an opportunity to fine tune or develop your carpentry skills so when the time comes you will be more comfortable with the building process.  Good Luck

Offline gishidesu

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Re: Building a small transition shelter?
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2019, 03:06:20 PM »
Thanks John,

I really like the idea of the portion for a workshop, etc. We had an idea to start with a 10'x20' shed to protect materials/equipment that might be extended later as a carport and could act as a mini-barn. Then after that building a 14'x24' cabin next to or near by the shed. But if we can just have a single barn structure that would be preferable. I'm still reading up on best practices for protecting materials/equipment.

The idea on the septic and well is great! If sized and sited right I guess they could be shared with both structures.

Thanks!!
Mike

Offline Redoverfarm

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Re: Building a small transition shelter?
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2019, 03:28:33 PM »
Just a couple additional thoughts. Actually you can make the barn longer in that the storage area will just have a roof and sides when in comparison to finished space is really cheap.

I would put a lot of thought into its placement on the property leaving the most desirable portion for your home placement.  I can’t tell you how many times I have seen similar situations where a work shop or garage is using the best location and the house is shoved off to the side being the only space available then. Happens mostly with Mobil homes which are suppose to be temporary but occupies the best part of the real estate.

Not sure where you are or what geographic location but would a larger camper fit the bill?  Sometimes a good used larger camper can be purchased real reasonable. Take that with a well, septic and power and you would be set.  Not so much if you have to battle a cold climate.  A oversized shed roof can be used to protect the camper as well giving you storage

Just food for thought.

Offline gishidesu

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Re: Building a small transition shelter?
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2019, 04:46:29 PM »
We are in East Texas, so the cold should be tolerable. What you describe was actually our original plan, but we got into an RV too soon and had to sell it for lack of affordable land that met our requirements. A hard lesson learned.

That's not going to stop us though! ;D

We'll price out both strategies of a barn and shed+cabin combo and see what would work.

Offline Dave Sparks

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Re: Building a small transition shelter?
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2019, 07:51:09 AM »
Also think about a trailer inside the barn. I have done this for some of my offgrid clients while they got ready to build. In your climate it would be fairly comfortable and a fast move-in.

You can build a southwall solar air heater that should keep the barn nice in winter. With solar photovoltaic it will save the utility and their costs,
if your area has reasonable building codes. It usually is a neighbor that makes this a problem BTW.  Good luck !
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Offline gishidesu

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Re: Building a small transition shelter?
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2019, 09:12:42 PM »
Hi Dave, great ideas, thanks! I'm pretty interested in that solar air heater. A solar chimney too.

We're concerned a trailer would eat up too much of our budget, so we thought of putting up some curtains for room dividers, or using tents, if going the barn route.

Offline river place

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Re: Building a small transition shelter?
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2019, 12:32:56 PM »
We put an RV on our place for us however we also built inside a barn which I think is a good way to go as others have mentioned.

30 x 30 barn minimum  (our barn is 30 x 40).  Use 15 x 30 area for living space as it gives you plenty to build out. 

We had a pole barn put up for 12K (no concrete) if I recall correctly with 12 walls and insulated roof.  We also had big doors installed in 3 sides with the one with the room having a standard 3 ft door.

I marked out all plumbing at the living end then had a concrete floor poured in that area.  We then built 2x4 walls with 1/2 foam under the OSB with 2x12 ceiling.  This gives plenty of insulation and with it inside the barn it takes little to heat and cool.

Make sure you don't forget the other doors in the 3 sides as they allow cross flow ventilation to get our of the sun and work in the barn in the non living area.  We have since put concrete in the entire barn.

We used National barn out of Tulsa and great to work with.

After 10 years, we just had dirt work done to start for a 1 and half story house based on the plans we bought here.  They had to take off the top soil then back fill with a rock gravel based as the site slopes off 3 feet.  Letting it further settle after the dozer compacted it in layers.






Offline Don_P

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Re: Building a small transition shelter?
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2019, 05:11:59 PM »
You can also build a "core" and add on later. I like the final look of the old H shaped house. One end wing, two stories, Bedrooms above. Then an intersecting T addition, ending there if needed, or, finally another end wing. The porches enclosed in the hollows of the H are protected, pretty much whatever the orientation one or the other is in the shade, one in the sun. I'm equally fond of a dogtrot, Two independent buildings built one at a time with an open covered porch between them.




Offline azgreg

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Re: Building a small transition shelter?
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2019, 03:35:01 AM »
You can also build a "core" and add on later. I like the final look of the old H shaped house. One end wing, two stories, Bedrooms above. Then an intersecting T addition, ending there if needed, or, finally another end wing. The porches enclosed in the hollows of the H are protected, pretty much whatever the orientation one or the other is in the shade, one in the sun. I'm equally fond of a dogtrot, Two independent buildings built one at a time with an open covered porch between them.

Love dogtrots. I wish the pics were still there in this thread. https://countryplans.com/smf/index.php?topic=2983.0

Offline akwoodchuck

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Re: Building a small transition shelter?
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2019, 08:36:12 AM »
Mobile home?
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Offline gishidesu

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Re: Building a small transition shelter?
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2019, 10:15:12 AM »
...
30 x 30 barn minimum  (our barn is 30 x 40).  Use 15 x 30 area for living space as it gives you plenty to build out. 
...

We were thinking we could fit into 24'x14' for the living space (+ loft), but it's all on paper. Could you elaborate on why 30'x30'/15'x30' is your minimum recommendation?

You can also build a "core" and add on later. I like the final look of the old H shaped house. One end wing, two stories, Bedrooms above. Then an intersecting T addition, ending there if needed, or, finally another end wing. The porches enclosed in the hollows of the H are protected, pretty much whatever the orientation one or the other is in the shade, one in the sun. I'm equally fond of a dogtrot, Two independent buildings built one at a time with an open covered porch between them.
Love dogtrots. I wish the pics were still there in this thread. https://countryplans.com/smf/index.php?topic=2983.0

We did consider connecting to the next build by a covered walkway. So a dog trot or H-shape is worth a closer look. Thanks!

Mobile home?

A while back our family had respiratory illness due to the OSB/Formaldehyde in the RV. Some time after that we went and checked out a manufactured housing outlet and discovered similar construction materials/methods. Because of that experience, and other lessons learned in the RV, we are hesitant to consider mobile homes.


Offline NathanS

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Re: Building a small transition shelter?
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2019, 02:45:24 PM »
Living in Texas might make a small space a little more tolerable because you can be outside for most of the year.

I would just say to be cautious and realistic with your budget. Well+septic+electric could easily cost $14k.

I certainly think how nice it would be to have a workshop for building all our cabinets and many other things. At the same time, I am glad I did not put all that energy into building something before even starting to build the house. It is a multi-year marathon, give yourself every chance to succeed.

Also spend some time learning what type of code enforcement exists in your area. Around here we had to have an engineered septic system designed before even submitting our plans. Similarly there are requirements for running water.

Offline gishidesu

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Re: Building a small transition shelter?
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2019, 05:50:06 PM »
Living in Texas might make a small space a little more tolerable because you can be outside for most of the year.

I would just say to be cautious and realistic with your budget. Well+septic+electric could easily cost $14k.

I certainly think how nice it would be to have a workshop for building all our cabinets and many other things. At the same time, I am glad I did not put all that energy into building something before even starting to build the house. It is a multi-year marathon, give yourself every chance to succeed.

Also spend some time learning what type of code enforcement exists in your area. Around here we had to have an engineered septic system designed before even submitting our plans. Similarly there are requirements for running water.

Yeah, cost is a real issue, but we're committed to make it work however we can without going into any crippling debt, even if we have to sit and save a while. Thankfully the property we are currently looking at has water and electric available for connection. Most often when we find desirable undeveloped land there's not enough money left over to get started on the house after the cost of getting land/power/well. The last property we found like that we were looking at 13k for a 400' well so we had to let that one go.

We're excited about this current one though. But right now it's all about saving up, planning, reading books, watching videos, and, just like you mentioned, spending time on learning the codes/restrictions.

This week we're budgeting log kit options and practicing more with QGIS and Inkscape for laying out sites.

Offline Don_P

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Re: Building a small transition shelter?
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2019, 03:57:28 AM »
A kit supplier is simply another type of building supply service, you are also paying them for aggregating the parts and getting them to you, although they may buy in quantity and in the case of log can manufacture a specialty material, generally that carries a cost. Trucking from a kit supplier also can add up. I can buy just the logs from a couple of nearby operations and put together my own "kit" but shipping a truckload of logs from here wouldn't be cheap.

Offline JRR

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Re: Building a small transition shelter?
« Reply #15 on: January 29, 2019, 10:27:19 AM »
I have seen more than one family essentially build and live in a finished walk-in basement while waiting for a later chance to complete the home.  The covering (temporary roof) style has varied ... some opting for a rather flat roll roofing (or so it appeared), to a slightly sloped corrugated metal cover.   The metal lends itself to being reused later. 

I must say all the examples that I know of have resulted in completed homes in later years.  Good luck with your plans!

Offline MountainDon

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Re: Building a small transition shelter?
« Reply #16 on: January 29, 2019, 01:55:00 PM »
We have friends who were able to build the three car garage portion of their plan first and live in it while they built the actual house. That takes a very cooperative building department, I think they were lucky.
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn’t mean it is good design.

Offline gishidesu

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Re: Building a small transition shelter?
« Reply #17 on: January 30, 2019, 07:52:40 AM »
A kit supplier is simply another type of building supply service, you are also paying them for aggregating the parts and getting them to you, although they may buy in quantity and in the case of log can manufacture a specialty material, generally that carries a cost. Trucking from a kit supplier also can add up. I can buy just the logs from a couple of nearby operations and put together my own "kit" but shipping a truckload of logs from here wouldn't be cheap.

Ah you are right, we got ahead of ourselves and started looking at the kit level to compare between different frame types but it's going to include overhead that would skew the comparisons. By "kit" we're trying to look at only the raw materials. So we need to make a list of what we expect to need first and then price it out by hand for each build type we're considering.

We have one log supply 25 miles away and another 85 miles away. But we should be able to get lumber 5 miles away for a light-frame build instead.

I have seen more than one family essentially build and live in a finished walk-in basement while waiting for a later chance to complete the home.  The covering (temporary roof) style has varied ... some opting for a rather flat roll roofing (or so it appeared), to a slightly sloped corrugated metal cover.   The metal lends itself to being reused later. 

I must say all the examples that I know of have resulted in completed homes in later years.  Good luck with your plans!

Thanks! That's a neat idea and the property does have a little slope to work with.

We have friends who were able to build the three car garage portion of their plan first and live in it while they built the actual house. That takes a very cooperative building department, I think they were lucky.

This property would be outside city limits and the county fire marshal in charge of building codes/permits hasn't restricted a phased approach.

Offline ChugiakTinkerer

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Re: Building a small transition shelter?
« Reply #18 on: January 30, 2019, 03:05:12 PM »
I have seen more than one family essentially build and live in a finished walk-in basement while waiting for a later chance to complete the home.  The covering (temporary roof) style has varied ... some opting for a rather flat roll roofing (or so it appeared), to a slightly sloped corrugated metal cover.   The metal lends itself to being reused later. 

I must say all the examples that I know of have resulted in completed homes in later years.  Good luck with your plans!

My brother did this with the place he built in Alaska.  Worked out great except the flat roof he opted for leaked a small bit.  No noticeable leaks, but when he went to start building the ground floor he tore off the roofing only to find mold and rot.  Ended up having to replace his center beam and half of his joists.
My cabin build thread: Alaskan remote 16x28 1.5 story

Offline Don_P

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Re: Building a small transition shelter?
« Reply #19 on: January 30, 2019, 03:14:39 PM »
One other issue there is that at some point you have to uncover the floor and run for the roof.

Offline gishidesu

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Re: Building a small transition shelter?
« Reply #20 on: January 30, 2019, 10:16:29 PM »
Here's my take so far based on the feedback:

Transition Shelter FeaturesBarnCore of house/Half dog trotMobile home/RVWalk-in basementGarageSmall Cabin/MiL SuiteShipping Container(s)
Can be used for staging tools and materials and as workshop during transitionYesNoNoMaybeMaybeNoMaybe
Can be used as garage for final homeYesNoNoNo/Maybe?YesNoNo?
Develops/refines building skills separately from final homeYesNoNoNoYes/NoYesMaybe
Can use existing RV/Trailer inside it for living quartersYesNoNoNoMaybeNoNo
Could count toward final living square footagePartiallyYesNoYesPartially/YesYesYes
No construction neededNoNoYesNoNoNoNo
Reduces number of structures and amount of acreage usedNoYesYesYesYesNoMaybe
Doesn't require rework on transition structure to build final homeYesMaybe?YesNoMaybeYesMaybe

Thanks!
Mike

Offline MushCreek

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Re: Building a small transition shelter?
« Reply #21 on: February 02, 2019, 02:14:46 AM »
Looks like the barn wins. I started out (alone) in an elderly pop-up. I quickly got the barn up (28x48), and moved the pop-up into the barn. That was 'home' while I built the house. My wife was only a visitor until the house was dried in. The barn also served (and still does) as storage when we sold our old house, and the new house wasn't ready for furnishings. We could have finished off the loft in the barn and just lived there, but my wife insisted on a house- go figure!

I still haven't finished the inside of the barn. Plans are to wall off 2/3's of it and use it as a shop, and make the other third into a great room/guest house with a 22' ceiling. There's already a bathroom out there, so once it's finished, out-of-town guests can have their own private quarters.
Jay

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Offline gishidesu

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Re: Building a small transition shelter?
« Reply #22 on: February 15, 2019, 07:24:46 AM »
I think it's worth following up here that our decision ended up being to continue saving money and get into an existing structure with the savings that we do have (mobile/old home). This fixes the primary issue of mortgage/rent although some amount may be put into repairs for an existing structure. We'll revisit in 7-10 years and try again!

Thanks for all the feedback.
Mike

 

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