Industry Trends8 min

Building Smarter Starts With Smashing Silos

One of the most vexing problems in home construction is that productivity isn’t rising fast enough – even though there are fabulous productivity tools everywhere you look.

Making a process lean and efficient isn’t always the answer, according to John Murphy from the consulting firm FMI. Sometimes a process can be scrapped entirely, which in turn causes productivity to soar. But it can only happen when all the key stakeholders – developers, designers, manufacturers and builders – tear down their respective silos and start collaborating more effectively. 

At a recent HIVE workshop, Murphy encouraged attendees to take a wider look at the four cornerstones of project management: cost, schedule, performance and risk. “When a manufacturer first introduced sheetrock several decades ago, it completely eliminated the need for the plastering trade,” says Murphy. “Almost overnight, there was no need for special training – and jobs could be done much faster at a lower cost. It would have been silly to try to make old-style plastering ‘leaner’ or more efficient because the new material eliminated that process completely.”

Any time that one stakeholder reduces another’s risk – or helps cut cost and speed the schedule – the entire value chain benefits. This can happen through product innovation that removes steps from the process or quickens the application or installation. “Efficiency – in all of its forms – is a priority at LP,” says Marcelle Lacy, LP’s Senior Corporate Brand Manager for OSB and EWP. “With our new LP® WeatherLogic® Air & Water Barrier, builders install protection they can count on in less time while enhancing the home or building’s energy efficiency.”

Sometimes a tech breakthrough seems like a great idea, but may not be truly necessary. “A great example is whether or not to invest in augmented reality (AR) tools to aid workers with installation,” says Murphy. “If a builder isn’t thinking holistically, that probably makes a lot of sense. But what if the developer decides to build the homes in an off-site facility? That investment in AR training may not be needed because the crew isn’t framing the house on-site.”

Murphy acknowledges that most manufacturers and builders don’t wake up in the morning thinking “What can I do to help my partners in the value chain?” But empathy and collaboration can ultimately benefit everyone in homebuilding, from beginning to end. “Sometimes the shared interests are easy to identify,” he says. “In the case of off-site manufacturing, many municipalities have been slow to see the value in doing code approvals in the factory rather than on the jobsite. But all the stakeholders benefit if faster code approvals help shorten the schedule and make homes more affordable.”

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Business Advice6 min

Plywood Vs. LP® SmartSide® for Sheds

For years, plywood materials such as T1-11 shed siding have been a top choice for outdoor structures. They can be used for everything from shed flooring and walls to furniture, which makes them a convenient option—but they’re not the only option. Despite plywood being top-of-mind for many, engineered wood products can help boast a greater value when it comes to outdoor structures.

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News & Stories7 min
Learn From Industry Experts: Best Practices for Multigenerational Construction

A multigenerational workforce is not a new concept, but as a new community of tech-savvy builders enters the industry the gap between generations may seem wider than ever. Though there are some natural challenges that come with it, a multigenerational workforce also provides a more curious and diverse environment for all skill levels and ages.

Business Advice5 min
What Does Energy Star Certified Mean?

Environmentally friendly living continues to be top-of-mind for homeowners. Because many want homes that are built for energy efficiency, professional builders must prepare to discuss this topic with their clients and to provide options for a build that promotes energy efficiency and minimal environmental impact.

Business Advice6 min
Storage and Handling 101: LP Structural Solutions

Before installation begins, proper storage and handling is critical as you receive products onto the jobsite. When products are handled properly and in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions, you can help avoid damage to new products, use what you order, and help ensure that the product will perform as intended once installed.