FREQUENTLY ASKED CABIN QUESTIONS
How is a Shelter built Cabin different than other Cabins?
Shelter built Cabins are fully panelized. Unlike some other "panelized"cabins that only do the easy part of panelizing walls, our Cabins have panelized floors, walls and roof systems.
Our Cabins are also built to International Residential Code (IRC) standards and, as such, are expected to have the structural durability and livability of a full scale home. Additionally, basic to the Shelter approach, is a commitment to building structures that are pleasing to the eye. To reach these ends our designs are executed by professionals in the building industry. The result of the Shelter approach are Cabins that can be easily plumbed, heated, wired, insulated and finished as any full scale site built home would be. There are no quality compromises in a Shelter built Cabin.
Is a Building Permit required to install a Shelter built Cabin?
The short answer is, " Yes ".
According to the International Residential Code (R105.2) only work that meets all of the following criteria is exempt from requiring a building permit:
A structure that is detached from other structures.
A structure that is one-story.
A structure that is accessory to currently existing structures on the same property.
A structure with use that is incidental to the main building on the same property.
A structure with a floor area not exceeding 200 square feet.
Also exempt from the building permit requirement, According to the IRC (R105.2) are the following situations:
- Portable appliances for heating, ventilation, cooling, cooking & clothes drying that are not connected to a fixed piping system and are not interconnected to a power grid.
- Self contained refrigeration systems containing 10 lbs. or less of refrigerant or are actuated by motors of 1 horsepower or less.
It is important to remember that if your project is exempt from the requirement of a building permit,this does not exempt it from being built according to IRC, local zoning or community covenant standards.
Any structure should abide by local zoning standards regarding set-back distances to property lines.
Some local juristictions have reduced the 200 square feet allowance to 120 square feet.
Some community covenants will require approval by an architectural committee.
What type of assistance will Shelter provide me in acquiring a Building Permit for my Cabin?
Upon receipt of Building Deposit, Shelter will provide the following Building Permit assistance:
Building plans detailed according to local Building Department requirements.
(A building Site Plan is typically also required for permitting. Shelter can provide this
Phone consultation with Owner and/or Local Building Department.
Can I live in a Shelter built Cabin?
If this is a question of livability then the answer is definitely " Yes ". A Shelter built Cabin can easily be finished to the comfort level of a larger site-built home.
If this is a question of legality then the answer is " Yes ", if you have met all local permitting requirements.
Can changes be made to a Cabin plan?
Some minor changes can be made with no or minimal effect to the Cabin cost:
- Reduction in window/door sizes.
- Relocation of window/ door openings (within structural limitations ).
- Reversing or flipping a plan.
Some other changes can be made with minimal effect to the Cabin cost:
- Enlarging window/door sizes (within structural limitations).
- Adding options to the Cabin Kit (see Options on "Specifications & Options" page.)
Some more changes can be made with costs to be charged accordingly:
- Change of square footage
- Change of roof pitch
- Increases in structural engineering requirements (charged at $100 per hour)
What are the structural load capacities of a Shelter built Cabin?
Every Shelter built Cabin is designed to accommodate the following loads:
- Seismic Zone - D1
- Wind Load - Exposure B
- Snow Load - #25 psf ground
- Floor Load - 40# psf live dead 13# psf dead load
My building site is hillside and located where snowfall and wind are extra heavy.
Is a Cabin capable of being installed in this type of location?
Yes , a Cabin can be installed anywhere any other structure can be built. In some instances, a Cabin can be installed even where a larger structure could not, because of its lesser size and lesser foundation requirement. Once seismic, wind and snow loads of your site are addressed via proper engineering, the other primary consideration will be the bearing capacity of the soil which will influence final foundation design.
What type of foundation is required to support a Cabin?
A concrete pier foundation system. Why?
Because it requires a minimal amount of excavated area which saves on expensive machine time or it allows for the option of being hand dug.
Because minimal excavated area means less disturbance of the natural terrain.
Because it requires a minimal amount of concrete, rebar, forming materials, etc.
Because it is easily adapted to flat or sloped building sites.
Bigfoot http://www.bigfootsystems.com/index.htm forming systems it is very Do-It-Yourself friendly.
I would like a Do-It-Yourself Cabin Kit.
What type of building assistance will Shelter provide?
Shelter provides the following building assistance with the Do-It- Yourself Cabin Kit:
Preframed Panels shipped in proper order of construction.
Labeled panels and componants that correspond with labeled building plans.
Phone and email consultation.
As the Owner what are my responsibilities regarding Cabin Kit delivery?
Your Cabin Kit will arrive bundled and stacked on a flatbed trailer. Some componants, such as doors, windows or metal roofing will require hand unloading to avoid damage. Other componants, such as Preframed Panels may be dumped as any typical lumber delivery would be done.
As the Owner your responsibilities will be to:
Provide sufficient truck and trailer access and turn-around area.
Provide sufficient hands-on labor for a one-hour unloading time (at least 2-persons capable of lifting 75 pounds per person). ( Do not include the Truck Driver . He only brings and unbinds the load.)
Provide a forklift (or similar) if truck or site conditions do not allow for load dumping.
Provide final Cabin Kit Payment upon delivery.
What materials are included in a Do-It-Yourself Cabin Kit?
The Panelized Cabin Framing Kit includes:
All the necessary Preframed floor, wall and roof panels to frame your particular Cabin model. In other words all floor joist, floor sheathing, wall studs, wall plates and headers, wall sheathing, roof rafters, roof sheathing and ridge beam. Also:
- All roof eave trim: Cedar fascia, barge and rake trim
- Treated floor girders per Cabin design.
- Installed R-30 foam floor insulation
- All necessary fasteners
- Installation instructions
In Addition you may add the following items to the Panelized Cabin Framing Kit :
- Roofing Materials
- Siding & Soffits
- Panelized Deck
- Preframed entry steps
- Gutters & Downspouts
- Wall and Roof insulation
- Interior T&G 1x6 pine for ceiling and wall surfaces
How much does the average Preframed Panel weigh?
Floor Panel Weight
All preframed floor panels are framed using 2x6 floor and rim joists with ¾" sheathing on the top, 3/8"sheathing on the bottom and 4 ½" R-30 foam insulation in between.
The net weight of a preframed floor panel is 6.25# per square foo. A typical Cabin floor panel will weight from 2-300# .
Wall Panel Weight
All preframed wall panels are framed with 2x6 studs and 7/16" wall sheathing
The net weight of a preframed wall panel is 3.3# per square foot. A typical Cabin wall panel will weigh from 1-200#.
Roof Panel Weight
All preframed roof panels are framed with 2x6 rafters and 7/16" roofl sheathing
The net weight of a preframed roof panel is 3# per square foot. A typical Cabin roof panel will weigh 200#
Building support girders: 10# per lineal foot.
Exposed roof ridge beams: 12.6# per lineal foot.
How much building help should I have?
Your quantity of building help is all about your own physical and carpentry capabilities.It is recommended that at least two persons team up on Cabin construction. Panels will be in the 2-300# weight range and they can be moved using a simple two-wheeled garden cart, but when it comes time to set ridge beams and roof panels a second physically capable person will be a great asset . It is also recommended that boom truck services be used to place the ridge and roof panels. The ridge height of the Pasayten and Excelsior Cabins is 21.5' from grade.
What carpentry skill level should I or my helpers have?
At least one person on your crew should be of good carpentry ability . Which means that this person should understand and be experienced with normal floor, wall and roof framing technique. This person should also have familiarity with dealing with the challenges related to working on ladders and scaffolding, maintaining accuracy, and maneuvering heavy objects. A good crew arrangement includes this person, another with some elementary carpentry skills to fill the role of "carpenter's helper" and a third person as a general laborer.
How long should I expect framing panel assembly to take?
The Pasayten model Panelized Cabin Framing Kit (496 sq.feet) will take 3-persons (with boom truck assistance), 6-days to assemble.
What type of tool assortment should I have available?
- A tool belt with the typical assortment of hand tools: hammer, pencil, 25' & 50' tape measures, speed square, chisel, cats paw & chaulk line.
- 6' & 8' step ladders
- 24' extension ladder
- Builder's level or water level
- Skil saw and cord
- 4' level
- Plumb bob
- Drill with 3/8" & ½" auger bits (12")
- ½" ratchet with socket set
- 1-rolling scaffold tower 16' tall (for setting roof panels).
- 2-wheeled cart (for moving panels and beams).
Can interior finishing materials also be supplied with the Do-It-Yourself Cabin Kit?
Yes , as mentioned above, wall and roof insulation as well as pine T&G 1x6 paneling boards can be included with the Cabin Kit. Other finishing materials such as pine interior doors or trim wood can be as well. Your building situation should determine what interior finish materials are included with your Cabin Kit. For common interior finishing materials (such as drywall or floor covering) it often will make the most sense to purchase them locally rather than to pay extra freight on the same materials sent from Shelter. However, if you are building on a very remote site, then Shelter supplied finish materials would make perfect sense.
I am interested in having Shelter Craftsmen build my Cabin.
As the Owner, what will be my building responsibilities?
Your building responsibilities will include :
Providing sufficient truck & trailer access and turn-around area within 75' of Cabin location.
Provide on-site power with a minimum 20 amp breaker.
Provide outhouse or bathroom access.
Provide properly installed Cabin foundation. (Some acceptions apply )
Provide proper permitting.
In addition , if your building location requires overnight lodging & meals or ferry travel, It will be the Owners responsibility to compensate for such expenses. Typically, if your site is within 75 miles of Bellingham , WA (excluding the San Juan Islands ) these expenses will not be incurred.
What building services will Shelter provide?
At Shelter we like to say that we will do the hard parts so you can do the fun parts.
What that can look like is that Shelter Craftsmen arrive on-site with the Cabin delivery. We will unload the delivery truck, assemble the panelized Cabin Kit and continue with the installation of your roofing, siding, windows and doors. We can even install your gutters, entry steps and paint your Cabin as well. At this point you will have a Weathertight Cabin Shell . Also, at this point, the "hard parts" of the building process have been completed and now yourself or other trades people of your choosing will be able to complete the Cabin interior to your specifications.
So, Shelter building services range from erecting only the panelized Cabin Kit to full completion of a Weathertight Cabin Shell. The choice is yours.
Can I still be involved in building my Cabin even if Shelter Craftsmen are involved?
Yes , as circumstances allow, Shelter is willing to consider a cooperative work arrangement by trading out a Shelter workman in trade for your own participation on the crew. Cabin cost would be adjusted accordingly.
Besides that, once Shelter has completed its primary function of building the Cabin shell, then the rest of the building process is still available for your hands-on involvement.
What is the expected payment schedule for a Shelter built Cabin?
15% Building Deposit at the time of Cabin order.
40% at commencement of Cabin panelization at Shelter shop.
35% at delivery of Cabin Kit to building site.
(or 50% if delivery is a Do-It-Yourself Cabin Kit)
Final 10% at completion of Shelter construction of Cabin .