New Home Construction 2012- Stick Frame or Panelized Construction
Like many other areas throughout the country, the Chicago area new home construction market has experienced many set-backs in recent years. During this time a number of new home technologies seem to have been placed on hold, like many panelization firms.
In this buyers market of 2012, people who are building new homes today are taking advantage of some of the lowest interest rates ever, and many are finding a vast inventory of property available at a substantial discount. We believe that the end result of a new home construction project warrants careful consideration in order to build the most efficient, structurally sound and high quality standards.
Consider for a moment the positives of panelized construction as opposed to traditional stick framing:
• A panelized home is completely engineered to ensure the home will actually fit together as designed with very few, if any, surprises.
• A panelized home is “green” in that it is built from farm raised wood which is the original renewable resource.
• It is also “green” in the sense that there is very little of the wood that winds up as scrap lumber to be sent to the dump. In fact, the scrap from a 4000 square foot home does not quite fill a home garbage cart. Compare that with the two or three 30 yard dumpsters parked at a new home site while framing is underway.
• Theft from the site is minimized–a thief may take 2×4’s and plywood from a stick framed home site, but a full wall panel makes the job exponentially more difficult.
• Panelized framing is extremely fast: One day at the factory is all we need to fabricate the entire house and garage, load it on trucks and send them on their way.
• On site assembly of a panelized home is extremely fast as well: we normally assemble the entire rough framing package in ten days or less. Compare that time with ten to twelve weeks for stick framing.
• Because of the rapidity with which the panelized framing is accomplished, inclement weather is rarely a factor. Little or no moisture ever hits the exposed sub flooring and raw wood framing while the house is being built.
• Another benefit to the time spent framing is that you save two to three interest payments during construction of your home.
• Most importantly, quality is rarely matched by a stick-built home. If you were to visit the fabrication facility, you would find the assembly line moving along, installing windows, house wrap, nailing fins, tape over the seams, all inspected by on site inspectors within the factory. The goal is to deliver to the job site a square and plumb structure that can be quickly assembled.
• The biggest drawback of panelized construction is the price differential in today’s competitive market. With so many people out of work, most carpentry firms have cut back support staff and other overhead costs. Many are now operating out of their homes and are hungry for business. They do not have a factory and other overhead issues a panelization firm endures. This results in a larger disparity in pricing that is normally found in the market. Clearly, a local carpenter will be able to underbid a project in the current economic climate.
The question is at what price differential defines a tipping point to move from panelized framing to stick framing?
Kathcon Development has constructed over a hundred homes, nearly half are panelized. We feel the quality and advantages of panelization far outweigh the disadvantages and help ensure a better long term investment.
Our vote is for panelized projects.