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What do you think of Avrame?

 
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Me and my girlfriend have been looking at pre fab and simple design houses and trailers and the one we are most impressed by cost and looks wise is avrame.

As far as we can tell (and I have had some correspondence with the company as well) you buy the plans and they contact a lumber mill near you to cut the pieces needed to build and send to your location. after that we use the plans given and build, if I remember correct it takes only a few weeks, and only needs two people

ill linkto their website s those more experienced than me can take a look.

My main concerns are whether I as an inexperienced builder (have to framing and roofing, as well as helped build some sheds) am biting off more than I can chew, and the other main concern is that its hard to find any reviews, positive or negative. All info and videos of the a-frames come from them.

what do you all think?

ps I plan on heating it with a rocket mass heater, any concerns there with its shape/floor?

Any input welcome.
 
C. West
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https://avrame.com/ forgot the link
 
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Is the price a big saving over buying something locally made and you finish the interior?  Or even some of the prefab companies that deliver?

We have done several tiny houses though all we have done is finish the interior. That in itself was a big job for the two of us.

We watched our first tiny house being built on our lot and it only took two guys that knew what they were doing two days.  I doubt that my husband I could have done it in two days.

The one we live in now came already built on our land though the interior was unfinished.  I took use a couple of years to get the interior completed.
 
C. West
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thanks for the input anne.

yes its a big saving for us, and as long as we get insulation done the interior can take years. this house plus land would be a huge savings for us compared to buying a house here in ontario, in the magnitude of hundreds of thousands, our housing market is ridiculous.
 
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I quickly looked at some of the pictures. It appears they are installed on piers with floor joists but not sure of their size. Being a tiny house though, the size of a rocket mass heater would be pretty small so I can't see why you couldn't make one work for you, even if you needed to brace up the floor a bit. The bigger question is whether or not you are going through all the application process involving engineers, building officials, inspections, permits, insurance etc.... Unless your going with a UL listed pre-made rocket stove like the Liberator, officials may not see your heater as a code compliant heating system so you may want to look into that before mentioning it to them.
A few threads that bring this topic up (Canada has its own rules so these links may not apply, but gives you an idea of what to look for) :

RMH-house-insurance

Rocket-Mass-Heater-Compliance-Code
 
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Yes, I'm certainly aware of ridiculous house/land prices in areas of Ont and BC! You don't actually mention even approximately where this house will be and what your long term goals are, and I tend to be a "big picture" type.

Consider the current weather patterns of your chosen location and look at the major weather events - drought, snow, heat waves and double them. Gerry says the house will be on piers - will that handle the wind load? Could the piers be made higher for safety from flooding? Will you be able to keep it cool in the heat without huge electrical input? (a RMH can do double duty that way - heat in the winter and a mass that will be slow to warm up on a hot summer day)

If I were building or ordering a house at this time, I would be looking to spend more on insulation and "good bones" than square footage and fancy trim. I particularly appreciate a well designed kitchen that allows for serious food processing when all the plums ripen at once! I appreciate a floor lay-out without a lot of "wasted space", I'd avoid cathedral ceilings as they are much harder to keep the heat where you want it, but at the same time, I appreciate flexibility. If you want to have extras for dinner, can you put two table together just by shifting a little furniture sort of thing? I also *really* wish my current house had a decent, properly designed cold cellar!

Just looking at the picture, I do appreciate they've used metal roofing which lasts longer. Many people will complain it's noisy, so that's where the extra insulation comes in also!

That isn't really exactly what you asked - it's just what if feel qualified to infect your brain with! I truly hope it works out whatever you decide.
 
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You can definitely handle that. My husband and I built a little house a few years ago over the summer and fall. I'd never built anything more complicated than a bookshelf. He'd done some more advanced stuff, and had a bit of an idea of framing, but never done anything to prepare for a house. To add to that, we had no electricity so everything was done with hand tools. You guys will be fine.
 
C. West
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thanks for the input gerry jay and jan, and we will be in zone 5 so summer will be fine and winter we will work with, but i will be investing in good insulation, and i will be going with a pre built rocket mass heater, worse case i will insure a small wood stove and install a rmh as well, and just happen to use that more ;)
 
Jan White
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Some thoughts about heat:

Our house is 12x16 ft, half loft, half vaulted ceiling. Jay is right that heat will be uneven through the building, but in a small space we don't find it a problem. Downstairs, you're always close to the woodstove so it's plenty warm. Upstairs, if it's too hot you lie around in your underwear, which we're always happy to do, or you crack a window open.

Insulation is good (especially, as we discovered our first winter when we couldn't get the floor insulated until mid January and often came home in the evenings to frost on the floor), but again, in a small space, it's not as important as you might think. We have almost as much window area as wall. They're second hand windows, some pretty leaky. We still haven't got around to sealing the doors up properly and they've got some hilariously large gaps around bits of them. Even in a cold cloudy winter with weeks of temperatures below -10 in the day, we used less than two cords of wood. And we like heat! If clothing is required for comfort, it's too cold :)

In the summer, well placed windows to get a through breeze cool the place down in the evenings in no time. During the day, our place gets as hot as the outside. We could probably keep a few degrees below that if we ever get around to putting up blinds on the west windows to keep the afternoon sun out. As I may have mentioned, we like heat, so it's not something that bothers us anyway.

So again, you guys will be fine. It's easy to get too hung up on details and dither.
 
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You might want to check these guys out, they built an A frame off grid.

 
C. West
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i have seen their videos devin, they are building from scratch a much larger more intricate house. while a interesting series, luckily for me i wont be going that in depth, work, skill or money wise.
 
Devin Lavign
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C. West wrote:i have seen their videos devin, they are building from scratch a much larger more intricate house. while a interesting series, luckily for me i wont be going that in depth, work, skill or money wise.



ok, nice that you were aware of them already.
 
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Soooo. What happened?  We are also looking at an Avrame in Ontario - Trio 75 and curious if you went through it or not.
 
pollinator
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C. West wrote:Me and my girlfriend have been looking at pre fab and simple design houses and trailers and the one we are most impressed by cost and looks wise is avrame.

As far as we can tell (and I have had some correspondence with the company as well) you buy the plans and they contact a lumber mill near you to cut the pieces needed to build and send to your location. after that we use the plans given and build, if I remember correct it takes only a few weeks, and only needs two people

ill linkto their website s those more experienced than me can take a look.

My main concerns are whether I as an inexperienced builder (have to framing and roofing, as well as helped build some sheds) am biting off more than I can chew, and the other main concern is that its hard to find any reviews, positive or negative. All info and videos of the a-frames come from them.

what do you all think?

ps I plan on heating it with a rocket mass heater, any concerns there with its shape/floor?

Any input welcome.

did anything come of this? Most of ontario townships have square footage minimums that rule out tiny homes. Curious if it went forwards...
Cheers,  David
 
                                              
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I am also wondering what happened? i am in Ontario also and would like to connect with like minded folks here.
 
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Me too. I...I have also been looking at Avrame the past year and would love to find someone with first-hand experience. The company seems to be in control of social media comments quite well. They have their own FB group, but it is only for people who have purchased. FYI, many Eastern Ontario townships have now dispensed with minimum square footage requirements or are in the process of doing so. Most still require that small and micro houses be placed on foundations though.
 
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Jane Stratton wrote: Most still require that small and micro houses be placed on foundations though.

I think the powers that be have noticed a connection between bad storms and deaths in trailer parks. It's like wearing a seat belt in a car - statistically, more people with seat belts on live through an accident. Think of the foundation as the "seat belt for your house" - it's not just an expensive inconvenience. You want your house firmly attached to it, and your roof firmly attached to the walls. Design for "what if a weird tornado goes through" or "what if we have the flood of the century" as there's plenty of evidence that storms are getting bigger, badder, and less predictable.

If you're already building small, you will spend less on overall quantity of materials. However, it will cost more on a square foot basis - which is why the big construction companies like to build big. Some of that "more" needs to be focused on what the environmental risks are and I often encourage people to build better than the building code, and treat the code as the minimal standard to save lives, rather than what your environment would benefit from and what you want your house to live through.

I live in earthquake country. Nothing may protect us if the Cascadia subduction lets go, but if Hubby ever gets to building the workshop he wants, it absolutely will have the best chance of making it through sufficiently intact that we can survive in it for the aftermath.
 
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going in the way way back machine. it was probably in the 60's or 70's. magazines like popular mechanics would have detailed articles on how to build stuff and I'm pretty sure there was one on the A-frame house with materials list and pretty much complete plans. of course it would be easier with all precut and sorted materials.  
regardless it is a substantial investment and you want to be sure you have ability to complete project or ability to hire help to construct if you are not able.
 
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We are looking at Avrame in Europe. In our case, they will ship the cut lumber directly to us. Avrame leaves the selection of insulation up to the buyer, which is smart. If you insulate the home properly, I believe a rocket stove would end up being overkill if you are building small. An efficient wood stove that doubles as an cooker should you be offgrid and run out of solar is what makes more sense.  
 
David Baillie
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Jane Stratton wrote:Me too. I...I have also been looking at Avrame the past year and would love to find someone with first-hand experience. The company seems to be in control of social media comments quite well. They have their own FB group, but it is only for people who have purchased. FYI, many Eastern Ontario townships have now dispensed with minimum square footage requirements or are in the process of doing so. Most still require that small and micro houses be placed on foundations though.

Hmm, Jane do you have a list of townships by any chance? I know that some townships were talking about lowering their limits to between 600 and 450 sq ft but not dispensing with the minimums. Again I'd love to know if your information disagrees with that.
Cheers, David
 
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