Author Topic: HUF HAUS  (Read 12657 times)

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HUF HAUS
« on: January 05, 2013, 06:29 PM »
 Hadn't seen any mention of HUF Haus here on the FOG. Curious what others think of this companies methods.

They can build a house on site in <5 days...


Each house can be designed entirely unique.

They fabricate pieces of the house to amazingly accurate specifications off site in their factories then bring them in and assemble within days.

AND they don't look half bad (my opinion) :
« Last Edit: January 05, 2013, 06:43 PM by Christopher Robinson »

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Offline woodguy7

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Re: HUF HAUS
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2013, 06:48 PM »
They featured on an episode of Grand Designs here in the UK a few years ago.  Stunning looking & typical German efficiency.
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Offline Brice Burrell

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Re: HUF HAUS
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2013, 07:15 PM »
They featured on an episode of Grand Designs here in the UK a few years ago.  Stunning looking & typical German efficiency.

By and large I don't like the idea of prefab homes.  I'd rather see houses built by skilled labor in the field instead of unskilled labor in a factory. 
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Offline Wooden Lungs

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Re: HUF HAUS
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2013, 07:18 PM »
I did see the grand designs a few years ago and although it was a fantastic build it was not to my taste. It was way too clinical looking and too much glazing.

It was assembled not made, to me there is a huge difference. Like a giant machine cut lego kit..

Here are two frames. One is a Huf and the other a traditional Oak frame.

No prizes for the one I would want to live in.

Traditional german frames are stunning opposed to the modern too.

« Last Edit: January 05, 2013, 07:20 PM by Wooden Lungs »
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Offline fritter63

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Re: HUF HAUS
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2013, 07:27 PM »
Pre-fab is absolutely the way of the future. And speaking as one who built his own custom (straw bale passive solar house), mostly on my own, it can't happen soon enough.

Our current approach to housing has to be the most inefficient (and IMNSHO bordering on a racket) way of doing it.

Offline Brice Burrell

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Re: HUF HAUS
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2013, 09:28 PM »
Pre-fab is absolutely the way of the future. And speaking as one who built his own custom (straw bale passive solar house), mostly on my own, it can't happen soon enough.

Our current approach to housing has to be the most inefficient (and IMNSHO bordering on a racket) way of doing it.

Well, I hate to say it, but you're are probably right.  I can see it now, pre-fab homes built in China and all of us in the building trades lose our jobs where we made a livable wage.  While I agree the current model for new construction of low quality and high price isn't the best....it's better than all these people being unemployed. 
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Offline fritter63

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Re: HUF HAUS
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2013, 09:33 PM »
Well Brice , I should point out that I'm thinking specifically about the structure and not the finishing stages.

Offline Scott Burt

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Re: HUF HAUS
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2013, 09:43 PM »
We did one in '06. A $5M 10k sf new lakeside custom home. The wall sections and trusses were all prefab in Canada, brought down on flatbeds as sheathed units and craned around. It still took the same number of carpenters the same amount of time to build the house. There were issues. There was still an architect, and there were still changes. Everyone agreed that it was nice not to be banging together stud walls on site in the middle of the winter, but the rest of the physical act of construction was pretty much business as usual. Still takes carpenters on site to build right, tight and square. Windows, doors, siding, trim and a roof to install. And of course, all of the usual interior activities took place as usual. There is something intriguing about the production work of layout and wall assembly being done efficiently and in a controlled environment. It turned out to be a very nice custom home, and you would never know that any of it was prefab.

Offline Deansocial

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Re: HUF HAUS
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2013, 03:34 AM »
Prefab houses are a long way off being the norm on the uk. We did it in the 50s

Offline Timtool

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Re: HUF HAUS
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2013, 04:41 AM »
When my grand parents farm burnt down they bought a prefab house, after the foundations were made the house was brought in on trucks and installed in one afternoon, that was in Belgium in the 70's.

I also frequently build prefab garden houses or sheds on my own in my workshop because i have the room, and then they take the walls on site and assemble in 1 or two days. It's a more efficient way of working as you have better and heavier tools and better work conditions in a shop than on a muddy construction site.

And personally i also think prefab is the way to go opposed to solid brick and mortar houses. My grand parents house is mostly made of wood, now they are gone you can just tear it down and reuse/recycle it and my wish is to build a passive wood/straw house on the same foundations. Because renovating prefab junk from the 70's means rebuilding pretty much everything, so you can just as well rebuild something better. And maybe that's the way to go, each generations build their own dream house out of natural materials, when your dead they can just rebuild their own on it with techniques and technology of the time without really harming the environment as much as when you would be stuck with a solid house built ages ago with outdated techniques and styles in man made materials: toxic

edit: and when you look at the style of those current prefab houses, i am sure that in 20-30 years they will be begging to tear it down and make something that doesn't have that awful 2000's modern style, Those glass boxes look terrible even today, what's it gonna be in 30 years?
« Last Edit: January 06, 2013, 04:47 AM by Timtool »
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Offline Sparktrician

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Re: HUF HAUS
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2013, 10:41 AM »
They featured on an episode of Grand Designs here in the UK a few years ago.  Stunning looking & typical German efficiency.

By and large I don't like the idea of prefab homes.  I'd rather see houses built by skilled labor in the field instead of unskilled labor in a factory. 

The factory-built homes I've seen recently have been very well cut and assembled into modules at the factory.  All the components slide right together on-site, and there's a consistency in the quality of construction that can only be achieved in a factory where all the craftsmen are working to a common standard.  In contrast, take a look at any high-dollar Toll Brothers house being stick-built today.  They're absolute junk, made worse by Toll Brothers' treatment of their customers.  There's still a good amount of work on-site in a factory-built house, from footers and foundations to the final plumbing, electrical and landscaping.  The concept of factory-built homes is not new.  Think of the Sears, Roebuck kit houses from the '20s.  Some are still standing today, and they're great, presuming they've been cared for well.  Some of the early pre-fab houses should have been used for kindling instead, but the better ones today seem better-built than many stick-built homes.  I'm all for keeping skilled craftsmen working, but it seems that there are fewer and fewer of them around, given construction companies' tendency to hire the cheapest and least-experienced workers, some of which don't even speak the language. 

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Offline Peter Halle

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Re: HUF HAUS
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2013, 11:31 AM »
Warning:  Long Post

I, although I make a living in the industry, am in favor of the concept of factory built modules, panels and homes because of the potential for quality improvements.  On site with "stick built" homes there is always the weather element and the rush to get a house under cover.  Materials that come from the supplier wetter than in years past get subjected to sun and start to do their own version of the Twister game.  Guys sometimes hired in parking lots make cuts on elements that will support weight.  All these things add up.  The Tower of Pisa could have been straightened by inserting a 1/8" shim at the bottom after all.

I live in a 20 year old cape cod home built by someone who cared and became a friend.  The design of this style goes back hundreds of years and is IMO one of the most space efficient and proven designs.  If I were to start building homes I would take this one design and trick in out in quality - not space - and probably do well.  I am however a fan of contemporary / modern / alternative architecture and would happily live in a contemporary house.

Back in the early 1990's I had the title of Facilities Manager of a bank.  We decided to open a branch in beautiful Appomattox, VA, about ten miles away from where the American civil war ended.  The executives decided to hire an architect and go pre-fab.  Two modules were shipped in, dropped by crane over the bank vault and connected.  Quick, easy, efficient.  Then the disaster started.  The architect had convinced the executives to install a modern fabric canopy system that floated above the building and the drive-in and front entrance.  This canopy required 42 supports anchored thru the commercial rubber membrane roof.  Anyone who has ever done any sort of roofing knows that the more transitions and penetrations you have, the more likelihood for failure and leaks.  My guess is the first rainstorm required 37 buckets.

Design and attention to details is the key.  Stick built homes can have their issues - my family eats because of them, and a cookie cutter process can in any industry magnify the issues on a grand scale - this is what we do, do many quickly, and then the errors happen on more than one and snowball.

The manufacturing process can reduce the accuracy and quality issues caused by unskilled labor and weather, but it is the designers and those in charge of quality control who will determine the future.  Garbage is still garbage no matter how you spell it or create it.

Peter

Offline jmbfestool

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Re: HUF HAUS
« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2013, 11:41 AM »
I did see the grand designs a few years ago and although it was a fantastic build it was not to my taste. It was way too clinical looking and too much glazing.

It was assembled not made, to me there is a huge difference. Like a giant machine cut lego kit..

Here are two frames. One is a Huf and the other a traditional Oak frame.

No prizes for the one I would want to live in.

Traditional german frames are stunning opposed to the modern too.




I agree!   Deffos the traditional oak frame house over the modern one! 

I think alot look like industrial buildings.  If i turned up with some one who had one of those modern prefab buildings I would be thinking that I have arrived at the Dentists.  haahaa!
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Offline joiner1970

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Re: Re: Re: HUF HAUS
« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2013, 12:10 PM »
They featured on an episode of Grand Designs here in the UK a few years ago.  Stunning looking & typical German efficiency.

That was near me in weybridge Surrey, they've built a few more since in the area

Offline harry_

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Re: HUF HAUS
« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2013, 12:21 PM »
I think that one of the issues that modular/prefab has here in the states is one of image. I don't know this for sure but it would seem to me that M/P homes got their origins in 'mobile homes'. Big trailers (sometimes 2 or 3) without the carriage. Everything about them was cheap, cheap, cheap and the final product screamed it! Over time they got a reputation which was not particularly good unless what you were looking for was cheap.

The more "modern" versions are quite a bit better in most areas and the differences vary by manufacturer. One of my sisters has a modular. Just your basic "ranch" style home with a full basement. There is very little about it that screams prefab/modular until you decided that you need to repair or modify something. Then it begins to tell it's tale. The use of adhesives for sheetrock is one of the stories.....Never pop a screw though! :)

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Offline Mopowers

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Re: HUF HAUS
« Reply #15 on: January 06, 2013, 01:14 PM »
The Huf Haus looks like a great concept. I am becoming more and more a fan of contemporary architecture. I keep telling my wife our next house will be single story, shed roof and built with concrete and steel, she just gives me "the look".

I also think prefab on many levels is the way to fly. I try to incorporate it into my projects as much as possible. The past several homes i have built we precut everything prior to assembly.  Every 2x in the house would have a measurement and a location predetermined before the sill seal went down. I am a control freak on the job and nobody on the crew is allowed to make anything up on the fly. By doing this we can build with great speed and accuracy and i can be sure there are no bad ideas by someone who thinks they know what they are doing.  I like to say head scratching is not allowed on the jobsite. I have fantasies of some day having a large shop and yard to prebuild house components and truck them to a jobsite.

Connor homes is a company here in Vermont that builds homes at there facility and trucks them to a site to be assembled by a local contractor. The homes are all classical architecture and from what i have seen well built. Not your typical two piece prefab but comprised of much smaller components and still requiring an experienced crew for assembly. I guess what i am saying is a prefab does not have to be built in a far off land or be cookie cutter low quality construction and materials.

« Last Edit: January 06, 2013, 01:25 PM by Mopowers »

Offline Reiska

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Re: HUF HAUS
« Reply #16 on: January 06, 2013, 02:09 PM »
Here in Finland a prefab house package has been the standard since the 70's and they are getting pretty good at it.

You can customise the basic models nowadays quite freely and once you have the base ready in one day a few lorries of elements, a hiab/mini crane and a crew of ten raise the house to water roofing.

Of course you are still left with all the normal inside wall finishing, kitchen and sauna building etc. But you do get all electrical outlets, plumbing etc. ready in place from the factory.

The catch is that after the design has been confimed by the customer every change will cost astronomically and those changes are what these prefab companies live on.

I used to work at a hardware store in the early 90's and even I could do the basic selling of those house packages ;-) (I did leave final desing to the in-house architect thou)
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Offline joiner1970

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Re: Re: HUF HAUS
« Reply #17 on: January 06, 2013, 04:03 PM »
They built a house here , shown on grand designs that was built with a cnc on site. That was a good one

Offline jmbfestool

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Re: Re: HUF HAUS
« Reply #18 on: January 06, 2013, 04:29 PM »
They built a house here , shown on grand designs that was built with a cnc on site. That was a good one


Them lads who did that have since bought another 4cnc's I was told.

They made a lot of mistakes which could of been avoided if they had a decent joiner helping them.

But still good
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Offline woodguy7

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Re: HUF HAUS
« Reply #19 on: January 06, 2013, 04:31 PM »
You guys got a link to that episode of Grand Designs ?  I don't think I have seen that one.
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Offline jmbfestool

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Re: HUF HAUS
« Reply #20 on: January 06, 2013, 04:40 PM »
You guys got a link to that episode of Grand Designs ?  I don't think I have seen that one.

"Kevin meets Celia and Diana, who plan a state-of-the-art home that will be the world's first computer-cut house.

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/grand-designs/4od#3414075
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Offline Jon Hilgenberg

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Re: HUF HAUS
« Reply #21 on: January 06, 2013, 04:54 PM »
These guys have been on This Old House...I wish I could have such a nice house, not too shabby.  As said before, it still requires skilled site craftsman, but it seems a more energy efficient house can be build indoors with better quality control and less moisture issues.  I live in the deep south and some of the wet lumber with growth on it that I've seen go into and covered up in houses makes me squeemish.

http://bensonwood.com/

jon

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Offline Brice Burrell

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Re: HUF HAUS
« Reply #22 on: January 07, 2013, 09:55 AM »
These guys have been on This Old House...I wish I could have such a nice house, not too shabby.  As said before, it still requires skilled site craftsman, but it seems a more energy efficient house can be build indoors with better quality control and less moisture issues.  I live in the deep south and some of the wet lumber with growth on it that I've seen go into and covered up in houses makes me squeemish.

http://bensonwood.com/

jon



Jon, funny you should Ted Benson on This Old House, I saw some of that series.  Their crew had most of the house up, except the roof- then it rained for weeks.  I remember they downplayed it on the show, but it was clear there was a lot of water damage and moisture problems.
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Offline Jon Hilgenberg

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Re: HUF HAUS
« Reply #23 on: January 07, 2013, 10:27 AM »
That is a touch ironic Brice, I didn't see that part.  Guess you're always going to have to battle the elements notated how you build a house.

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Offline fritter63

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Re: HUF HAUS
« Reply #24 on: January 07, 2013, 10:55 AM »
These guys have been on This Old House...I wish I could have such a nice house, not too shabby.  As said before, it still requires skilled site craftsman, but it seems a more energy efficient house can be build indoors with better quality control and less moisture issues.  I live in the deep south and some of the wet lumber with growth on it that I've seen go into and covered up in houses makes me squeemish.

http://bensonwood.com/

jon

Is this the same guy who did a timber frame for TOH may years ago? Looks like Chevy chase?

Offline Brice Burrell

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Re: HUF HAUS
« Reply #25 on: January 07, 2013, 09:41 PM »
That is a touch ironic Brice, I didn't see that part.  Guess you're always going to have to battle the elements notated how you build a house.

Jon

The difference is stick building only the framing gets wet in the event of rain.  In pre-fab everything gets wet, drywall, insulation, wiring, flooring and so on.....

These guys have been on This Old House...I wish I could have such a nice house, not too shabby.  As said before, it still requires skilled site craftsman, but it seems a more energy efficient house can be build indoors with better quality control and less moisture issues.  I live in the deep south and some of the wet lumber with growth on it that I've seen go into and covered up in houses makes me squeemish.

http://bensonwood.com/

jon

Is this the same guy who did a timber frame for TOH may years ago? Looks like Chevy chase?

Same guy. 
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Offline Mopowers

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Re: HUF HAUS
« Reply #26 on: January 13, 2013, 08:53 PM »
I just looked into the Bensonwood website. What a great business model. I personally would like to see more residential construction going in this direction. Houses being engineered by a collective of professionals from the ground up to perform above and beyond the standards. Fabricated in a controlled environment and closely monitored by people who actually care about the end product. This type of residential construction is not only good for home owners but also society as a whole.

Obviously homes like Bensonwood and Huf Haus are selling to a pretty select high end market. I bet you wont find the people who work on them living in them. These same ideas of modern construction need to be applied to modest homes as well. Most of the houses i have built are 1000- 2500 sq feet and done on tight budgets. I have always strived to do better than my peers. Every once and a while those jobs come along where the budget allows for a super insulated envelope. When the budget is not there i do my best with thoughtful framing and careful material selection to create a home that does perform better than the standard.  I see a lot of  good builders out there using what i believe are misguided building practices. Thats what makes these prefab houses so great in my eyes. Builders, engineers and architects working together under one roof to create something better than the rest.       

Offline Eli

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Re: HUF HAUS
« Reply #27 on: January 14, 2013, 03:42 AM »
I love the idea and look of the Huf Haus. I wouldn't mind a bit being on a crew that does onsite assembly. I think there will still be plenty of room for craftsmen. The funny thing is, the more people there are who identify with wanting something prefab or modular, it seems the more people there are in proportion that want something unique and handmade.
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