Project Checklist

Take it step-by-step for success! A comprehensive checklist for planning your construction project, using am‑cor Ferrocement Prefab Building Kits


It's important to know the steps involved in constructing your project.

The following checklists will help you manage construction of your am-cor Kit, from start to finish.

Preparation pays!
Preparation pays!

De­tail Check­list

This is a de­tailed step-by-step ver­sion of the Pro­ject Check­list. We can help at each stage of your pro­ject; please contact us with ques­tions/com­ments.

  1. Ba­sic Pro­ject Plan­ning Se­quence
    • De­term­ine your Needs
      • Write a list of pri­or­it­ies, a sample might be:
        1. Dis­as­ter res­ist­ance: Hur­ricane, earth­quake, tor­nado, flood, and fire res­ist­ance
        2. Size of fam­ily, who will be liv­ing in the dwell­ing
        3. Pri­vacy is­sues: where are sep­ar­a­tions made, Moth­er-in-Law suite, rent­al unit, teen­ager or col­lege room, etc.
        4. Long term in­vest­ment strategy: How long will you keep the house? How much can you af­ford to heat/cool & main­tain the struc­ture?
      • De­vise a con­struc­tion pro­gram based on needs
        1. Num­ber of rooms and types of rooms
          • Bed­rooms
          • Baths
          • Closets
          • Liv­ing room / kit­chen / fam­ily (sep­ar­ate or to­geth­er)
          • Din­ing (sep­ar­ate or open to kit­chen)
        2. Over­all size of house
          • long term liv­ing & budget plans
          • fu­ture ex­pan­sion (the am-cor Sys­tem makes out­wards/up­wards ex­pan­sion easy!)
      • House type based on size
        • Single or double story
        • Base­ment
        • Live-in at­tic / loft
        • Porches, ver­an­das, gar­ages
      • Choose your land, or where to build on your land
        • Land re­stric­tions
          • Set­backs
          • Loc­al laws / or­din­ances
          • Cov­en­ants (HOA re­stric­tions on ma­ter­i­als, style, or size)
        • Land fea­tures & val­ues
          • Sloped site
          • Wooded areas
          • Views
          • Sol­ar aper­ture
          • Ac­cess
          • Util­ity loc­a­tions
      • Based on these needs:
        • Choose a standard Kit
        • Cus­tom­ize:
          • one of our stand­ard plans
          • a plan based on your sketches
          • a plan from your ar­chi­tect / de­sign­er
    • Con­struc­tion Budget
      • How big is your con­struc­tion in­vest­ment?
        • Di­vide your budget by the area of your sketch or stand­ard plan to ob­tain a unit con­struc­tion rate
        • Ex­ample:
          • Your budget = US $90,000
          • Your Kit = 1000 sq.ft.
          • $90,000 / 1000 sq.ft. = $90/sq.ft.
        • Com­pare this rate with stand­ard con­struc­tion cost in your re­gion
          • “Hit the ground”, and con­tact some loc­al build­ers / con­tract­ors
          • Need a baseline fig­ure? We can help!
        • Con­sult the am-cor Kit QuickBudget for com­par­is­on
      • DIY sweat equity will lower out of pock­et ex­penses
        • There are 3 im­port­ant ques­tions to ask your­self:
          1. How much are you cap­able of do­ing? Please con­sider your health and loved-ones as well. If you run in­to any road­b­locks, we have qual­i­fied & ex­per­i­en­ced ar­chi­tects & build­ers who can give ad­vice.
          2. How much time do you have? Put­ting up a Kit is fast, es­pe­cially when you have a few help­ing hands. But de­pend­ing on the level of fin­ish you want (e.g.: fancy coun­ter­tops), de­tail work can be time-con­sum­ing.
          3. How much are you will­ing to learn? Like above, in­cluded in your Kit is not only a cus­tom­ized Field Manu­al, but also on-site & tele­phone/in­ter­net sup­port. But to learn to in­stall those coun­ter­tops, you'll need some ad­vice/re­search!
        • And we see 3 levels of DIY con­struc­tion by an own­er-build­er:
          1. Man­aged con­struc­tion: Here you take the role of a stand­ard con­tract­or but don't do much/any phys­ic­al work. You'll be re­spons­ible for get­ting per­mits, or­gan­iz­ing bids, schedul­ing & ap­prov­ing work from your sub­con­tract­ors, etc. If you're new, this is prob­ably the easi­est way to get in­volved in home build­ing.
          2. Hands-on Kit As­sembly: In this case, you (and some help­ing hands) go for the easi­est, low­est-hanging fruit and as­sembly your am-cor Kit on your own—a great way to save money & time. Since our pre­fab Fer­ro­ce­ment pan­els can be quickly & eas­ily tilted up and fastened to­geth­er, you don't need any con­struc­tion ex­per­i­en­ce to put up the struc­tur­al frame of your build­ing, and can avoid hir­ing pro­fes­sion­al sub­con­tract­ors, like a fram­ing crew, car­penters, ma­sons, etc. You'll prob­ably still want to hire pro­fes­sion­als for de­tail work and fin­ishes, like dry­wall, roof­ing, etc.
          3. Total DIY, aka the full monty: Dive on in, and build & man­age the whole thing your­self! It can be daunt­ing and po­ten­tially time-con­sum­ing but it's a great feel­ing and learn­ing ex­per­i­en­ce, to com­plete your own build. Also, if you're con­cerned about safety, se­cur­ity, and health for you & your fam­ily, you can be ab­so­lutely cer­tain about the qual­ity of your own con­struc­tion. Fi­nally, if it's your first time it's a good idea to do some re­search up­front and be aware of what you're get­ting in to. We're al­ways happy to dis­cuss DIY pro­jects with com­mit­ted own­er-build­ers! Since each pro­ject is dif­fer­ent contact us for sug­ges­tions or ad­vice on good books or oth­er re­sources, or see our DIY section for more info on how to get star­ted.
      • If you plan to man­age your own con­struc­tion:
        • Pro­ject man­age­ment can be a full time job
          • Will you be able to make time?
          • Will you have help?
          • Can you find a source of pro­fes­sion­al ad­vice? Feel free to contact us with ques­tions.
        • What will sub­con­tract­ors cost?
          • Show them your sketch or stand­ard plan to get es­tim­ates
          • Al­ways get mul­tiple es­tim­ates!
          • We can es­tim­ate on shell con­struc­tion, if you’re in the con­tin­ent­al USA/CA
        • Al­ways al­low for con­tin­gen­cies & un­fore­seen cir­cum­stances
    • Con­struc­tion Sched­ule
      • Gantt charts
        • On a com­puter or writ­ten by hand
        • A really, really good idea!
      • When do you want to start con­struc­tion?
      • What is your goal com­ple­tion date?
      • How much time will you al­low for con­struc­tion?
  2. Or­der your am-cor Kit
    1. Choose your a Kit
      1. Contact am-cor inc. and speak to an am-cor Kit rep­res­ent­at­ive
        1. Dis­cuss your plans and needs
        2. De­vel­op your budget & sched­ule
        3. Standard Kit or Custom?
        4. Easy design changes
          1. ex­tern­al style
          2. lay­out
          3. doors / win­dows, etc.
      2. Site plan & site plan­ning as­sist­ance
        1. Ask about our Design Op­tions (see be­low)
    2. Kit Op­tions
      1. Con­tact us to dis­cuss the best for your pro­ject
      2. Re­new­able En­ergy Op­tions
        1. Sol­ar Elec­tric/Photo­vol­ta­ic Pan­els
        2. Sol­ar Hot Wa­ter Pan­els
        3. Sol­ar Ra­di­ant Floor Heat­ing
      3. In­su­la­tion Op­tions
        1. Thermal break ma­ter­i­al
        2. In­su­la­tion board
        3. Spray Foam Kits
      4. Open­ing Op­tions
        1. Fiber­glass low-e doors and win­dows
        2. Hur­ricane res­ist­ant glass
        3. Be sure to dis­cuss the type & size of doors and win­dows you plan to use with your am-cor Kit rep­res­ent­at­ive
      5. Design Op­tions
        1. Site plan­ning & site design
        2. Build­ing design
          1. from scratch
          2. modi­fic­a­tion of ex­ist­ing designs
        3. Ar­chi­tec­tur­al & en­gin­eer­ing ser­vices
        4. Pro­ject Man­age­ment
      6. As­sembly Op­tions
        1. am-cor Kit as­sembly es­tim­ate (de­pends on pro­ject size/loc­a­tion)
        2. You can use this to help with your budget­ing or build­er ne­go­ti­ation
    3. Kit Pur­chase
      1. Over­view
        1. The Fee Sched­ule be­low is ap­plic­able for the ma­jor­ity of cases
        2. If your pro­ject has spe­cial con­sid­er­a­tions or is large (mul­tiple build­ings, apart­ment com­plexes, etc.), contact us to work out the best sched­ule for you
      2. Kit Price
        1. Kit Price Total = Base Kit + Kit Op­tions
      3. Sched­ule of Fees
        1. Draw #1
          1. 15% de­pos­it of Kit Price
          2. Ar­chi­tec­tur­al & En­gin­eer­ing draw­ings for your Build­ing Per­mit
          3. Mo­bil­iz­a­tion Fee
          4. Locks in steel & oth­er ma­ter­i­al prices
        2. Draw #2
          1. 85% bal­ance of Kit Price
          2. am-cor Kit man­u­fac­ture
          3. am-cor Field Manu­al
        3. Ship­ping
          1. Please con­tact us for an es­tim­ate of ship­ping to your site
          2. We ar­range ship­ping as a cour­tesy to our cli­ents, but we are not re­spons­ible for ship­ping! 
  3. Plan­ning
    1. Pro­ject Plan­ning
      1. vi­tal to suc­cess for both DIY & con­trac­ted pro­jects
      2. See Pro­ject Plan­ning de­tails un­der “Pre­par­a­tion to Build” be­low
    2. Use the am-cor QuickBudget as a start­ing point
    3. Place a value on each por­tion of con­struc­tion:
      1. Site pre­par­a­tion
      2. Found­a­tions
      3. am-cor Kit pur­chase
      4. am-cor Kit de­liv­ery
      5. am-cor Kit as­sembly
      6. Open­ings (Doors & Win­dows)
      7. Dry-in (ex­ter­i­or fin­ishes & roof­ing)
      8. In­su­la­tion
      9. Ser­vices (plumb­ing, elec­tric­al, heat­ing & vent­il­at­ing)
      10. In­teri­ors (dry­wall, trim, fin­ish floor, cab­in­ets & fit­tings)
    4. Check if each of these val­ues is reas­on­able and in-line with costs in your area
      1. Al­ways get mul­tiple es­tim­ates
      2. We can help you de­term­ine com­pet­it­ive rates
    5. Prob­able Cost
      1. Cre­ate an es­tim­ate for the total value of your pro­ject
      2. Be sure to add for over­heads:
        1. Taxes / fees dur­ing con­struc­tion
        2. Cost of loan
        3. Leg­al and pro­fes­sion­al fees
        4. Per­mit ap­plic­a­tion fees
      3. This Prob­able Cost will act as a valu­able budget guide, and as jus­ti­fic­a­tion for the loan amount if you plan to seek ex­tern­al fin­an­cing
    6. Sched­ule each phase of your pro­ject
      1. So you have a mon­et­ary pic­ture of your ex­pense amounts, and when they will oc­cur
      2. Gantt charts re­com­men­ded!
  4. Schedul­ing
    1. Pre­par­a­tion = $$$
      1. Ad­just both sched­ule and budget if there are un­fore­seen cir­cum­stances
      2. Be pre­pared for & flex­ible to ne­ces­sary changes
      3. Oth­er­wise res­ist chan­ging the plan or oth­er items un­less really ne­ces­sary
      4. Changes dur­ing con­struc­tion are the primary cause of cost over­runs
      5. Make sure you write con­tracts for all labor tasks as much as pos­sible
      6. Avoid hourly con­tracts un­less the sub­con­tract­or gives you a writ­ten time es­tim­ate
      7. Re­mem­ber: if you change the the pro­gram (design, tasks, etc.) dur­ing con­struc­tion, you are in­vit­ing a cost in­crease in both ma­ter­i­al and labor
    2. Keep Re­cords
      1. Reg­u­larly up­date a budget spread­sheet for your Pro­ject
      2. Keep re­cords of all meet­ings with laborers and sub­con­tract­ors
      3. Keep all way­bills for ma­ter­i­al de­liv­er­ies
      4. Take pho­tos!
  5. Re­quire­ments
    1. In­spec­tions
      1. In most areas of the USA & CA, the loc­al build­ing de­part­ment will in­spect your job at cer­tain junc­tures
        1. Ob­tain their in­spec­tion sched­ule and in­form them when you are ready for in­spec­tion of each build­ing stage
        2. Find out what they will want to see on site dur­ing in­spec­tion
        3. Be­fore mov­ing in­to your new home, you will need to ob­tain a Cer­ti­fic­ate of Oc­cu­pancy from the loc­al au­thor­ity; get the list of com­ple­tion items they check for
        4. Main­tain a good re­la­tion­ship with in­spect­ors by be­ing ready for each in­spec­tion, keep­ing the site clean, hav­ing the plans on hand, and show­ing good work­man­ship
    2. In­sur­ances
      1. Ob­tain and keep cur­rent: Own­er-Build­er in­sur­ance for li­ab­il­ity and to pro­tect against loss or dam­age
    3. Con­struc­tion
      1. Site se­cur­ity
      2. Elec­tri­city/wa­ter on site
      3. Ad­equate site ac­cess for de­liv­ery vehicles
        1. gravel or paved road
        2. turn around space for large trucks
        3. no tight corners
      4. San­it­ary fa­cil­it­ies for work­ers

Sum­mary Check­list

This is a sum­mar­ized ver­sion of the Pro­ject Check­list, show­ing the most im­port­ant items. See be­low for a de­tailed, step-by-step list­ing.

  1. Get some land
    • Buy it
    • Sur­vey it
    • Get ap­provals (zon­ing, health, etc.)
  2. Get your Kit
  3. Pre­pare your site
    • Found­a­tions & Grad­ing
  4. As­semble your Kit
    • As­semble am-cor Kit: wall, floor, & roof pan­els
    • Ap­ply am­cor­ite Struc­tur­al Stucco
  5. Fin­ish out kit
    1. Ex­ter­i­or
      • Roof­ing
      • Fin­ish coat
    2. In­teri­or
      • Ser­vices
      • Fin­ishes
  6. Move in!
    • Oc­cu­pancy per­mit

Ready to be­gin?

Ready for your am-cor Pro­ject? Contact us and we'll get star­ted!