How much does it cost to build a house?

With each choice you make, you can reduce your costs on housing exponentially and thus, leave more money for living, traveling or buying that new car you've had your eye on.


Do you know the saying "building a home is higher mathematics"?


Based on the amount of information you are supposed to work through when making a decision, the saying is accurate - only by carefully analyzing every detail can you be sure of a successful deal. Needless to say: the salesmen are people too, so the more you know, the better it is.




Transporting elements of prefab home by Elumaja LLC in Tartu Estonia.

Do your homework!

The best (and the simplest) way to get a feel for the potential price of your home (an approximate square footage price) is to look around in your neighborhood: ask around, consult real estate brokers (consultation is usually free), ask your friends, search the web - the more insight you have, the better deal you are likely to make.
After you have calculated an average square footage cost, you will multiply that cost by the finished square footage of your house plan to get a rough estimate. Simple as pie!

Assembly of first spatial unit of prefab home by Elumaja LLC.

An easy and a fast way to get the idea about costs is to compare your future house price with the new houses on sale in your area. Look at newly constructed homes that are similar in size, style, quality, and features to the home you want. Take the price of the home, deduct the price of the land, and divide that amount by the square footage of the home. More exact method would be calculating a construction budget item-by-item.
Here’s a budget template to help you out.

Go to the source (no middle-men)


It's a well-known fact, but the more middle-men you use the higher the price will be. Easy, right? Not really!

On average, a person uses about 3 to 4  different middle-men to get a product or a service. A solution to this is simple. For example, instead of going to a supermarket to get all of your groceries (dairy products, meat, veggies), you could visit local farmers to get the stuff. By doing so, you'll 'cut out' the purchasing managers, transportation and the grocery stores themselves, reducing the price of your food at the same time.

The same applies to housing. You could buy a fully furnished house and just worry about moving in. Or you could buy house plans off the internet (there are many such sites on the web) and let a local contractor build it.

Or you could build a house yourself. If DIY is a mystical combination of letters that makes no sense to you whatsoever, try building a greenhouse. It really is that easy!

By the way: buying stuff from the source (manufacturer) is the next big thing!

Less is more


The most expensive areas in a home are the bathrooms and the kitchens: the number of windows and/or doors their size and quality can and will also affect the cost. as can vaulted ceilings and high roof pitches.

Long story short: many houses are just too "bling" having excess features or elements, that will drain money during the construction and after you have moved in.

Assembling second unit of prefab home by Elumaja LLC.

In different parts of the world the housing culture varies a lot: in Scandinavia, for example, people are interested in a more natural living, focusing on keeping the costs down and the environment clean. Other parts of the world still seem to be hooked on the notion, that bigger is better. In terms of showing off, yes - that is exactly right. But in terms of living?

If you have a house that is expensive to build (mortgage) and expensive to maintain (time&money), how come is that an investment for you and your family? It seems more of an investment for the banks and/or real-estate developers, not you?

The truth is, a house can be built for less than $35,000 and at the same time, it can cost more than $3,500,000 - it's all up to you.

Just remember: a good home doesn't have to be expensive, but an expensive home doesn't have to be good.

Photos by Tiit Sild
Indrek Kuldkepp
19.05.16

Estonians And Lithuanians Win Prefabricated Wooden House Architecture Competition March 24, 2015

The winners of the architecture competition organized by web-based architecture marketplace Katus.eu for prefabricated wooden houses were announced on monday, 23th of March at the Solaris Centre. The winning design for the Stavanger development site in Norway came from Estonian architecture firm ARS Projekt (Rasmus Tamme, Reio Raudsepp, Rene Safin, Evelin Eelmaa, Joonas Saan, Kristjan Männigo, Kristina Oolu, Karolin Kõll) and the winning design for the Ülenurme site near Tartu, Estonia came from the Lithuanian firm Paleka Archstudija (Rolandas Palekas, Dalia Zakaite, Mantas Skirmantas).



The international architecture competition drew 47 entries from 21 countries, the furthest of which came from Taiwan, Australia and the United States. The competition was organized by web-based architecture marketplace www.katus.eu in conjunction with timber house manufacturers Nurban AS and Kodumaja Kinnisvaraarenduse OÜ. The competition was announced last autumn with the goal of finding modern, smart and attractive solutions for two development sites: Svertingstad Gård near Stavanger, Norway and Ülenurme near Tartu, Estonia. The jury selected three winning entries for both the Norwegian as well as the Estonian sites.

 

The main organizer of the competition, Tiit Sild, and his web-based architecture marketplace katus.eu is focused on the idea of making our living environment better. "I believe that there is no reason why a prefabricated house shouldn’t also be a prime example of modern architecture,” Sild said. “An architecture competition was a good opportunity to inspire architects to create modern designs for prefabricated houses out of the most popular construction material in Estonia – wood. Estonia has become Europe’s largest timber house exporter, which gives us the prime opportunity to become a ringleader in the modern architecture and design of wooden houses.”

 

Margus Pauts, member of the jury and Managing Director of timber element and modular house manufacturer Nurban AS says that he’s very satisfied with the results of the competition:  “We’re looking for the kinds of houses that people would really want to live in. And I can assure you that the competition was a success because we found just such designs.” Another jury member, Lembit Lump of Kodumaja AS, added that there were many competition entries that he found architecturally intriguing, which accounted for the manufacturing capabilities of the Estonian timber industry.

 

Svertingstad Gård, Norway

 

1st place: 5000€, design NIHE - ARS Projekt OÜ (Rasmus Tamme, Reio Raudsepp, Rene Safin, Evelin Eelmaa, Joonas Saan, Kristjan Männigo, Kristina Oolu, Karolin Kõll) – Estonia (on upper picture left)

 

2nd place: 3500€, design WOODY - 3+1 Architects (Gert Guriev, Markus Kaasik, Riin Kersalu, Kerstin Kivila, Taavi Lõoke, Mihkel Meriste, Andres Ojari, Ilmar Valdur) – Estonia

 

3rd place: 2000€, design RHC1PA - Anna Zukowska Architecture Studio, Maciej Žukowski – Poland

 

Ülenurme, Estonia

1st place: 4000€, key word PRIVATE CIRCLE, Paleka Archstudija (Rolandas Palekas, Dalia Zakaite, Mantas Skirmantas) – Lithuania (on second picture left)

 

2nd place: 2500€, key word SEE, Karisma Arhitektid (Risto Parve, Kai Süda, Margit Valma) – Estonia

 

3rd place: 1500€: key word TRFGHM, Gianluca Pelizzi Pelizziarchitettura – Italy

 

VELUX special mention for best use of roof lighting: 700€, key word BOK-BOK, Veljko Armano Linta, Ana Armano Linta, David Azinović, Ivana Ćavar – Croatia

 

Jury special mention: key word POSTBARN, raumspielkunst Architectural Design & Concepts, Florian Lachenmann – Germany

 

The prize money will be paid out to winner by the Estonian Cultural Endowment and they will be contacted by the competition organizers within 15 days.

 

The competition works will be on display on the second floor of the Solaris Centre, in front of the Apollo bookstore until April 5th.

 

The architecture competition was supported by the Estonian Cultural Endowment, the Estonian Ministry of Culture, Velux, Q-Haus, Fenestra, the Tartu City Government, the Enterprise Department of the Tallinn City Government, entertainment centre Solaris, the Estonian Centre of Architecture, the Norwegian-Estonian Chamber of Commerce, Puukeskus, the Estonian Woodhouse Association and the Enterprise Estonia Regional Development Fund

 

A web gallery of competition works can be seen here.

 

Katus.eu is a web-based architecture marketplace what strives to improve our living environment by bringing together the best of high-quality, modern design with the manufacturers of prefabricated houses. The designs on our website are available to all first-rate house manufacturers.

 

Additional information:

Tiit Sild

Katus.eu

+372 55 601 425

tiit.sild@katus.eu

Tiit Sild
25.03.15

WINNERS ANNOUNCED FOR THE KATUS.EU WEB-BASED ARCHITECTURE MARKETPLACE’S COMPETITION FOR PREFABRICATED HOUSES

Winners are announced for the prefabricated house architecture competition organised by Estonian web-based architecture marketplace start-up katus.eu. The jury was especially happy with the wide range of countries participating in the competition – there were entries from 21 countries, including Taiwan, Australia and the US.



 Last autumn, Estonian web-based architecture marketplace start-up katus.eu, in cooperation with prefabricated house builders Nurban and Kodumaja, announced the competition for the design of modern prefabricated houses for sites in Stavanger, Norway and Ülenurme near Tartu, Estonia. The jury of the competition selected three winning designs for both the Norwegian and Estonian sites. 
 
"Our aim was to engage architects in developing contemporary concepts for building with wood – Estonia is the no 1 exporter of wooden houses in Europe and we also want to be  the driving force in great contemporary architecture and design, when it comes to prefabricated houses. With the competition, we were looking for buildings that are contemporary and of high quality, yet low cost and easy to assemble," said Tiit Sild, CEO of katus.eu. 
 
Margus Pauts, member of the jury and Managing Director of timber element and modular house makers Nurban was happy with the results of the competution: “I can say without doubt that we found designs we will be able to put in production and build – houses that people would love to have.” Another jury member and Chairman of the Board of Kodumaja, Lembit Lump, added that the competition received several entries which were both attractive architecturally and were at the same time especially suitable for production using the full potential of Estonian prefab house factories. 
 

Winning entries for the Svertingstad Gård area near Stavanger, Norway:

  • 1st Prize: Nihe (best terraced house)
  • 2nd Prize: Woody (best apartment building)
  • 3rd Prize: Rhc1pa

Winning entries for the Ülenurme area in Estonia:

Velux Award for the best use of skylight in a house: Bok-Bok

Special Mention by Jury: Postbarn
The authors of the winning entries will be revealed on March 23rd 17:00 at the opening ceremony of the exhibition at Solaris Centre, introducing the best works from the competition. Online gallery of entries can be found here.

You can download the jury protocol here.

Katus.eu is a web-based platform for good modern architecture with the aim of introducing quality architecture to prefabricated home manufactures, thus improving our living environment. Katus.eu provides customers with pre-designed houses conceived by promising architects coupled with the expertise and experience of reliable manufacturers.

The competition was organised by Katus.eu, Nurban AS and Kodumaja Kinnisvara Arenduse OÜ and supported by Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Estonian Ministry of Culture, Velux, Q-Haus, Woodland Homes, Fenestra, Tartu City Government, Tallinn City Department of Enterprise, Department Store Solaris Centre and the Estonian Centre of Architecture.


Contact

Tiit Sild Katus.eu CEO Phone: +372 55 601 425 E-mail: tiit.sild@katus.eu
Tiit Sild
11.02.15

The qualification committee has done it's work.

  1. We thank all the architects who decided to participate in the prefab home competition! You have been putting a lot of effort into this, now it 's our turn.



  1. We have reviewed 47 competition entries (including one which arrived on 6-th of February, after the work of the qualification committee had begun, during one of the working days of the jury). Most of the proposals were qualified, including those arriving late and those with some missing documents we received later by email. All together 45 entries. By now jury has worked a lot, and has to  finish last details in protocol. The jury came into final judgement by consensus. Soon we will announce the winning proposal keywords. The authors behind the keywords will be revealed at the exhibition of the works.


You can download the qualification committee protocol here.
Tiit Sild
07.02.15

Estonian web-based architecture marketplace announces architecture competition for a prefabricated house to be built to Stavanger

Estonian web-based architecture marketplace start-up katus.eu, in cooperation with prefabricated house builders Nurban and Kodumaja, is announcing a competition for the design of modern prefabricated houses for sites in Stavanger, Norway and Ülenurme near Tartu, Estonia.



“With the help of internationally renowned architects from all over Europe we hope to gather progressive ideas in building with wood and achieve buildings that are contemporary and of high quality, yet low cost and easy and cheap to assemble,” said Tiit Sild, CEO of katus.eu. The overall aim of the competition is to expand the knowledge of architects and prefabricated house producers and therefore increase the export capability of participating architects. The target groups of the competition are real estate developers and architects.


The prize fund for the competition is 19 200€. In addition to that, participating architects and architecture offices are offered the opportunity to use katus.eu as a selling tool and marketing platform for their work.


Competition is focussed on two areas, Svertingstad Gård near Stavanger in Norway and Ülenurme in Estonia. Competition categories are row (terraced) houses and apartment houses, both set in different countries and different contexts. The houses will be manufactured by Estonian developers and marketed mainly to Estonia and Norway, but also to other markets. Estonia is the no 1 exporter of wooden houses in Europe with an annual sales volume of over 200 m€. Nearly 90% of the total production is sold outside Estonia, the main target markets being Scandinavia, Germany, and the UK, with partners reaching as far as Japan, South Africa and South Korea.


The competition brief can be downloaded from www.katus.eu/competition. Deadline for the competition is 26 January 2015. Winners of the competition will be announced in February 2015.


Katus.eu is a web-based platform for good modern architecture with the aim of introducing quality architecture to prefabricated home manufactures, thus improving our living environment. We provide our customers with pre-designed houses conceived by promising architects coupled with the expertise and experience of reliable manufacturers.


The competition is supported by Nurban AS, Kodumaja AS, Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Estonian Ministry of Culture, Velux AS, Q-Haus OÜ, Woodland Homes OÜ, Fenestra AS, Tartu City Government, Tallinn City Department of Enterprise, department store Solaris and the Estonian Centre of Architecture.


Contact:

Tiit Sild
Katus.eu CEO
Phone: +372 55 601 425

E-mail: tiit.sild@katus.eu 
www.katus.eu

Martin McLean
08.10.14


Solar Decathlon

 The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.  


 About Solar Decathlon Enlarge image Enlarge image Solar Decathlon 2013 will be held at Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California. (Top photo courtesy of the Orange County Great Park Corp.)
The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is an award-winning program that challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.
The first Solar Decathlon was held in 2002; the competition has since occurred biennially in 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2011. 
 
The next event will take place Oct. 3–13, 2013, at Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California. The competition houses will be open to visitors on eight days over two weekends. Public hours will be from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily:
Thursday, Oct. 3–Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013 Thursday, Oct. 10–Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013. See the tentative site map. 
 
Open to the public free of charge, the Solar Decathlon gives visitors the opportunity to tour the houses, gather ideas to use in their own homes, and learn how energy-saving features can help them save money today. 
 
Purpose The Solar Decathlon:
Educates students and the public about the money-saving opportunities and environmental benefits presented by clean-energy products and design solutions
Demonstrates to the public the comfort and affordability of homes that combine energy-efficient construction and appliances with renewable energy systems available today
Provides participating students with unique training that prepares them to enter our nation's clean-energy workforce. 
 
Impact Since 2002, the Solar Decathlon has:
Involved 112 collegiate teams, which pursued a multidisciplinary approach to study the requirements for designing and building energy-efficient, solar-powered houses
Established a worldwide reputation as a successful educational program and workforce development opportunity for thousands of students
Affected the lives of nearly 17,000 collegiate participants
Expanded to currently include 65 participating teams and nearly 10,000 students in three competitions around the world: Solar Decathlon Europe 2012, Solar Decathlon China 2013, and the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013 
 
Educated the public about the benefits, affordability, and availability of clean energy solutions by generating widespread media coverage and harnessing digital tools to reach tens of millions of people. 
 
In 2011, the Solar Decathlon:
  1. Provided more than 350,000 house visits to the public over 10 days 
Offered 31 workshops onsite for the public and held a dedicated day of six workshops for builders and industry
Reached millions of readers and viewers in markets across the globe through various media.
 
source: www.solardecathlon.gov
Henn Runnel
04.07.13