But Only the Really Profitable Ones Use Panelization.
Home buyers now demand quality and customization details often associated with custom designs, and sometimes, they’re willing to pay for it. The thing is, how can you build custom projects at production speeds, to ensure your margins? And how can you lower the learning curve for your trades on house designs you may not have built before?
Components like roof trusses and floor trusses are widely recognized as leading solutions, but now wall panels are all the rage too.
Professional Builder published a series of interviews with builders who’ve made the switch to panelization—including several whose specialty lies in custom homes.
Steve Crandall, a high-end custom builder who switched to panels, says that many customers are surprised to discover the quality of today’s structural components, and many more cite the design flexibility of using components as the biggest surprise. “There are absolutely no design limitations with panelization,” says Jason Blenker, founder of Blenker Building Systems, who runs a remarkably successful component shop.
For starters, scheduling is easier and more predictable with panelized construction. The “domino effect” of scheduling problems, where a delay in one area of construction leads to costly delays in the rest of the project, is much less prevalent on a jobsite with a panelized and componentized home.
Components also pair extremely well with BIM technology, which can digitally pre-build the home and allow builders the extraordinary insight to prevent issues that otherwise would arise down the road. The wood frame is essentially a “kit” delivered to the site, and not bunks of lumber that have to be figured out by the framers onsite, cut, and nailed together.
Even post and beam houses can be benefit from panelization. Bob Lindal, president of Cedar Homes, an outfit that manufactures post-and-beam homes, says of using wall panels, “Because we engineer all the components, there’s good quality control and very little waste.”
Need control? Predictability? Predictable margins? Lower on-site labor costs? Safer job sites? Panelization and componentization can contribute all of these to your homes.