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Builder Success Story: Casey Murray and The Viking Longhouse in Oklahoma

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In this builder success story we share how Logix ICF helped Casey Murray successfully GC his truly unique (and really cool!) Viking Longhouse-inspired family home in Oklahoma.

Introducing Casey…

Casey Murray is the hero of our story and the builder of this near-passive home inspired by the ancient Viking Longhouse in Oklahoma’s countryside.

Casey is a designer and project manager in Oklahoma.

Casey Murray (right)

Casey’s Goals For The Project

In this project, Casey’s objective was twofold.

First things first, he wanted to build a country home for his family that would be as near-passive as possible.

But secondly, Casey also wanted to use this project as a learning opportunity to develop himself as a construction professional.

And did he ever! Here are just a few things Casey discovered throughout this process that he feels will help him professionally:

  • The critical importance of scheduling
  • The importance of communication between trades, consultants, and other parties involved in the project
  • The subtleties of why certain building components (like sealant) are absolutely necessary
  • That cost over runs will happen, and the importance of compensating and adjusting to keep the project on budget
  • A greater insight into the residential construction process as opposed to commercial buildings
  • The difference of working in a rural area as opposed to the city

Casey also learned more from his subcontractors. After all, they are the specialists and have invaluable insights — especially regarding construction efficiency.

Getting Started

Casey bought the land where he’ll eventually build the new family home in April of 2021.

In his first pleasant surprise as a builder with urban experience, Casey managed to get his project permitted in a mere 3 days — almost unheard of with city building departments. During construction, Casey found that the local county building department made it easier to adapt and make changes on the spot, too.

During the build, Casey stayed at his in-law’s home 45 minutes away from the site. He finally moved into the new house in April of 2022.

Logix ICF Walls on rectangle slab oriented east to west measuring 20’ x 80’.

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About The Viking Longhouse Design!

Casey’s unique design concept has roots in the ancient Viking Longhouse.

The longhouse creates an ideal space for passive heating and cooling techniques. Back in the day the Vikings used stone to create the walls and wood framing for the roof.

The A-frame itself spans 38 ft but the walls are offset 9 ft on each side, providing space for porches and greenhouses.

The rectangle slab is oriented east to west measuring 20’ x 80’.

As you can see, the home comprises a single, long superstructure with a simple gable roof with massive overhangs on each side, providing covered space for porches, gardens, and greenhouses

Framed roof structure with overhangs
View of inside the longhouse.

Inside, the home’s grand room opens to a cathedral ceiling and a second story.

Cathedral ceiling with feature window

Casey’s Biggest Challenge

For Casey, the challenge was making this house passive (or as near-passive as it could be) while detailing all the features of this unique house

Logix ICF – A Critical Component and an Important Design Decision

Thermal Mass – Instead of old school stone for the walls, with Logix ICF Casey was able to take his house to near-passive performance with one step, without needing to use exotic materials or techniques.

Casey didn’t consider a system such as Logix at first thought but he got the idea from Dolese Bros. Co., to whom he had turned for concrete. They suggested Logix ICF, and right off the bat, Casey liked that the simplicity of this building material and the efficiency it provided — both in installation and energy performance.

Crucially, using Logix ICF, Casey could amalgamate six construction steps into one. This reduction in steps would translate into using fewer trades, writing fewer checks, and spending less time on administration.

Logix ICF being put into place

During construction, Casey’s bet on Logix paid off — the crew was able to assemble the walls with only 2 workers! Of course, he needed a larger crew on the day of the concrete pour, but nevertheless, this efficiency would have been impossible had he built a traditional wood-frame structure.

In the end, the home did not turn out entirely passive. Thanks to Oklahoma’s sizzling, humid summers (with plenty of 100°F days), Casey still had to install an air conditioner.

But since with the high mass Logix ICF walls the home was so great at keeping the outside weather out and preserving the indoor climate, Casey got away with a far cheaper HVAC system with a lower capacity.

Instead of getting a $25,000 HVAC system he was originally quoted for when he had plans for a traditional build, Casey only paid $9,000.   

Under the finished roof overhangs

Wrapping It Up

Casey’s success story illustrates how the right building material can help builders succeed despite challenges. Logix ICF helped Casey to achieve his dream of a Viking Longhouse-inspired near-passive family home.

In addition, Casey was able to breeze through much of the construction process with a small crew and few trades.

One final note – asked if he’d do something differently, Casey had only one thing to say — that he’d have fitted his new home with hydronically heated concrete floors!

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