How much does it cost?
Almost everyone starts by asking that question... and it drives us nuts.
That is because there is no single answer to that.
An A-frame house can be built with less than 1000 € per square meter (that's roughly $100 - $110 per square foot). This accounts for the house fully finished, excluded taxes.
We are of course talking about building with Avrame models. Building entirely on-site or with other kits would be more expensive.
IMPORTANT: the price indicated above should be taken with a grain of salt... keep reading to understand why.
The cost of a house
The overall price of a build depends on so many factors that it is practically impossible to estimate a price without drafting a detailed budget.
The cost of an A-frame kit house depends on:
- the size of the house (house kit)
- the degree of personalization (dormers, skylights, interior partition walls, ...)
- the conditions of the ground (foundation)
- the location (transport, heating/cooling, connection to utilities, special structural needs)
- the way the kit is assembled
- the period of the year when the house is built
- the quality and sophistication of interior finishes
- the quality and sophistication of exterior finishes
...and then there is the landscaping work on the property.
As you can see, giving a price indication is not easy at all and it requires some work to come up with a realistic figure that matches the requirements of a particular project.
This is why we created the Budgeting Guide (more on that later).
Now, let's see how each of the items listed above contributes to the overall cost of the build.
The size of the house
The size of the house plays a major role in the total cost of the Project.
Of course, the bigger the house the more the cost.
On the other hand, the bigger the house the smaller is the price per a given area (square meter or square foot).
This is because the building has some fixed cost or costs that change with discrete units (they do not depend on the size) that are better distributed over large structures.Example of fixed or discrete costs:
- stove or fireplace
- lighting (goes by room, not by area)
- heating and ventilation units (still depends on the area but not linearly)
- foundation (i.e. DUO100 has basically the same foundation as SOLO 100)
Currently, Avrame offers 13 different models, arranged in three series: SOLO, DUO, TRIO.
- SOLO 4.2m wide (13.8 ft), one floor
- DUO is 5.7m wide (18.7 ft), one flor + loft
- TRIO is 9.0m wide (29.5 ft), two floors
If you are interested in checking the cost of a particular kit, you can get a quote here.
The degree of personalization
Each kit can be personalized with standard options such as dormers, skylights, terraces.
Moreover, as the A-frame structure is self-supporting, interior partition walls can be moved, removed or added as per customer's wish.
Needless to say, every item that is added or changed from the basic configuration, results in a change in the overall cost.
The conditions of the ground
Groundworks are the first work to do on-site. Then come the foundation works.
The complexity and cost of groundworks and foundation depend entirely on the nature of the ground.
Sandy grounds are easy to excavate but the foundation generally needs to go deeper.
Rocky grounds are very hard to excavate but the foundation requires much less concrete.
Clay or mixed soils are fairly easy to excavate but foundation might require special adjustments to make sure it remains stable over time.
There is no way to estimate the cost of these works without a preliminary analysis of the ground on location.
Transport costs are generally in the range of 10-15% of the cost of the house kit.
However, some locations are more difficult to reach and the transport cost can be considerably higher.
The location also affects other aspects of the building: the energy and technical installations required to make it stay at a comfortable temperature throughout the year.
Some locations have extremely harsh winters while others have a scorching sun hitting the house most of the time.
The heating/cooling solutions required are different and come at a different cost.
The location might also affect the technical installations required to get running water and electricity.
In fact, in some remote areas, those utilities might not be available and one might have to go for a complete off-grid solution.
It is worth to remind that off-grid solutions have nearly zero running cost but the investment cost is considerably higher than just connecting to the network.
Finally, locations with strong wind or seismic activity might require special engineering to make the A-frame structure stiffer.
All this costs money and it is pretty much impossible to account for without an in-depth analysis.
The assembly works
Avrame homes are designed to be installed by anyone.
Most models can be built up by a two-person team.
If you choose to do the works yourself you are going to save a considerable amount of money.
However, you have to factor in the time you have to spend on the build and the possible mistakes you might make in the process.
Assembly works ca be outsourced to a local crew of builders (recommended). This will cost you a bit more but it will free you of time constraints and it will generally guarantee an error-free experience.
The last option is to outsource the entire build to an experienced general contractor.
This will make your life much easier but it will cost you a lot more than the other solutions.
The period of the year
If you outsource part of the works (or all of them), the time of the year when you build might affect the cost.
Builders are generally very busy in spring and autumn. Summer is also quite busy in mild-climate locations (summers works are slower in hotter countries).
With this in mind, scheduling your works in winter might bring you a cost advantage.
You should check with the local crew in which time of the year they are able to offer you a better deal.
The finishing works
Finishing works (either interior or exterior) can be carried out to different degrees of quality and with different materials.
A sober and economic solution is to finish the interiors with gypsum boards, then render them and paint them white.
A slightly more expensive solution would be to use wooden boarding, not painted.
One can take this to the extreme and install Italian marble floors and tiles which would cost more than the foundation works + the house kit together :)
It is more or less the same for the exterior walls... except that the amount of wall on the facade is really small... from the outside, A-frame houses are mostly roof and windows.
Windows play a big role in the comfort of the house and on the energy balance.
The windows proposed by Avrame in the standard package are very energy-efficient, although thy are PVC windows.
On can opt for more "luxury" windows and go full wood. Same energy performance, just a tiny bit more green.
At the end of the story, the materials used in the finishing can move the budged quite much. You must be careful about the decisions you make at this point.
ConclusionAs with any type of house, the cost of an A-frame house depends on a number of factors.
It is difficult to estimate the cost "at glance" and it is necessary to work out a detailed budget, including all the works you are going to perform and all the materials you are going to use.
To help you with this, we developed our Budgeting Guide.
The Guide is composed of a professional spreadsheet and a 30 pages PDF document that explains how to use the spreadsheet and which cost items to focus on.
Budgeting Guide is a paid product but it is well worth the $69 you pay to get it.
NB: with the Guide, you get access to Avrame private Facebook Group, where people like you are free to discuss their project and share thoughts, issue and images.