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Building an Affordable House: Trade Secrets to High-Value, Low-Cost Construction Paperback – January 1, 2005

4.3 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"An insider's view of the construction biz with a ton of anecdotes that will make you smarter and save money." -- Log Home Living

"One of the most comprehensive and thorough guides of its kind." -- ToolBase News

About the Author

Biography
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Fernando Pagés Ruiz immigrated to the United States in 1970 and became a US citizen in 1984. Over a 30-carear in construction, he has become a dedicated proponent of building innovation in low cost housing. Pagés Ruiz speaks, writes and consults internationally on how to build high-quality, affordable and energy-efficient homes. A builder with 30 years of experience and an expert on how to cut costs and keep quality when building or remodeling, Pagés is the author of two books published by the Taunton Press: Building an Affordable House: A high-value, low-cost approach to building (2005) and Affordable Remodel: How to get custom results on any budget (2007). As a builder, his projects have numerous award, including the 2008 "Green Building Single Family House of the Year" and the 2007 "Workforce Housing Award" from the National Association of Home Builders. In 2006, the Department of Housing and Urban Development's PATH project chose him to build America's first PATH Concept Home, a home that is affordable to purchase and to maintain and while meeting the criteria of LEED for Homes, ENERGY STAR, MASCO Environments for Living, and the NAHB's Green Building certifications.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Taunton Press (January 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561585963
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561585960
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.5 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,491 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has snappy writing and good ideas, but seems to suffer from "magazine-frenzy-layout." By that, I mean there is at least one color picture per page (even gratuitous ones), stylish diagrams, pull-quotes, and sidebars. But sometimes this is just distracting. Some of the ideas are not explained or pursued, which leads me to suspect that portion of the text was lifted as-is from a magazine article. The book is only 200 pages (light-weight pages considering so many extraneous pictures.)

Sorry for so much griping, but I have come to expect more from Taunton Press, and it is sad to see their quality slipping.

HAVING SAID all that, I still liked the book and highly recommend it. It is refreshing to have such forward-thinking ideas presented all together in one place and compared. I appreciated especially the chapter on insulation for its side-by-side analysis of several alternatives to the "standard" fiberglass batts.

Examples:

p. 102 picture does not relate to caption

p. 107 caption identifies Vanguard PEX but Wirsbo is pictured

p. 117 caption mentions gas water heater flue, but an electric unit is pictured

p. 119 & 131 have identical pictures & captions.
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Format: Paperback
This book is for builders, not homeowners, and assumes you already know know to build a house. It provides a foundation-to-finish review of the homebuilding process, showing where to save money at every step. Sometimes this means finding areas that are overbuilt--here you'll have to carefully consider which suggestions to use--but often it means using the latest technological advances, and this is what makes the book unique. It presents the most up-to-date products available from your local ready-mix supplier alongside the newest framing connectors or plumbing fixtures. The author explains things well, and his years of hands-on experience are evident throughout.
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I have read the critical reviews, and they state in general terms that the advice given in my book helps builders save building costs at the expense of energy efficiency and durability. This puzzles me, given the emphasis I place stressing the difference between cheap housing and housing that achieves a high value in relationship to its cost. This book was not written by a journalist, but a builder. A builder in a small community where a people know you by name, and can find you at home. If I built low quality homes, my business would end within a year. Instead, I win awards, municipal contracts to build high profile projects and enjoy an excellent reputation. All my houses qualify for Energy Star certification. Because of my reputation and track record, HUD chose my company to build the 2006 Concept House--a house that showcases the best in modern construction methods. In fact, I live in one of my own homes and in one of my own neighborhoods. How many developers can face their buyers on a daily basis? Having practiced the trade of affordable homebuilding for most of my life, my book simply offers a trade memoir of my experience along with information gathered among the best builders in the nation--the kind that set the standards. The approach I outline in the book certainly applies to affordable housing, but it works at any price point. It is a method to achieve the best value for each dollar spent. You, the reader, set the "value" standard. For example, as a homeowner, I used the methods prescribed build my house at a cost of about 75-percent of its value, allowing me to afford a much nicer home than my income would suggest--affordable to me. And in an extreme climate, my utility costs remain negligible. My book will not help you build a cheap house, but it will help you save money while building an energy efficient, durable home.

Fernando Pagés
Brighton Construction Company
1941 K Street
Lincoln, NE 68510
402-434-2456
Fax-434-2458
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Format: Paperback
I always take a risk buying construction books on line. Half the time they are written for the first timer, or home owner, and I get a bunch of info that I already know. This book, however, was labeled for the home owner type, but turned out to be on a builders level! I learned several new techniqes that I did not know, this has saved me untold thousands of dollars on my up coming projects. I would like to see a book from the same guy that would go into even more detail, like an advanced level of the same. The author had to do this first one to appeal to the most people, but I know he has tons of more detail he could put in a book twice as thick as this one. Still, this is a great help in building a good house cheep!
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Format: Paperback
As a builder, I have often looked at a set of drawings, or a budget versus job cost report, and thought to myself, "There has got to be a better way." I could only wonder how much time and money the inevitable scheduling problems, subcontractor conflicts, and ever-growing trash pile was costing me. I knew that our practices were wasting time, money, materials, and resources, and that ultimately we would all pay for it. But understanding that there is a problem is a long way from knowing what to do about it. Earlier in my career, I would have paid dearly for the knowledge contained in this book. Come to think of it, I did.
Architect, designer, builder, subcontractor, or prospective homeowner -- you owe it to yourself to read Building An Affordable House. The modest price of this book is the only way I know of in construction that you can easily get a 100 to 1 return on your investment.
Although this book is easy to understand and conveniently organized, it is not just a collection of tips and tricks. It is a comprehensive examination of the residential construction process from foundation to roof, with practical techniques that you can take to work with you tomorrow, and philosophy you can consider for the rest of your career.
It is the unusual builder who can simultaneously cut the price while improving quality, but Fernando Pages Ruiz shares decades of diligent study and hard-won professional experience to teach anyone how to do just that. I have used many of the ideas and techniques described in this book, and many more were new to me. Every one of them contributes to the process of building a comfortable, durable, and more enjoyable home at a lower cost.
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