The Beginning of Kit Homes
Continental Kit Homes
THE BEGINNING OF KIT HOMES...
Since the turn of the century, companies like Sears & Roebucks and Montgomery Wards have been providing kit homes. They dominated the market from 1908 to 1940. You could just look in their catalog and buy what you want. And in a few weeks, your home arrives to your building site. Sears financed new lumber mills and a large architectural staff to produce their kit homes. Meanwhile Montgomery Wards subcontracted their homes to lumber mills and used catalogues to market their homes.
Later companies like Aladdin, Lewis-Liberty, Pacific Homes, Harris Brothers, Sterling and Bennett began to produce mail order kit homes. The competition and the new technology grew rapidly. This later put an end to Sears and Montgomery Ward’s mail order kit homes. Sears kit homes went out of business for two reasons. The great depression killed the economy. And Sears didn’t have the ability to change with the times. Now the consumers wanted houses with more complex designs in their elevations. They also wanted street façades. And most importantly, consumers wanted open floor plans with great rooms and modern day kitchens. But that was yesterday! Today, we would like to introduce you to the new kit homes of the Millennium. California Builders, Inc. The Millennium kit home specialists.
When you call California Builders, Inc., you get a new experience. We have many unique prefabricated homes, designs, and luxury home plans for the Millennium for you to select. We have also invented a collection of panelized and post/beam homes for you to use. No other company in the world has what we have to offer. This process can be done by two people.
California Builders, Inc. is successful today because we have no overhead. California Builders, Inc. has the ability to design complex structures. We can construct elevations and facades with modern materials. These procedures weren’t available 100 years ago. 60 years later companies like Deltec and Topsiders arrived on the scene. They set up large factories. And they provided conceptual drawings with engineered trusses and beams for clear spans up to 50 feet.
Today the round or octagon kit home market is dominated by Topsider and Deltec. Let’s compare Topsider and Deltec. Most builders are apprehensive about constructing Deltec homes for the simple reason that they are not used to their building procedures. Deltec states on their website. Everything is easy. Some complaints about Deltec Homes include the length of time needed to unload the kit pieces and the walls, which are described as 8 feet tall. They are actually shorter. In addition, homeowners have found it difficult to fit a usable staircase in their Deltec Home. Contractors also complain that every task inside a circular home, the outside shell is erected, and it takes longer than it would with conventional construction. The drywall is much more difficult to hang and a contractor must install floor and ceiling insulation in 2-inch wedges.
And last there is Topsider. They seem to have a lot of complaints against them.
The first complaint is Sue XXXX seemed to be unavailable after striking a deal with our customer countertops. No contract was ever drawn up. Needed countertops and one cabinet ordered all through this company. From the very beginning miscommunication seemed to happen continually throughout this entire job. Cabinet should have been ordered way before install. Finally the day before had to continually call for delivery of the cabinet about 4 times finally arriving around 3:30!! Time was set for the following day for install. No one showed. Called Stone Dynamics and they said someone cancelled the install saying cabinet was not in (Have no idea who). Lost whole day from work and a lot of phone calls!!! Then on Monday they arrive and I am told they do not take out the old ones only clean install. Never knew this. When my husband and I talked with Sue she said for an additional charge they would take the old countertops out and install new ones. They said they did not do that!! Husband had to take off from work to tear out old ones and then they installed!! There were so many other problems in this job - came twice to measure not letting anyone know and no one was home and then upped the price 400.00 more!! Then they did not put a back splash on one countertop!! This was the worst experience I have ever had with a company. My family, friends will be told to never deal with your company again!!
The next complaint says: Do not use Topsider! After careful consideration (I even flew to NC to see their factory and model home), I paid $10,000 in design fees and received basic designs. Then, we decided to sell our lot instead of build. Al **, Director of Operations, is very prompt to respond to email and phone calls when there is the potential to get more money out of you. When you're discussing a refund, he ignores you. I asked for a partial refund - no response. I asked if the remaining balance could be transferred to the buyer of the lot (a sales incentive) - no response. I've called and emailed too many times. Go elsewhere! And here is their policy on consumer care. I've been waiting eight weeks for a refund check that Al XXX (Director of Operations) promised would be disbursed to me. I've made numerous phone calls and sent multiple emails only to be stonewalled or ignored. Absolutely the most horrific consumer/business transaction I've ever experienced in 40 years. Absolutely no integrity at that company.
Another complaint says: If I could give them a zero, I would. We have kept a blog about our Topsider experience, ***.com. We are very careful about purchases and even went to the factory to check it out. Even from before delivery, we had conflict with them. They sent our blueprints without an electrical page which held up the process by two month then insisted on delivering the house in the rainy season though we asked them not to. The kit was delivered without the main central support post, wrong length bolts, wrong washers, walls did not fit into the space, windows did not fit into the spaces, the walls leak in the rain (no weather wrap under the siding). The kit instructions show three people and a stick raising the support beams. Ha! This needed a crane. We were told that it would be a weekend to make the house weather tight. It took months. They sent the wrong sliding glass doors and the windows on the front doors did not line up.
Another complaint says: Our insulation was ruined due to the delivery date in the rain. The time spent waiting for replacement parts set us behind schedule. Walls were crooked/warped and had to be straightened with a come along and chains. Nothing was as it should have been and we got so far behind that a house started in 2006 is just now nearing completion. We were so frustrated that I started a yahoo group for other Topsider owners just to see if we were unique. We were not. Once you are done, Topsider offers a cost reconciliation. After hearing other folks describe their experiences, we declined to try to get reimbursement for our extra costs. I would never ever recommend them even to my worst enemy.
On 27-Sept-2003, my wife and I presented a check for $58,693.89 to Topsider Building System as a down payment to build our retirement home in Florida. It takes roughly three years to acquire a building permit in Monroe county. We were all aware of that. On 21-April-2005m, I was diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus and given three weeks to live. At the same time, we received word that our permit would be issued.
And the worst complaint ever was: We notified Topsider of our situation and they had no problem with us taking care of my medical problem first. I have now undergone two major operations, four years of chemo, three months of radiation, pet scans, endoscopy and countless amounts of prescription drugs. As of today's date, 25-May-2010, I still have cancer. I am being treated at both The Maplewood Cancer Center and the Mayo Clinic. The ACS sends a crew to my house during the summer months to cut my grass and maintain my yard. As you can see, I am no longer able to maintain a private residence without help. On 28-Jan-2010, I called Topsider to discuss my situation and have our money returned. They in turn hired a law firm. Nice people ha! I notified the BBB office to no avail. I have been on SSD since Nov-2005 and Medicare as well. Help us!
And there you have it. Now let’s talk about California Builder. Look on the web and there are no complaints about us. Now we are going to show you what makes California Builders, Inc. a great company.
Imagine this! You can lift the panelized posts and beams by using our special jacks in unison. The jacks remain in contact with the top edge of the wall during the entire lift. This operation only takes ten minutes from start to finish. When the wall reaches the upright position, it is stopped and held firmly by the preset wall stops. They are adjustable. That’s just a small sample of our new age technology.
From the days of Sears and Montgomery Ward, CBI has established a better way to build. Our way is better, cheaper, faster, and safe! Our prefabrication homes guarantee a durable house in less time and for less money. You can buy lumber and supplies from us or go to a lumber company. But we recommend you get your supplies from us.
Not only do you get more energy efficiency but you get the strongest framing lumber available. Plus we store it in a climate controlled environment. That keeps the lumber safe from all the elements of nature. As soon as the materials reach their destination, you can begin assembly. Our process of building allows CBI to focus on the inner details of constructing your home.
CBI’s prefab and home additions are priced competitively. We offer in house designs, engineer consulting, and prefabricate high quality building components shipped to your job site. Our products are quintessential for coastal and wetland areas. They can handle sloping mountain or hillside terrain. Survive in earthquake prone areas where seismic resistance is an issue.
Each home is designed to adapt to all of the demands required for a building site, the requirements of local and state building codes, and the design preferences for the home owner. All of our products can be easily and quickly assembled by professional contractors or do it yourself guys. No matter if you want a guest house, in-law suite, a home addition, retirement home or an enormous luxury home. Make California Builder’s, Inc. your choice! We build for the Millennium!
ROUND HOMES FOR THE MILLENNIUM
Our round homes are resistant to strong winds due to the shape, quality of materials, and our expert engineering skills. All of our homes are designed for the future. Our self-supporting roofs give you no load-bearing walls. This will allow the house owner to design almost any floor conceivable. The round shape enables you to observe panoramic views and enjoy nature from inside.
Due to our years of experience, we have mastered a way to provide energy efficiency designs.
And most importantly, we make the building process faster and cost effective with no cranes and expensive labor. Two men can easily begin the process. Picture this! Only two men are required to lift a 70’ long wall. Instead of a crew composed of six to eight workers. Any breaks in the wall assembly will be eliminated. Our panels are constructed in one monolythic unit. Not several confusing component sections.
Our Polygonal Round homes are unique and deliver a vision of elegance. Experience fine living with The Carson (Round home plan)! Its 330 square feet with a 21 feet diameter. There are 8 Sides. Create a breath taking view with The Douglas (Round home plan)! Its 520 square feet with a 26 feet diameter. There are 10 Sides. And escape to retirement living at the Panorama (Round home plan). Its two levels with 1,667 square feet. It has a 36 feet diameter and there are 15 sides. Those are just a few samples of our round house plans. See CBI’s Polygonal Round Homes Gallery for more home plans.
A-FRAMED HOMES FOR THE MILLENNIUM
CBI has a large variety of designs for you to select. Our chief designer (who is an associate member of the AIA – American Institute of Architects), will work with you to create what your heart desires. Once we discuss and finalize all the details on the style and size. We will select the building materials necessary for your property and budget. Next we will provide construction diagrams and technical advice for you to utilize all of your property.
CBI has access to a higher quality of building materials than most builders. All of our materials are custom manufactured for your project and then factory organized and clearly labeled. Not color coded! But easy to find items required for each stage of construction. Framing materials are pre-cut and wall panels can be prefabricated so your contractor can work faster and have no costly waste.
With that in mind, let’s go buy an A framed home from CBI. Nothing says beauty like the Pinehurst II. The Pinehurst (home plan) has 2,130 square feet and two levels with three bedrooms. For a nice quiet area with beautiful scenery, buy the Pinehurst II! This home delivers the comfort. You’ve been looking for! If you want to retire and get away from it all, consider the Venturi! The Venturi (home plan) has 2,130 square feet with lots of rooms. Great for living in the woods or by the lake.
Whether you live in the north, south, east or west, the Tahoe (home plan) is the best! This house delivers a handsome appeal with many windows. With your wrap around deck, you can experience this 1560 square foot get away.
And there’s always room to add on more amenities with CBI.
OCTAGON HOMES FOR THE MILLENNIUM
If you refer to geometry, an octagon is an eight sided polygon. The Octagon design goes back to the 1850’s and earlier. It was very popular in America and Canada during the mid-1800’s. Their unusual shape and appearance differs from the ornate pitched roof houses of that time period. But the design has been around for thousands of years. And today the American Institute of Architects has its headquarters in a historical building called the Octagon located in Washington, D.C.
The engineers at CBI have designed the structural characteristics of an octagon design to be superior and efficient to construct than square or round houses. The octagon home was found to have other benefits for building on stilts, pilings and even on traditional foundations. CBI homes command only 9 stilts or pilings for support. One stilt goes in the middle and the other 8 stilts go on each corner.
Square houses and round houses require many more stilts for support. And the larger houses get more. Our octagon house designs have a pre-engineered post and beam building system. The exterior walls are non-loadbearing. They are a standard feature that comes with the floor to the ceiling. And the windows allow you to experience a panoramic view of your property. The octagon shape has many advantages. It is less complex and easier to build.
Now it’s time to explore CBI’s octagon’s home plans. Introducing our most breathtaking model on the market. The Panorama! This model features elegance with a superior feel. Experience 1667 square feet with two levels overlooking the scenery you choose. Its diameter is 36’ with 15 sides. Great for anywhere in the world! By the lake or near the mountains, this is the home you must have. With its panoramic view, you can see the world like never before. Make the Panorama home plan, your home today!!
Also see CBI’s other unique octagon home plans like The Richmond (octagon home plan). It has 2,030 square feet. It has a 37 feet diameter with 14 Sides. The Turner (octagon home plan). It has 2,330 square feet. It has a 39 feet diameter with 15 Sides.
INTRODUCING THE CBI- GEODESIC DOMES!
Our unique domes have interconnectors with steel star connectors. Our steel star connector system guarantees that your home will be constructed with precision and confidence! And the best thing is you don’t need a contractor. With our easy to follow plans and schematics, you can build this dome yourself. Even if you never built anything before! The materials are all pre-cut and colored coded. The manual displays all the pre-cut materials and number coded items so that you will not get confused or frustrated.
The CBI- Geodesic domes are built and designed for all types of climates. You will receive more energy efficiently. The CBI- Geodesic domes use 30 % less surface area compared to the amount volume used in a box type house. In reality there is less area for heat to escape or cold air to penetrate. Its spherical structure gives you natural and efficient interior air circulation. Plus the cold air from outside will blow around the home. It will not hit a flat wall and penetrate your home like box type homes do. So let’s turn your dream into a reality! Call California Builders and see what our reputation was built on!
When you choose our CBI- Geodesic dome, you get an affordable home addition without the burden of expensive heavy-lift equipment rentals and skilled laborers. Our CBI-Geodesic domes are designed to be assembled without skilled labor. All the wood components are pre-engineered and pre -cut to be installed. Each component is pre-drilled to match existing specifications and number coded. The assembling is so easy that two people can execute the framework in less than two days. Keep in mind, the largest piece for our dome is 10’! That is 10 feet long and 2”x 6”. That piece can be easily maneuvered by one person.
When it comes to construction, our CBI Geodesic domes are freestanding. So there is no need for bracing or shoring. Most importantly, you don’t have to rent a crane or forklift. It’s just easy assembling without any special tools.
CBI Geodesic domes with 24’ to 35’ in diameter are designed with riser walls. Riser walls are an architectural feature unique to domes. The riser walls give height to the dome’s structure. We offer optional height riser walls for any dome size. The riser walls can be constructed up to 8’ in height. Each riser wall section is pre-engineered, pre-cut, and pre-drilled to exact specifications. The select structural 2”x 6” studs are nailed 16 “on the center between a rot resistant sill plate and a top plate. The outside is completed with ½” CDX exterior grade plywood. The CDX exterior grade plywood prevents high moisture. Next we use hex bolts to connect each number coded section to the next.
All of our CBI Geodesic struts are created from kiln dried 2” x 6” select structural Hem fir or Douglas fir. They can withstand considerable compression and tension. Each strut is beveled on the outer edge so that the plywood panels remain flat on the struts. We never use automatic feeds or gang drill machines! All of our struts are always pre-engineered or pre-cut and pre-drilled to exact specifications. Or cut individually and drilled at the correct angles. Each piece of lumber is graded and inspected for strength, knots, and warping prior to purchasing. We only use top quality struts that are accurately pre-cut, pre-drilled, and number coded.
The CBI-Geodesic domes come standard with patented Stuttgart steel connectors. Each connector is fully engineered and fabricated with correct axial and radial angles to guarantee maximum strength, durability, precision, and the ease of assembly. The Stuttgart steel connectors are concocted from schedule 40 steel pipe and 10-guage hot rolled steel. Next they are special painted with industrial primer and number-coded for easy identification. The wooden struts go directly into the central pipe. This eliminates the shear in bolts and allows you to have strong compression loads.
Also included in the CBI-Geodesic dome kit is a ledger hanger system. The patented CBI-Geodesic ledger hanger hardware uses the existing structural framework of a 5/8” sphere CBI-Geodesic dome to form an auxiliary framework for a second level. The studs are then fabricated from #2 or better Douglas fir or Hem fir. The studs are precision cut to fit at 16” on the center throughout the framework. The end results are enhanced framework that unites standard dimensions of conventional finishing materials.
Our plywood panels are triangular plywood made from ½ “ 5-ply structure grade plywood that are pre-cut and number coded. The dome symmetry permits the placement of skylights virtually anywhere in the structure. This creates an ambience that brings natural light. The skylight pattern follows the path of the sun and provides passive solar heating. In turn your energy efficiency is increased tremendously.
And finally the base plates are precisely cut. They are a solid 4”x 6 “cut and pressure treated beveled. Next the base plates are mounted to the foundation. And to the top plate of a riser wall. This will achieve the correct angle of support to contain the bottom struts of the dome structure.
Whether you’re about to retire, buy an investment property, or buy your first home, make CBI your one stop builder! We’ve been in business for over 40 years! We bring visions to life!! And build dreams!! With our new technology and engineering, there’s no other place to go! But California Builders, Incorporated!
WHAT DOES THE HOMES’ SHELL PACKAGE INCLUDE?
The shell consists of 2"x 6"x 8' walls. They are standard. You have the option of upgrading to 9' or 10' wall height. If you desire a more spacious feel; we also offer a 2"x10" wall thickness or a double 2”x6” wall for maximum energy efficiency. The complete site built “truss” roof system comes with a pre-cut 5/8" five ply-plywood decking. We offer a Typar roof wrap, Typar wrap on walls and windows are installed. You have a choice of Pre-painted Cementitious siding or Cedar siding. The truss floor system is an I-Joists system or an open web truss with a pre-cut 5/8" five ply-plywood decking. A hurricane/seismic package are available for areas that have higher wind or seismic load requirements.
All of our homes are custom so they fall in various price ranges. Our structural kit homes that are turn-key by a licensed local builder fall in range of $89 to $109 per square foot range depending upon the options chosen and desired foundation. Keep in mind that the site and state regulations will also factor in the cost. When it comes to building a "Green" home, we are known as the "Original Green Builder". Every CBI home that we produce has the most basic design, sustainable and has many energy efficient standards. Not to mention our CBI homes are among the lowest “cost of ownership” of any home you can build anywhere.
THE CBI PROCESS
Ordering your home is a simple process. CBI makes everything as smooth as possible. We have an experienced team ready to assist you with all of the details. The CBI customer service department will walk you through design, drafting, engineering, construction assistance, financing and delivery scheduling.
After consulting with our design service team. Place your order with the CBI sales department. Make a deposit toward your home in the amount of $_________.00 per contract. Although desirable, you do not need to have details such as model size, floor plans, window types, sizes, etc. Your deposit should arrive at CBI no less than 24 weeks (6 months) from your expected delivery date. Most CBI purchasers initiate their order sooner than this 24 week period. This will allow adequate time for planning, permitting, financing and other issues related to their construction project.
Second your account is then serviced by the CBI customer service department as mentioned above. Once you have completed your planning and have made your final option selections, a final production
agreement will be prepared outlining all details of your order. You will be required to bring your account up to 25% of the purchase price if the deposit amount does not equal 25% of the total package price. Your home's production is scheduled and delivery can occur 8 weeks after completing step two. Final payment arrangements are made before shipment.
THE TIMELINE FOR BUILDING A STANDARD CBI HOME
THE TIMELINE FOR BUILDING A STANDARD CBI HOME
COMPACT STANDARD EXTENDED
DESIGN TIME FRAME
TOTAL MOVE-IN TIME
Choose a predesigned floor plan. Select your siding type. Select a foundation type. Choose your windows
And over hanging style. Pluse we have
More additional options!
Custom designed homes. Please review all of our options.
Custom designed homes. Please review all of our options. Additional planning time allow for maxium collaborance.
Land owned by the customer. Standard permit process.
Land under contract owned by the customer. Standard permit process.
Still looking for land?
Allows for the perfect site. Conditions and permit processes.
Cash, Financing possible
Cash, Financing possible
Looking for a builder
Have notbegunany steps.
California Builders, Inc. is passionate about building. CBI builds the highest quality custom homes in America. Every customer wants the very best in unique design, energy efficiency, panoramic views, openness and ease of build. California Builders, Inc. gives that to you. Along with the safe and secure feeling that comes with living in a home built to last.
California Builders, Inc. is not “manufactured housing” or “modular” construction. CBI panelized homes are built in a controlled environment and adhere to the same building codes as stick built homes.
The CBI package consists of the “shell”, which includes all the structural components and hardware necessary to dry the house in. The walls are factory assembled into panels, most of which include exterior siding, rigid foam insulation and pre-installed windows. The roof and floor systems are constructed of engineered trusses with pre-cut sheathing. Pre-cut soffit, sub-fascia, roof underlayment, and fascia are also provided for the roof. Decking includes handrails and hardware. Everything is number coded for easy assembly.
CBI does not provide any foundation material, interior walls, plumbing, heating or air conditioning systems or electrical items. All interior finished items, such as sheetrock, doors, cabinets, and finished flooring are to be provided by the builder or general contractor.
4/30/2021 04:31:50 pm
Interested in purchasing the 28x32 garage shell kit. Need to know what turn around time is for standard kit no customization. We live on cape cod MA.
Patricia Fogo Cocarteu
9/19/2021 12:29:54 pm
I am also interested in what this gentleman suggested. Although we do plan to build a home we would like a garage shell we could live in until we build a home- and the home would probably come from your company.
9/30/2021 02:19:37 pm
Great article. Thanks for sharing.
1/25/2022 10:49:32 pm
Great article! I am interested in building a 28x28 gambrel garage with future apartment on second floor. I am very excited at the possibility of working with you. I am looking to start the process immediately.
3/29/2023 11:26:53 pm
This website is a scam, CalifBldrs.com owner is Paul Chretien, he has stolen $100,000 from us for a custom kit home. Now he will not answer phone, text or email and we are being forced to sue. Save yourself a lot of heart ache and avoid this company like the plague
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