Today in the construction industry, unique opportunities for innovation have been created by:
Skilled labor shortages
Changes in building regulations
Awareness of the environmental impact of the built environment
Increased demands for better comfort and health in homes and other buildings
Increased cost and complexity of the construction that addresses these challenges
A recent acknowledgement of the high amount of carbon emissions from the production of materials like concrete, foam, and steel, contributing to the emergence of advanced wood-based materials
Our approach starts with recognizing these realities, and continues daily as we seek to find and implement smart solutions to these dynamic challenges.
Our Built Environment
We tackle issues of cost, complexity, quality, and social and environmental impact in the construction of homes, public buildings, and other structures.
This means addressing why construction is so expensive, why the construction industry hasn’t seen the productivity gains of other industries, and how structures built with poor attention to quality and performance ultimately end up
- costing homeowners more money for repairs and operating costs,
- creating health problems from rot and mold,
- magnifying social inequalities
- leaving a heavier carbon footprint
Addressing the triple bottom line of economy, ecology, and social impact is arguably more important and impactful in housing than it is in any other industry.
Comfort, Health, & Efficiency
We raise the bar for quality by taking control over how performance is designed and built into the building shell.
Most social, environmental, and health issues in homes and other buildings come not from a lack of expensive finishes and heating and cooling equipment, but from poor design. By evaluating the passive ways that buildings can maintain their interior temperature – like a coffee thermos that retains heat as opposed to a glass coffee that needs to be actively heated – and avoiding the use of bioaccumulative and energy-intensive materials, we can create buildings that are more light on the planet and designed to keep you warm, safe, healthy, comfortable, and with a low carbon footprint for the planet.
Panelize & Install
We design and panelize structural building elements at an off-site location, and deliver and install these components with skill, speed, and experience.
Panelization and off-site production mimics what is already done on most construction sites in North America, where walls and roof structures are often in some way built on the ground and tilted or lifted into place. But like the assembly line popularized by the Model T Ford, where components with many parts were assembled in a factory instead of built in somebody’s backyard, panelization intercepts building materials as they go from forest to building supply house to jobsite, and designs and executes a way to take many of the steps of assembly off of the job site and into a climate-controlled factory where accuracy, speed, and efficiency are much easier to achieve. When you see your first building assembled on site in just a few days, you’ll understand just how much of an improvement this is over site-built construction. If the word “modular” or “prefab” makes you cringe because you’ve seen the poor quality with which it was executed in the late 20th century, take a look at our page on the evolving industry to understand how that’s changing in the 21st.
Building Science & Automation Technology
We apply scientific understandings of issues from climate change to toxicity, moisture, heat transfer, and comfort to our design and manufacturing process.
Climate change science is everyone’s concern, because it presents an existential threat to the future of our society. It encompasses biology, ecology, economy, sociology, psychology, and many other scientific disciplines, and is pretty much that one thing that – if we don’t get right – could mean a disaster for us humans. As believers in what science has taught us, we extend this effort to the science that addresses the building challenges of today. As we build more insulated structures to reduce the energy use in our buildings, we face new challenges of thermal (temperature), hygrothermal (moisture), and other dynamics of physics, comfort, and embodied carbon that require a scientific lens. Science gives way to technology, invention, and innovation, so that we can replicate good solutions at increasingly affordable costs.
Quality & Production Efficiency
We design in 3D, measure 3 times, and are 3 times faster than building on site.
Technology alone doesn’t offer us any benefits if we don’t understand the technology and seek to master the art of its use. With focus, attention to detail, and the constant search for improvement, we implement repetitive, redundant, and resilient processes that make our use of technology worth it. From design to carpentry and assembly, we aim for a well-oiled machine that we’re confident can deliver results because we’re sure we’ve earned it.
We provide better working conditions for individuals which leads to a better quality end product.
In fact, the reason we started building inside was because we, somewhat selfishly, strongly disliked building in the cold. With such a short building season in a cold climate, this helped us extend the building season, but also allows us to extend this benefit to a growing staff who sees a better work-life balance, more comfortable working conditions, and opportunities for learning new skills in computer-aided design and construction for a 21st century world. Happy, engaged employees are the heart of our business, and we wouldn’t be anywhere without them. For our clients, it means fewer mistakes, more consistency and better quality.
Going Where We're Needed
We serve hard-to-reach and diverse geographic markets by limiting site time and accelerating construction timelines. install these components with skill, speed, and experience.
High performance building skills are hard to disseminate across an entire population. Alongside the need for a massive effort to improve our construction trades training programs and to encourage more young people to join the industry, is sometimes just a need to get things done now by bringing in skillsets from further afield. For site-built construction projects, this is hard to accomplish because construction projects take months or years to complete. But when a panel install takes a handful of days and much of the high performance building work around advanced framing, insulation, and airsealing is already complete before the panels leave the shop, it becomes feasible to bring this expertise to your site to assemble everything on site.
We collaborate with stakeholders using an integrated design process, leading to fewer errors, miscommunications, and roadblocks.
The construction industry is notorious for architects and contractors having particular views of each other, and the typical design/bid/build process means the feedback loops are often broken or non-existent, leading to poor communication and a process that’s not only less successful, it’s just less fun. When we work together with an integrated design process, we all see a better result.