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WARNING: Do NOT make your final payment before you have your final shipment!! Re-negotiate your contract to hold 10% at final delivery. Once I made my final payment, communication became very scarce. Still waiting for my final shipments. Here is the timeline for my experience with Topsider after my home was destroyed in Huriccane Irma (Sept 2017): Signed contract with Topsider and 50% down payment 11/28/2017. Contract to ship house between 2/28/2018-3/30/2018.
Final payment made: 5/30/2018. This was a big mistake! I should have held last 10% of project until final shipment received. No consistent communication and updates after this point. Errors: Did not upgrade plans from shingle to metal roof (Nov 2017) so incorrect NOAs. Did not upgrade kitchen layout (plumbing & electrical) (2/7/2018). Did not correct exterior door based on selections so incorrect NOAs. Did not update exterior siding on prints (however correct siding was delivered). Incomplete Builders prints issued: 2/13/2018. Concerns noted by local building official: No energy calculations. No electrical drawings. Incorrect exterior door - no NOAs. NOAs did not match. Held up permitting 3 months.
Foundation only permit issued 5/18/2018, below issues still not addressed. No energy calculations. No electrical drawings. Corrected exterior door - no NOAs. NOAs did not match. Full Building Permit issued 8/31/2018. First shipment 8/24/2018 (expected 8/18/2018 Second shipment 10/22/2018 no exterior door! Anticipated ready to ship dates for final load as per Al Fielders 10/27/2018: 11/19/2018 exterior door – has not yet arrived 12/7/2018. 12/11/2018 floor tiles, cabinets, interior doors.
Since I liked the first Topsider Home I bought and erected so much, I bought two. The first one in the Virgin Islands which I built on a beach on the steep slope of an extinct Volcano and the other on a steep slope in the Redwood Forest in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California. I selected Topsider for both houses for three primary reasons: 1. Ease of construction on a steeply sloping lot; 2. Ability to maximize the beachfront and mountain views with 270 degrees of floor to ceiling glass; and 3. The comfort of knowing that the homes could withstand the hurricane force winds and seismic forces of earthquakes in both the Virgin Islands and the very active San Andreas Fault area in California.
My Virgin Island home just survived, 100% structurally intact, from the double whammy dead on hits from the eyewall of Hurricane Irma with recorded sustained winds of 275 MPH and 2 weeks later from the opposite side, Hurricane Maria at 185 MPH. All I lost was a few feet of plastic gutter and some decking. Both homes have been tested with multiple earthquakes and although the homes moved on their foundations up to 6" from side to side, the design strength inherent in the post and beam design of the homes allowed the home to flex with no damage.
Topsider's flexible design options allowed me to pick a 165 MPH wind force coastal design package and with the factor of safety of 2.0, I got the 330 MPH I needed for Hurricane Irma. 20 of 25 homes in my neighborhood, some of them heavily reinforced concrete homes, did not survive. Having built two Topsider homes and after a visit to their factory, and I can attest to the quality control and customer service exercised by Topsider. They even gave me their home phone numbers and personal cell phone numbers to maximize the great customer service they offer.
My two sons and five of their closest friends erected my first home in three weeks. With me supervising and my wife serving as chief cook and site manager, we had a family bonding experience that will give us positive rewarding memories for generations to come. I highly recommend Topsider for your next home. And if you're wondering, I do not work for, receive any compensation or other rewards by giving this honest review. They are a great company.
Topsider Homes earned our confidence in all aspects of its offerings: innovative design; soundness and efficacy of engineering; strength of the structure; quality of components; and, accessibility of service during construction. The construction blueprints, manuals and videos are clear and precise in every detail, which assures that builders, building inspectors and owners are provided all the information for project installation and inspections of the Topsider-provided prefabricated components and to assure effective tie-in of any necessary builder-provided components (such as decks, patios, entranceways and site preparation).
Construction of any kind is always full of challenges as a consequence of the variability in the qualities of the builder and his subs. We spent months working with Topsider to locate a builder experienced in installing a Topsider or similar prefabricated home… but found that this was not necessary as the construction information provided by Topsider makes it possible for any competent builder and subs to properly erect the structure. Topsider people were always available and responsive to provide answers and solutions to construction questions and issues.
Our contract was entered into in April 2016. The County Building Inspector issued his Certificate of Occupancy in March 2017. Since that time there have been no quality issues with Topsider materials or design. As regards design and engineering we are particularly pleased with the strength of the structure in dealing with frequent high winds and gusts at our mountain site… a consequence of all load bearing components being focused on the center steel beam which allows interior room design flexibility and utilization of ductless HVAC systems.
We are particularly pleased that we included the optional Cupola. The R-39 hard insulation components make the home energy efficient and add strength and integrity of the overall structure. The space inside the pedestal accommodates and secures electric and water utilities. In our relatively cold climate it has been necessary to install electric heating “tapes” to water lines and drains extending from the pedestal, which is the responsibility of the builder, but which really should be noted in the blueprints and builder instructions. We are pleased with our Topsider home and recommend the company to others.
I have been looking at options for a hurricane proof cottage on Cape Cod, and I came across Topsider Homes. I have had experience with different styles of post homes across many parts of the world, and Topsider seems to have the best design. It is always a challenge to have a nice looking dwelling that also deals well with the elements, especially on or near the coast. While many designs simply take the dominant architectural design of the locale, and put it on stilts, Topsider has taken a central post concept, and fleshed it out. This is such a great idea.
I read some other reviews which focused a lot on problems people had, and I feel for people who have problems in life, but it is a shame to make this the focus of a review of a business with such a groundbreaking idea. These home designs overcome some serious engineering challenges, and I think there should be a lot more commendation for that than over somebody who had a major life issue and it has affected their home building situation. That being said, I greatly admire their knowledge of methods and materials, and look forward to utilizing their design expertise and hopefully their products in my future build. Great work!
I have been interested in finding a builder who offers building construction that is resistant to hurricanes and tornadoes, and a couple of people recommended that I look at Topsider Homes. I wanted to learn more, and since I have family about 40 minutes from their factory, I went and saw the fam and went up to visit Topsider as well. The owner, Sheldon Storer, personally met me and took me on the grand tour! Mr. Storer was a very nice guy, and took me on a long and educational tour throughout their facilities and even showed me of one of their model homes on the property. Very open floor plan, lots of windows, and surprisingly a lot of storage in the "base" of the home! All in all, an amazing experience and I plan to continue discussions with Topsider in the near future!
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Sue ** seemed to be unavailable after striking a deal with our customer countertops. No contract was ever drawn up. Needed countertops and one cabinet ordered all through this company. From the very beginning miscommunication seemed to happen continually throughout this entire job. Cabinet should have been ordered way before install. Finally the day before had to continually call for delivery of the cabinet about 4 times finally arriving around 3:30!! Time was set for the following day for install. No one showed. Called Stone Dynamics and they said someone cancelled the install saying cabinet was not in (Have no idea who). Lost whole day from work and a lot of phone calls!!!
Then on Monday they arrive and I am told they do not take out the old ones only clean install. Never knew this. When my husband and I talked with Sue she said for an additional charge they would take the old countertops out and install new ones. They said they did not do that!! Husband had to take off from work to tear out old ones and then they installed!! There were so many other problems in this job - came twice to measure not letting anyone know and no one was home and then upped the price 400.00 more!! Then they did not put a back splash on one countertop!! This was the worst experience I have ever had with a company. My family, friends will be told to never deal with your company again!!
I contacted Topsider Homes as a possible source to build a weekend cabin. I did not like the manner that they conducted their business. Topsider Homes never provided the "free cost estimate" - instead keep pushing for ongoing telephone conversations when I had clearly requested from the very beginning a standard design with no variations/changes. I then searched online and found numerous consumer complaints regarding the company. I will NOT be doing business with Topsider Homes.
I've been waiting eight weeks for a refund check that Al** (Director of Operations) promised would be disbursed to me. I've made numerous phone calls and sent multiple emails only to be stonewalled or ignored. Absolutely the most horrific consumer/business transaction I've ever experienced in 40 years. Absolutely no integrity at that company.
The company has agreed to start making payments for these freight moves.
We have carriers who have worked hard to haul freight for this company. After SIX months of unreturned phone calls and unpaid bills, we will be out a ton of money. I wouldn't trust this company if they refuse to pay the hardworking truck drivers who deliver their goods.
The house frame came somewhat timely but the interiors have now taken 4 months and still aren't here.
I did get a call from Topsider homes relating to my complaint about the mold issue. Afterdiscussing the problem it is mutually agreed there is not a design problem. The problem seems to be coming from the builder that I hired.
Please do not hesitate to do business wiisth Topsider. The product and support is outstanding.
We love the layout of the house. Beautiful. House was ordered 2008... to be placed in VA. VA is a humid state. We noticed mold in the first year and thought we were containing it via bleach spray. Was wrong. Black mold has taken the garage and now working its way in the house... i.e., kitchen/living room. My mother has been calling Al ** at Topsider for months now. I have one reply on my voice mail and that's it. My daughter is asthmatic and has had to increase her meds... I have an 83-yo mom with OCD. She does not need to breath in mold spores. Knowing the house was being placed in a humid area, there should have been some vents to let the moisture out. Designer flaw. I need a call back and a solution to the problem that does not cost me.
Do not use Topsider! After careful consideration (I even flew to NC to see their factory and model home), I paid $10,000 in design fees and received basic designs. Then, we decided to sell our lot instead of build. Al **, Director of Operations, is very prompt to respond to email and phone calls when there is the potential to get more money out of you. When you're discussing a refund, he ignores you. I asked for a partial refund - no response. I asked if the remaining balance could be transferred to the buyer of the lot (a sales incentive) - no response. I've called and emailed too many times. Go elsewhere!
If I could give them a zero, I would. We have kept a blog about our Topsider experience, ***.com. We are very careful about purchases and even went to the factory to check it out. Even from before delivery, we had conflict with them. They sent our blueprints without an electrical page which held up the process by two month then insisted on delivering the house in the rainy season though we asked them not to.
The kit was delivered without the main central support post, wrong length bolts, wrong washers, walls did not fit into the space, windows did not fit into the spaces, the walls leak in the rain (no weather wrap under the siding). The kit instructions show three people and a stick raising the support beams. Ha! This needed a crane. We were told that it would be a weekend to make the house weather tight. It took months. They sent the wrong sliding glass doors and the windows on the front doors did not line up.
Our insulation was ruined due to the delivery date in the rain. The time spent waiting for replacement parts set us behind schedule. Walls were crooked/warped and had to be straightened with a come along and chains. Nothing was as it should have been and we got so far behind that a house started in 2006 is just now nearing completion. We were so frustrated that I started a yahoo group for other Topsider owners just to see if we were unique. We were not. Once you are done, Topsider offers a cost reconciliation. After hearing other folks describe their experiences, we declined to try to get reimbursement for our extra costs. I would never ever recommend them even to my worst enemy.
I have an 8 year old Topsider home with defective shingles that are falling off the roof. I contacted Topsider early September 2011 & filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau with no success to help resolve the problem. Topsider says not responsible. I need help with this matter. Topsider is a horrible business to say the least!
We tried to build a home with Topsider Homes. We were promised that financing would be available. We "battled" through nine+ months, over two-hundred email communications and much headaches and heartaches, with three banks recommended to us by Topsider Homes. We were turned down by all three for the special nature of Topsider's nontraditional post-and-beam construction relative to the location we planned to build in rural west central Arkansas. Again, we were assured by Topsider Homes that the home could be built anywhere and financing would not be a problem if we qualified. We qualified. Our credit score is nearly 800. We are not at all wealthy but are financially stable with a current home near paid off, property in Arkansas paid off, and stable employment and a good income as a pharmacist.
On 27-Sept-2003, my wife and I presented a check for $58,693.89 to Topsider Building System as a downpayment to build our retirement home in Florida. It takes roughly three years to acquire a building permit in Monroe county. We were all aware of that. On 21-April-2005m, I was diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus and given three weeks to live. At the same time, we received word that our permit would be issued.
We notified Topsider of our situation and they had no problem with us taking care of my medical problem first. I have now undergone two major operations, four years of chemo, three months of radiation, pet scans, endoscopy and countless amounts of prescription drugs. As of today's date, 25-May-2010, I still have cancer. I am being treated at both The Maplewood Cancer Center and the Mayo Clinic. The ACS sends a crew to my house during the summer months to cut my grass and maintain my yard.
As you can see, I am no longer able to maintain a private residence without help. On 28-Jan-2010, I called Topsider to discuss my situation and have our money returned. They in turn hired a law firm. Nice people ha! I notified the BBB office to no avail. I have been on SSD since Nov-2005 and medicare as well. Help us!
Topsider Homes Company Information
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