The new house we settled on was very different from the original house that was built in 1940. We started talking to builders in the area as well as ones in Tallahassee and Dothan. After the storm per square foot costs escalated to as high as $325/sf or more for rebuilding. The lack of licensed builder and the City's restricting on builders from working in the area, made it almost impossible to find anyone we could afford.
The first thing I learned about building a house, is that the cost per square foot are based on the total covered space including decks and porches... not just the conditioned space. The new house has a conditioned space of 2,164sf, the total inclusive size a little larger than 2,650sf. The low end cost per square foot still pushed costs over $800,000 and well beyond what we could afford. We needed to find a cheaper alternative or wait until costs came down drastically. Waiting meant delaying our rebuild project several years until building prices came down. This problem with delaying, if more than 3 years, the federal government requires you to declare the insurance money as profit and subject to income taxes.
We began looking at new solutions that could offer different way of building. I was introduced to a company that was starting to have success in the panhandle. They are building houses in a controlled manufacturing environment in Central Florida and then shipping them to location. The houses are constructed with steel framing and ideal for what we wanted.
Why did we consider this newer technology solution for our house being build on the coast?
The all steel is constructed with 5.5" thick framing for all wall systems inside and out. This also included the trust systems. The steel framing is designed and tested to withstand winds of 220 mph.
Studs are resistant to rust, can't be destroyed by termites and won't rot. All of this is tested and certified.
Energy Efficiency. The wall systems are designed in a way they they are extremely energy efficient. The builder told us that if electric costs for $2,264sf exceed $40 a month, they would cover the costs for the first year. (We'll keep you posted on that claim)
The most important feature-- cost. The base cost for the shell, which included the house erected on the property, not including the doors, windows exterior covering or the roof final standing seam covering. is $72/sf. The turnkey solution is estimated to add another $55/sf plus upgrades. (This too is a fluid process that will be determined when complete.)