FAQ

1. What do you guys do?

We sell house plans and provide construction services. Please see our Digital Brochure. We have a plan selection ranging from ADU’s (Accessory Dwelling Units) to Primary Residences. They can be stand alone or attached to existing residences as additions. The plans have been priced for installation here in Charleston, SC and Charlotte, NC. Architectural and structural engineering has been completed, but as with all house plans, regardless of origin, they will need to stamped by a licensed structural engineer to confirm code compliance for the specific lot on which they are to be built. HIAB structural engineers are available for many areas. Contact cbharmon@houseinabox.com for details.

2. What do they cost?

The price for each unit based on specific materials and foundation type completed through close-in inspection, is shown on our website. We’ve compiled spread sheets for all our unit types that we are installing here in the Charleston, SC / Charlotte, NC markets. We included pricing for two different material specifications. They can be reviewed in our Premier Collection, which comprises builder grade materials, and our Superior Collection, which includes upgraded materials comparable to a “custom” builder home. As an example, see the link for our 555 Cascade and open the spreadsheet PDF’s. Specific activities are listed in the far left column with corresponding turnkey costs to the right. We have included all units for clients to review. Find the units that most interest you and scroll to the bottom to find the approximate cost to build in the Coastal Carolina market. This can be used as a general guideline for pricing in other markets. The final cost of the project will be determined when all exterior and interior finishes and fixtures have been chosen.

3. Do the costs on the spreadsheets apply to all areas of the country?

No, our costs on the spreadsheets reflect turnkey pricing for Charleston, SC, and Charlotte, NC, installed pricing only. They are meant as general comparison guidelines for all other areas.

4. Are these houses modular or prefabs?

No. All our homes are stick-built on site, no different from any custom home construction. We do use EWP (engineered wood product) floor systems and roof trusses. Our exterior walls are 2” x 6” studs and interior walls are framed with 2” x 4” studs. All our units are secured by in ground foundations and are zoning and building code compliant for use as free standing primary or secondary units (accessory dwelling unit) or connected to an existing residence as an addition.

5. Does the House in a Box product actually come in a crate?

No, the “Box” to which we refer is your computer. With the purchase of our plans, we transfer all the information to build a house at Contractor Cost without expensive shipping fees directly to your computer. Materials can be sourced locally and the plans and takeoffs are transferred from our Box (computer) to yours in seconds, regardless of your location.

6. What’s the purpose of a Study Set of plans? Why would I need a Study Set?

Our study plans are the actual architectural design plans. They allow the purchaser to review all the room layouts, dimensions, and cross sections to make sure they meet all design criteria prior to making the larger investment for the full set of architectural/structural plans. Design modification and customizing can be accomplished by our plan designer after full set purchase.  See Affiliates.

7. Do you assist me beyond the plan purchase?

We are always available to discuss your project, whether we do the installation or it’s done by others.

8. What does “permit ready” mean?

“Permit ready” means that your plan has been reviewed and certified/stamped by a locally licensed professional engineer to comply with local codes and site conditions for your specific building site. Check with us to determine in which states our structural engineers are licensed. We can make CADD drawings available to the engineer of your choice, subject to liability release.

9. How long does it take to build a unit?

It takes approximately 11 weeks from issuance of building permit to completion of the Shell Installation at Close In Inspection. This is a rough estimate since every project will be unique and is subject to subcontractor availability and local market conditions. See our Installation Agreement PDF in the Brochure, Page 2, for a sample schedule.

10. What are the "scopes of work" for the different suppliers and subcontractors on the spread sheets?

“Scope of work” describes the materials and labor included in the Activities Column shown on the spreadsheets for the Premier and Superior Collection PDF’s. Our pricing is predicated on turnkey cost which means installed cost for materials and labor. See our Brochure, Page 2, for all PDF’s.

11. What does “at Cost” mean?

“At Cost” means the actual price our suppliers and subcontractors charge for materials or to do turnkey installation work. Any fees paid to HIAB or Affiliates is shown as a separate line item on the spreadsheet. For transparency, we include an explanation of our markup in our Installation Agreement if our services are engaged.

12. What does “Turnkey” mean?

Turnkey, when applied to a contractor’s scope of work, means that the cost quoted includes all materials and labor needed to complete a particular task involved in the building process.

13. Are there contractor warranties?

Yes, when we do the installation work. They are described in our Installation Agreement PDF. See Brochure, Page 2.

14. The Installation Agreement is unlike other contracts I have reviewed. Why?

Our Installation Agreement was designed to allow our plan purchasers within the install area who are not Professional Builders to act as their own General Contractor for permitting purposes on their own property, and then have our licensed Contractor assist them during the construction process. Review the Installation Agreement in our Brochure, Page 2.

15. Why is the number, 555 Cascade, not the actual square footage of the house? Why is it different from what shows on the Summary?

The numerical designation represents the approximate square footage at the time of the concept design. Once the final architectural/structural drawings were completed, the exact dimensions were applied to drawings. See Brochure, Sq. Ft. Summary, Page 2.

16. What’s the difference between the Premier Collection and the Superior Collection?

The Premier Collection includes “builder grade materials,” such as Owens Corning Oak Ridge architectural roof shingles, Jeld Wen single-hung windows, Neuma and Therma Tru doors, and Mastic Ovation Series Vinyl Siding. The higher level, custom quality, Superior Collection includes 26 gauge standing seam metal roof, Hardie Plank siding, Jeld Wen Casement windows, and Rogue Valley doors. The roof and floor trusses and the framing materials are exactly the same in each collection per the Structural Plans.

17. Can I have any builder do the construction work?

Yes! You are welcome to do the work yourself or have another builder using his contractors complete the installation. With the purchase of our plans, you will receive a permission letter allowing you to build one unit for personal use.

18. Can I do the installation myself?

Yes, or you may select your own contractors.

19. Can the plans be customized and who does that for me?

All our plans can be customized to meet client’s design criteria. Clients work directly with our Plan and Land Designer. See our Affiliates for available services at. Also, review our digital brochure PDF’s for the process to accomplish modifications.

20. What does “point of build” mean?

It refers to the area of the country, city, and state in which the plan purchaser intends to build. This could be different from where a plan purchaser currently lives.

21. When you say “our supplier” who are you talking about?

We have used a local supplier here in Charleston, SC, that has outlets across the country to price the materials in our shell packages. When a plan purchaser is outside our install area, we will arrange for our purchaser to meet with a representative of the supplier’s company nearest their point of build, if one exists, in order to supply local pricing.

22. Can the exterior materials be changed so it looks like my house?

Yes. See Affiliate services from our Plan and Land Designer.

23. Are there discounts for multiple plan use purchasers?

Yes. Please email cbharmon@houseinabox.com, or call toll free, 888-342- 9079. All messages and contacts will be returned promptly. If you do not hear back from an email contact in 24 hours, be sure to check your SPAM folder.

24. What is “Green” about your plans and house types?

Smaller units have environmentally friendly footprints. Unit combinations allow for utilities to be turned off when secondary living quarters are not in use, saving valuable resources. Exterior walls are 2” x 6” for R-18 fiberglass batt insulation or foam spray insulation. The roof truss system allows for R-36 batt fiberglass insulation. The Shell Package allows for the units to be outfitted with the latest “Green” finishes chosen by the plan purchaser.