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Fabricating & Welding Brackets for our Arched Cabin

a manufactured clip welded to the beam for the arched cabin

Fabricating & welding the brackets for the floor joists

This week I am showing you the process of fabricating & welding the brackets for our foundation. These brackets will hold the floor joists to the metal beams that we have welded to the concrete and metal piers. On the plans they call for these brackets to be 32″ on center. Then they explained to us that the floor joists are to be tied together using blocking, but Mike & I felt like we’d prefer the floor to be sturdier. As a result, we’re welding the brackets every 16″ on center to ensure a nice, solid structure.

fabricating & welding brackets for the arched cabin
Ali about to be fabricating & welding some brackets!

How much does building an arched cabin cost?

Today’s Costs for fabricating & welding:
2″ Angle Iron x 3/16″ thick – 32′ $56.07
Labor (cutting steel to fit in the bed of the truck) $6

Total for materials this week: $62.07

20 X 32 Arched Cabin House Kit: $13,032.50. (paid in 2017 and includes the delivery cost)
Architect to finish plans for permits & help navigate some building department stuff. $1570
Initial Soil Testing $1550
Open Hole Inspection $325
Driveway Permit $50
Pre-Site Inspection $40
Permits $1797
Excavation $14,062.70 (we ran into the septic line at one point, plus there’s also an easement being installed between our place and Mike’s Mom’s place)
Power Drop $3026
Concrete $1020.40
Shipping Container $3344.25 – Will become a workshop after the build
Tile & Sink for downstairs bathroom $563.10
Meter Box Install – $448.20
Septic Line to the house $164.48 or $3.46/foot.
Water line from the control pit to the house  $321.15 or about $7.14/linear foot
Power line from the pole to the house $596.54 or about $4.77/linear foot
Beams & Supports tied together (Welding & Materials) – $275.60

Total Cost (excluding land) $42,248.99 (including this week’s metal working supplies)

Products used during this week’s adventure of fabricating & welding

.030 Flux Core mig welding wire (affiliate link)
Hobart Handler 210MPV Mig Welder (affiliate link)
Arched Cabin House Kit
Glaser Steel in Colorado Springs
Better Welding Gloves (affiliate link, not pictured in this video)
Aluminized Glove Back-Pad (affiliate link, not pictured in this video)
Contact Tips (affiliate link)
Nozzle for flux core (affiliate link)
Evolution S380CPS 15″ Metal Chop Saw (affiliate link)

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Want to build your own Arched Cabin? Visit their website! (we receive nothing from Arched Cabins)


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The Cost of Building

So as we are finally getting to the build portion of our journey here, it’s time to talk dollars. I am doing this because it was difficult for us to estimate the cost of building this place because there wasn’t a lot of info the pertained to a kit house like the one we purchased, and we thought it could be helpful to others who are thinking about doing the same.

We started with purchasing the land. My current total for the cost of land & money we’ve spent on the maintenance up to and including the purchase of a tractor to help with the driveway is $144,937.50

The land was $125,000 for 16 acres. The well and septic are already in place, so we have no costs there. We purchased the 8n for I think $2500, and there’s a lot of maintenance costs to just allow us to STAY here until the house is built including $1285 ish in propane (our tank is 1000 gallons, was 35% when we filled it and they fill it to 80%). A note on the 8n. If we had to do it over again, we would have gone with something else. Our location has a lot of difficult terrain that is not at all suited for the tractor. So it’s been better than a shovel, but if we could go back we would have spent more and gotten something better suited to our property.
The house kit was $13,032.50 which includes the cost of delivery. We opted to set it up ourselves instead of having them put the shell up. Plans has to be tweaked by a local architect to meet code. That was $1570 total to reconfigure. She also helped me navigate the building department. I can’t calculate the value in having that help. Our soil testing ended up being a total of $1550. We ended up needing two tests because our first thought on build site wasn’t going to work. $600 for one guy and $950 for a different company.

Here is a copy of the Arched Cabin invoice so you can see the cost breakdown. It changed the date on the invoice when I opened the file, so please note that we purchased this kit in June 2017 and those prices reflected are from the cost of steel and the cost of the product in 2017.


So the above costs are BEFORE permits.  So here we are. Permits. Driveway permit was $50 for a driveway that is more than 150 feet. Pre-site inspection was $40 (for driveway). For the house, it’s calculated by square footage. So our house is 848 habitable space and 160 square feet for the deck.  The total cost for filing the permits was $1797 (including driveway permits). They were kind enough to break it down for me. $250 application fee, $928 permit fee, $150 Electrical, $200 Mechanical, $150 Plumbing, $279 to check over our plans.  So we paid about $1.78 per square foot. That’s for our county, each county will be different, and the website for ours was nice enough to have a permit calculator listed so you can go there and estimate your costs.

Power drop I covered in another blog post, that you can read here, and our excavation is going to be $4000 + a fuel surcharge which will be based on the number of gallons used. I’ll cover that breakdown once that portion of the project is done.

So I hope this info is helpful for anyone looking to do their own build with a little outside help due to lack of equipment. I think concrete is the only other thing that we’re hiring out, so everything else will be done by us.

Stay tuned! Things are finally ramping up, and I’m looking forward to sharing this journey. Thanks for reading, and I hope this is helpful.