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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 job site. But all the stakeholders benefit if faster code approvals help shorten the schedule and make homes more affordable.”

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Business Advice4 min

Predictions for 2020 from LP Execs

The homebuilding industry is always changing, thanks to housing trends, shifts in buyer preferences, new technologies and even finance options. We recently sat down with Brad Southern, CEO of LP Building Solutions, and Mike Sims, LP’s SVP of Marketing and Business Development, to discuss the latest industry developments.

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Industry Trends3 min
Why Key Strategies for Reducing Labor Time May Be Backfiring

Many construction companies and remodelers have been sorely challenged by the shortage of skilled laborers. As more companies struggle to find good workers and juggle projects, many are thirsty for strategies that promise to trim time.

Business Advice4 min
Why Remodelers Should Switch to LP® SmartSide® Trim & Siding

Are you considering switching to LP® SmartSide® Trim & Siding? Many remodelers and installers are anxious about switching to a new product—even when they know, in their gut, that it’s the right move. If you’re worried about change, here are four questions to ask yourself: What are the advantages of the product? How quickly can I get my team trained? How will the change benefit my company and reputation? What is the availability of the products?

Outdoor Living3 min
Shed Builder Spotlight: Lapp Structures

Since its start in 1987, Lapp Structures has transitioned from producing standard sheds to making aspirational builds a core element of its business. Coining the term DreamSpaces™, Lapp Structures helps customers create unique shed builds where they can explore their hobbies without sacrificing the comfort of home. Due to its unmatched consistency, proprietary technology and extreme durability, Lapp Structures names LP® Outdoor Building Solutions® a key component to its success.