PO BOX 111
Elkwood, VA 22718 USA
+1 540 349 5895

Kit FAQ

What's included in an am-cor Kit?

Your am-cor Kit includes everything needed to assemble your building's structural shell. You only need to add sand, cement (in dry, usually bag form; not concrete), and labor.

We streamline construction of your building, by providing the following with your Kit:

  • panelized steel frame design in coordination with project architect and/or engineer
  • sealed steel frame structural drawings for building permit submission
  • coordination with code authority to expedite approval
  • illustrated am-cor Field Manual detailing shell assembly: diagrams keyed to panel marks, how to mix and apply amcorite ferrocement coat
  • verified bill of lading
  • complete prefab building shell: prefabricated panels and components for: walls, roofs, floors, interior partitions, rails, stairs, dormers, beams & columns
  • amcorite Ferrocement additive increases workability, strength and flexibility of standard Portland cement
  • structural fasteners

For more information see Kit Contents, and check out our Standard Kits.

How do I order a Kit?
Contact us, and check out our Getting Started and Pricing sections.
Call
am-cor inc.: 540 349 5895
e-mail am-cor inc.: info@am-cor.com

Custom Kits

  1. Check out Getting Started page; especially the Designs section.
  2. Forward plans and elevations of your proposed building for an am-cor Kit estimate.
  3. We'll send you an interactive Budget Estimator, to help estimate your Total Construction Hard Cost.
  4. Based on your designs, am-cor inc. will provide a Kit Pro Forma and a Kit Order Form.
Standard Kits
  1. Select one of our Standard Kits
  2. Click the Kit's name under "Buy Now", on the right
  3. We'll send you an interactive Budget Estimator, to help estimate your Total Construction Hard Cost.
  4. Based on your choice of standard Kit, am-cor inc. will provide a Standard Kit Pro Forma and a Standard Kit Order Form.
Standard Payment Schedule
  • 10%-15% Design Deposit: sealed structural engineering drawings for permit submission, complete architectural set for standard Kits, locked-in raw material rates
  • 85%-90% Fabrication Deposit: illustrated Field Manual, prefab am-cor Ferrocement Kit (FOB Culpeper, VA, USA)
How do I pay for my Kit?
You can pay with:
  • Check
  • Bank wire transfer
  • Major credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, Discover, AMEX)
  • Paypal
Need another option? Contact us.
What exactly is an am-cor Kit?
An am-cor Kit is your entire structural building shell, from top of footing to roof, including intermediate floor structure, walls, partitions, stairs, and railings. It comes in the form of a prefab, panelized galvanized steel frame sheathed with Carbon steel reinforcing, including amcorite Ferrocement additive to mix with Portland cement and sand.  Once applied on site, this "structural stucco" creates the unibody Ferrocement shell of your building.

am-cor Kits also include:
  • engineered structural drawings
  • detailed & illustrated Field Manual: how to assemble, coat, and finish your am-cor Kit
  • steel to steel fasteners
  • grommets to place in holes when running pipes and wires through walls and ceilings
  • on line and telephone customer construction support
  • and more; see Kit Contents for details
Can you customize a Kit for my design or plans?
Yes! See the Design section for more information on custom am-cor Kits.
We can also modify our Standard Kits to your needs.
See also:
Will you ship to my location?
Most likely, yes. We've shipped to hard to reach sites both domestically (in the USA) and internationally. Shipment method is usually:
  • standard 40' open flatbed
  • semi (enclosed) van
  • shipping container (enclosed)
am-cor Kit prices are quoted FOB Culpeper VA: that is, "Freight on Board" (the truck is loaded by our crew). We arrange shipping as a courtesy to our customers; we're not responsible for the shipment in transit, and heartily recommend shipping insurance. When you order your Kit, am-cor will bid out shipping for you, and inform you of the best prices.

How much will it cost to build a Kit?
Short answer: It depends. See our Pricing section.

Long answer: Estimating construction costs is an art. Costs for finishing a building can vary widely, depending on your region, local labor & material rates, the size and number of units, etc. Also, your choice of contractor/subcontractor, insulation, interiors, etc. can all affect construction costs.  For example, a high-tech superinsulation program, or luxurious granite kitchen countertops, can bump a house out of the "affordable" price range.

For this reason, we prefer to talk about the term TCC (Total Construction Cost) when asked "How much will I pay total for my house, office, etc.?"

To see how much your am-cor Kit will cost, and for an explanation of TCHC, check out our Pricing section.
What does Total Construction Hard Cost mean?
Total Construction Hard Cost (TCHC): Hard cost of constructing a finished building.  Includes material & labor for construction and enclosure of the building shell: foundations, structure, finishes, services, insulation, basic trim, fixtures and cabinetry. Does not include costs indirectly associated with construction of the building, such as: siteworks, contractor overheads, utility hookups, taxes, permits, fees, etc.

See our Pricing page for a detailed discussion of TCHC, why we use it, and how it relates to pricing your am-cor building.
What does Estimated Construction Price Range for standard Kits mean?
The Estimated Construction Price Range value, displayed for each Standard Kit, is an estimated TCHC for that standard am‑cor Kit: basically, an estimate of the hard costs to build that Kit, from the low end to the high end.

For example, the low end of the Price Range could be achieved by:
  • Constructing multiple units, thereby amortizing overheads & administration costs
  • Building in a region with low labor & material rates (e.g.: a rural area)
  • Including a very basic specification (inexpensive interiors, minimal insulation, etc.)
The high end of the Price Range could be reached by:
  • Specifying luxury interiors (granite countertops, expensive plumbing & lighting fixtures, etc.)
  • Superinsulating and using cutting-edge, energy-efficient equipment & appliances
  • Hiring a contractor for complete, turn-key service in an expensive area
See also:
How can I budget my project?

Let us know some information on your project, and we'll send you an interactive Budget Sheet, which you can use to plug in numbers and get a ballpark figure for your project's costs.

See the Pricing and the Getting Started sections for more information.

Do I need training or construction experience to assemble an am-cor Kit?
No. Once you read the Field Manual included with each am-cor Kit, you'll realize how easy it is to assemble a Kit. As long as you're able-bodied, can read, follow directions, and do basic arithmetic, you can put together an am-cor Kit yourself. Construction amateurs have successfully built their own am-cor homes, easily, quickly, and inexpensively with the help of several subcontractors, such as:
  • excavator
  • concrete finisher
  • plumber
  • electrician
  • mechanical
But if you are conversant in construction techniques, you may not even need these helpers, except for steps which by law require a licensed professional.

The am-cor Field Manual comes customized for your Kit, and contains detailed step by step assembly instructions and diagrams, along with information about the general construction and project planning process.  Owner-builders who need additional help can call our customer service for real time, up to date Kit assembly and construction advice.

am-cor Kits streamline the building process, eliminating the complication and confusion inherent in standard methods, replacing it with programmed construction and unibody building design. You get:
  • simple details
  • comprehensive instructions
  • light weight panels for all building elements
  • simple connections
  • easy service installation
  • and fast finishing.
My builder/construction friend says the am-cor System is more expensive. Is this true?
In general, the am-cor System is less expensive than most other construction systems on today's market. It's possible your builder/construction friend does not fully understand the am-cor System. This is understandable, as apples to apples pricing can be difficult in the construction industry!

When talking about the cost of using the am-cor System, we refer to the Total Construction Hard Cost (TCHC): Hard cost of constructing a finished building. Includes material & labor for construction and enclosure of the building shell: foundations, structure, finishes, services, insulation, basic trim, fixtures and cabinetry. Does not include costs indirectly associated with construction of the building, such as: siteworks, contractor overheads, utility hookups, taxes, permits, fees, etc. 

A quick TCHC comparison of the am-cor System vs. :
  • Stick built wood construction: avg. 5-15% savings
  • SIPS (Structurally Insulated Panels): avg. 5-15% savings
  • ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms): avg. 10-25% savings
  • Reinforced concrete block/poured concrete: avg. 10-25% savings
  • Metal building kits: avg. 0%-10% savings
Please note the above percentages are estimates, not binding as to a specific project or timeframe, and can vary (especially with project location, design, and local rates).

See also:
Will your Kits meet the building code in my region/country?
Yes!
am-cor Kits are pre-engineered and prefabricated to meet international building codes and material standards, specifically:
  • IBC (International Building Code)
  • IRC (International Residential Code)
am-cor Kits have been approved for construction by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and in every jurisdiction they've been assembled. We like a challenge, and we're sure we'll be accepted in your region. Contact us.
Are roofs included in my Kit?

Yes, the roof structure is included in panelized form, just like walls, floors, partitions, etc.

Roofing, such as shingles, EPDM rubberoid sheeting, standing seam enamel metal, or Ferrocement, is not included unless you specify.

Are interior walls included in my Kit?

Yes! Prefabricated (panelized) interior partitions are included with every am-cor Kit, including:

  • bearing partitions
  • fire partitions
  • sound attenuating partitions
  • standard walls
  • knee walls
  • solid rails
What if I want to change/modify your standard Kits?
Not a problem! Check out the Designs section for info on customizing our standard floorplans.
What if I just have a really, really small change to your Kit design?
We can accommodate even the smallest change.  The am-cor System is entirely flexible. See our Designs page for more.
Are services (HVAC, plumbing, electrical) included?

No.
Electrical & plumbing need to be installed by a qualified professional. In most jurisdictions, you will be required to show proof of licensed installation in order to get your CO (Certificate of Occupancy), and be allowed to hook up to your local power grid or sewer. The am-cor Kit does make things easier in this regard, as your walls & partitions are prepunched for services; this means that the time spent by electricians & plumbers will be less, as these trades will not need to drill or chip at the walls to run their pipes, wires, etc.

I read your Kits provide the building shell. What is a shell?

A building shell is the basic structural enclosure of your building.
Your am-cor Kit provides the Ferrocement framing & sheathing for the structural shell of your house, including walls, partition frames, floors, roofs, trusses, balconies, and stairs, etc.

After assembling your Kit on site, you can finish it out to your specifications. We provide the flexibility for our clients to install whatever they want, from interior & exterior finishes, to different types of insulation and energy systems. DIY customers appreciate this flexibility, because you can build for much cheaper than with standard construction, with your customized choice of finishes.

Generally, if you are looking for someone to buy all the materials for your building & manage the subcontractors, you want to hire a builder or contractor.
We also work well with builders; if you put us in touch with yours, we'll be happy to answer any questions they have.

See Kit Contents and Getting Started for more.

How can I visualize the Kit assembly / construction sequence?

Check out the Construction Sequence to get a feel for how simple it is to assemble an am-cor Kit.

Can I hang pictures in an am-cor house?
Yes.  You will use self-tapping screws rather than nails, because you have non-combustible studs and rafters in your am-cor house.
These screws are included with your am-cor Kit.
What exactly is in the Field Manual?
The am-cor Field Manual includes illustrated data on:
  • Project Planning
  • Project Budget
  • Building Permit Application Procedure
  • Site Issues, including Solar Orientation etc.
  • Your Kit Panel Placement Diagrams for each floor
  • Construction Sequence
  • Kit Assembly Instructions
  • amcorite Application Instructions
  • Service Installation Procedure
  • Insulation Information
  • Finishing: trim, cabinetry, accessories, finishes
  • Completion
  • …and more!
Is it cost prohibitive to ship my Kit a great distance?
Customers have had am‑cor Kits shipped to South America and the Caribbean.  The am‑cor System saves so much time and money during construction, that despite shipping that distance, it is still faster and less expensive to build with am‑cor than with standard construction in these regions.

Shipping in USA and Canada is usually not more than 1-5% of Kit cost. Shipping rates vary with fuel cost; we can put your order out to bid, to get the best rate for your Kit shipment.

In other words, if you're on the West Coast of the USA, it's still cheaper to have an am‑cor Kit shipped to you than to build with standard construction!
Why are Moden Kits less expensive than Solar Kits?

The Moden Series and The Flex Series are the most efficient, and so least cost, of the standard structures offered by am-cor inc.  The higher prices of The Solar Series are due to code, solar design, and structural requirements; for example, The Solar Arcade 1BR must be structured for supporting earth on all sides, the roof, if earth-sheltered, and the clerestory & arcade in front. In comparison, the Moden and Flex plans are much simpler, with lower ceiling heights, low slope roofs, and simpler structures, and are therefore less expensive.

Can my Kit be an addition to an existing structure?
Yes.  You can:
  • Add an addition to your exiting home, using a customized am-cor Kit.
  • Retrofit, rehabilitate, and even super-insulate an existing building with am-cor ExoStructures, to add space, strengthen, and increase energy efficiency of existing buildings of all types.
How easy is it to add onto a completed Kit?
Very easy! Because the am-cor System is so strong and durable, additions can be made to any side, or even on top of existing am-cor buildings, seamlessly attaching the old Ferrocement structure to the new.
I want a healthy, low VOC am-cor Kit. Is this possible?
Yes. In fact, all am-cor materials are total free of VOC's (Volatile Organic Compounds). Our Kits do not outgas at any time, even under extreme heat; they are non-combustible, non toxic, and resistant to mold, mildew, fungus, vermin, ants and termites.  So not only will the structure of your home be VOC free, but you will not have to poison the ground around your house to repel termites and carpenter ants.

Be sure to select equally low VOC, human and pet friendly insulations & interior finishes for your home.
Can I get a Kit for my garage/barn/shed/etc.?
Yes!
Based on what you want, we'll get back to you with an am-cor Kit Estimate and an interactive Budget Sheet.
Do I need to hire a stucco professional for the structural Ferrocement coat?
If you are DIYing your project, the answer is most likely No.
After placing and securing your am-cor wall panels, your next step is to apply a thin layer of amcorite Ferrocement. This rough coat of stucco is a structural coat:
  • It creates the unibody Ferrocement stress skin shell, providing disaster-resistance.
  • It doesn't have to look smooth, as a finish layer is usually applied (stucco, siding, panels, etc.)
  • In fact, it's better if the base coat is a bit rough, as that provides "tooth" for the finish stucco coat.
  • Anybody can do it! You'll get used to troweling it on in about an hour. All it takes is a little elbow grease!

    Have a question that's not answered in the FAQ? Let us know! You can also search this site for your question.