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What Next?

What is the process for getting a panel home?

If you've decided that you'd like to consider building a panel home, here are the steps.

Decide on houseplans.  Any home that can be built in stick frame can be built using panels.  Decide on your basic plan needs (square footage, # of stories, foundation, style, # of bedrooms and baths, etc.).  If you have a set of plans, even better.  If you need plans, start with standard plan books and, if you find something that's pretty close order a set.  If you need design or architectural services, I can refer you to someone with panel experience to minimize problems later.
Send me the plans and I'll do a take-off and preliminary bid.  This is a feasability bid and is usually within 6% of the final bid.  This bid is free and usually takes about two to fifteen days to complete once I receive the plans.  I will also compare the bid to conventional construction techniques to determine the feasability of the panels compared to stick frame.  I will also make suggestions which will reduce the bid in panels.
If the preliminary bid is acceptable to you, I will initiate an order and ask for a 30% deposit.   Panel drawings are a group of sectioned elevation drawings which show each panel in relationship to each other panel and call out dimensions, angles, relief, and cutouts necessary to achieve the construction of the building.  From the panel drawings, I can give you a final bid.  If the final bid exceeds the preliminary bid, you may cancel and your deposit is fully refundable.  If the final bid is the same or less, you may cancel and the portion of your deposit that applies to the cost of the panel drawings is non-refundable (usually $.22 per panel square foot).  If you decide to go forward with the project the panel drawings are included in the fabrication cost.  It is extremely important that you closely check the panel drawings to assure that assumptions made in the panel drawing process are consistent with your wishes.   Although I will review the drawings and the production manager and   fabrication supervisor will also review the drawings, sometimes things are not clear in the initial drawings and the panel drawings assume something different than your intent.  Our contract will be to produce the panels to the panel drawings, so differences between the houseplans and the panel drawings are superceded by the final panel drawings.
From the panel drawings I will create a panel order, schedule panel production, order any panels necessary, and schedule fabrication time and delivery.  If you would like, I will also help you arrange either a tech-rep to help you or your contractor with the panel erection, or help you arrange for a panel erection crew to put up the building.
I will check back with you to assure that your construction schedule is still going forward as planned.  You will need to get the foundation and first floor complete while we produce and fabricate the panels. 
When everything is ready, or likely to be on schedule, at your end, we will start panel production and schedule fabrication.  At this point, we require a cutting deposit of 20%.
Once the deposit is received, the panels are produced and fabricated.  We will discuss your schedule and determine the delivery date.
Delivery will be by 48' flatbed truck unless we receive other instructions.  Our quoted prices are based on the use of 48' flatbeds and it can cost considerably more to make other delivery arrangements.  If your jobsite does not allow access, other arrangements will be necessary.  We do not provide unloading as part of our services.  Typically, the contractor or owner/builder arranges  a construction forklift at the jobsite, or arranges for a local lumber yard to accept delivery and deliver later on a truck equipped for off loading.  I recommend the long-term rental of a construction forklift (Lull or extended boom forklift) during the construction of your building.  Usually the rental is more than offset by labor and scaffolding cost reductions.  The balance of the order is due at delivery COD.  We accept personal or company checks.  If your construction loan requires other arrangements, we need to know in advance.
I will be available to answer any questions, or to visit the site to help resolve any construction problems related to the panels.   If any panels are not fabricated to specification, we will produce and fabricate the panels as quickly as possible and get them to you immediately.
About quality control.  In our process, everything is checked and rechecked at a number of points.  We are very proud of our ability to get things correct.  Unfortunately, being human means that mistakes can happen in fabrication.  It's a good idea to check measurements prior to erecting panels to give yourself more lead time if an error occurs.  The most common error is one of orientation- inside out, especially on bay windows.  Most errors can be fixed on site, but sometimes something will be cut too short or an angle will be off, which will require another panel to get to you in a hurry.  Our first priority is to get that panel to you as quickly as possible.
We are very interested in the construction process on each job.  I always greatly appreciate any pictures you can get to me.   I would love to feature your home in my quarterly newsletter, if you wish.  I will protect your privacy at whatever level you wish.
Panel erection time varies with the complexity of the project, crew experience level, and the site conditions.  Typically, panels reduce construction time by one to four weeks.

Please contact me with any questions you have about this webpage or anything else regarding panel construction.  I can be reached at bjohnson@generalpanel.com by e-mail or at (423) 747-8710 by telephone.  Our normal shipping area is a 500 mile radius from Johnson City, TN and Grenada, MS.  Usually beyond 500 miles freight becomes an economic concern, but we have shipped 2000 miles.

Please visit our webpage at www.generalpanel.com .   I contact me by e-mail or phone. bjohnson@generalpanel.com 423 747-8710

General Panel Corporation