Why the “Field Verify” Approach Can’t Last Forever
Last year LP invested 45 $ million in Entekra, one of the nation's leading off-site homebuilders. As this type of construction gains popularity in the U.S., a number of architectural firms have asked Entekra to do presentations about how to successfully design for off-site homebuilding.
"What we really stress to them is the importance of advance planning," says Entekra CEO Gerry McCaughey. "In Europe, it's common for architects to provide all the details in advance. But in the U.S., it's a different story. Entekra often gets architectural drawings where some of the details say 'to be verified in the field.' But we need to create a 3-D model of the house before it's even built, so architects can't omit details like the window dimensions."
As the industry continues to grapple with limited staff, smarter building solutions and simplified building methods are a way to help speed things along. One of the major benefits of off-site homebuilding is construction speed. But when key architectural and engineering details are missing, Entekra has to spend six to eight weeks trying to track down the information and get the drawings completely ready. "That really elongates the building process unnecessarily," says McCaughey.
Architects and specifiers also need to know that some building products are ideally suited to off-site manufacturing. “We use a lot of LSL, and that's a material that's under-used in the U.S. in our opinion," adds McCaughey. "It solves a lot of the problems that builders have with lumber, especially in the upper end of the market. We've also found that fire-rated OSB also works very well, particularly for multi-story buildings.”
"Architects and builders are starting to realize that a lot of what's broken in this industry is due to lack of forward planning and information-sharing," says McCaughey. "We can't get drawings that say 'field verify' anymore. Architects need to remember that off-site facilities are building homes with high-precision automated equipment - and we can't do our work if the details are missing."
There are only two ways to boost your bottom line: increase revenue and cut costs. In this blog, we'll explore innovative ways for builders to cut costs in order to increase homebuilder profit margins - and we'll examine revenue enhancement in a future post.Continue Reading
According to the latest American Community Survey from the U.S. Census Bureau, about 4 million people now work in residential construction (both single-family and multifamily) - down from the 5 million who were employed just before the Great Recession. Although the workforce has shrunk by 20 percent nationwide, some parts of the country are experiencing less pain than others. Similarly, light commercial construction has been reportedly back on the rise post-Recession, with IBISWorld reporting that the recovery started just before 2014 and continuing steadily through 2019 (source).
It's frustrating when factors outside of your control cause you delays or unexpected expenses during a project. Those factors could be weather delays, insufficient staffing, breakdowns in cash flow and unreliable product availability. LP devotes significant resources each year to ensure that its product availability is second to none. Because even the most innovative building solution is useless to customers unless they know that it's available when they really need it.
It's a silly name, but a "butt joint" is an application technique where two pieces of material are "butted" up against each other. It is the simplest joint to make, and a butt joint can be either end to end or end to face. Depending on the width of the wall, butt joints will occur where two pieces of lap siding come together, creating a vertical seam. LP® SmartSide® lap siding products are available in 16' lengths, and can help reduce the amount of seams where a butt joint would normally occur when using shorter pieces.