The Collective Carpentry Building System is the manifestation of the design principles upon which our panel construction is based.  Our design principles focus on function, material choice, and prefab optimization, while incorporating high performance building strategies for durability, energy efficiency, health, and comfort.  


While many conventionally constructed buildings incorporate elements of prefabrication (walls built on the floor before being lifted into place, engineered trusses ordered from a truss manufacturer, etc.), the prefabricated, super-insulated exterior panels Collective Carpentry builds are specifically designed to quickly and efficiently deliver a more thoroughly weathered-in building with five important functions:

  1. Structural integrity: Structural framing built from dimensional lumber, ¾” plywood, LVLs, and in some cases I-joists
  2. Integrated rainscreen: Vertical and/or horizontal 1x or 2x strapping installed on top of a weatherproof building fabric, protecting this crucial control layer and allowing for outward drying of the assembly, while providing an attachment mechanism for exterior siding or roofing material
  3. Continuous airtightness: Integrated layers of specialized tapes, building fabrics, and plywood designed to connect together onsite to provide interior and exterior continuous airtight layers, preventing drafts, energy losses, and moisture issues that otherwise lead to rot and mold in the assembly.
  4. Continuous insulation: A continuous 8″, 9.5″, or 11 7/8″ layer of cellulose (recycled newspaper) insulation contained by I-joists and a reinforced, monolithic, airtight, weatherproof building fabric, reducing heat transfer and thermal bridging.
  5. Planning for penetrations and services: HVAC, plumbing, and electrical conduits, plywood window bucks, and a dedicated interior cavity for services, protecting the integrity of the airtight layers during construction and for the life of the building.

While these elements are characteristic of all of our exterior insulated panels, Collective Carpentry also deals with other elements such as exo roof panels to accomplish roof overhangs, interior shear walls, and un-insulated floor panels & mass timber elements to provide structural support for the exterior structure.

Material choice

Commitment to quality: We don’t believe in selecting cheap, low-end building materials just because the rest of the industry uses them.  We believe that materials matter, and choose to work with materials that are proven by building science and field performance, paying for the value they provide.  We put a far greater amount of focus on the importance of air, moisture, and thermal control in the building envelope than the vast majority of construction projects ever attempt, and guide our choice of materials by buying local, buying responsibly, and buying in quantity.

  1. Local: We use local materials wherever possible, supporting local businesses and industries while valuing the sustainability of limiting the carbon-heavy transportation costs of sourcing from halfway around the world whenever possible.
  2. Responsible: We source products that come from responsibly managed forests, production methods that use no toxic or environmentally persistent materials, and products that require less energy (embodied carbon) to manufacture, from the extraction of raw materials through to processing, assembly, and delivery 
  3. Cost effective: By working with consistent and reliable suppliers, we are able to more accurately predict the cost of construction by incorporating the cost of materials in our 3D modeling software, improving accuracy and smart decision making while improving buying power due to the volume of panels we build each year.

Prefab optimization

Our wall, roof, and floor panel design recommendations always point to what’s most efficient to build given the current capabilities of our production facility, most cost-effective to ship with logistics carriers, and most time and material-efficient for panel installation.  Following the Collective Carpentry Building System means making decisions around wall heights to minimize waste, optimizing panel size for shipping, and incorporating certain types of structural connections to optimize panel installation.  While our systems are flexible, our efficiencies are borne out of repetition, improvisation, experience, and innovation.

The Collective Carpentry Building System is not rigid nor is it prescriptive.  It offers a spectrum of efficiency and ultimately makes its way into all of our designs, no matter the design paradigm.  For more on our three design paradigms – Pre-Designed, Optimized, and Custom – click here to learn more about Getting Started.

Interested in diving into more details?  Click here to request a set of standard details for our panel systems showing assembly bulidups and typical connections both within and outside of our typical scope.

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