Industry Trends5 min

What Architects Need to Know About Off-Site Construction

Why the “Field Verify” Approach Can’t Last Forever

Last year LP invested $45 million in Entekra, one of the nation’s leading off-site homebuilders. As this type of construction gains popularity in the U.S., a number of architectural firms have asked Entekra to do presentations about how to successfully design for off-site homebuilding.

“What we really stress to them is the importance of advance planning,” says Entekra CEO Gerry McCaughey. “In Europe, it’s common for architects to provide all the details in advance. But in the U.S., it’s a different story. Entekra often gets architectural drawings where some of the details say ‘to be verified in the field.’ But we need to create a 3-D model of the house before it’s even built, so architects can’t omit details like the window dimensions.”

As the industry continues to grapple with limited staff, smarter building solutions and simplified building methods are a way to help speed things along. One of the major benefits of off-site homebuilding is construction speed. But when key architectural and engineering details are missing, Entekra has to spend six to eight weeks trying to track down the information and get the drawings completely ready. “That really elongates the building process unnecessarily,” says McCaughey.

Architects and specifiers also need to know that some building products are ideally suited to off-site manufacturing. “We use a lot of LSL, and that’s a material that’s under-used in the U.S. in our opinion,” adds McCaughey. “It solves a lot of the problems that builders have with lumber, especially in the upper end of the market. We’ve also found that fire-rated OSB also works very well, particularly for multi-story buildings.”

“Architects and builders are starting to realize that a lot of what’s broken in this industry is due to lack of forward planning and information-sharing,” says McCaughey. “We can’t get drawings that say ‘field verify’ anymore. Architects need to remember that off-site facilities are building homes with high-precision automated equipment – and we can’t do our work if the details are missing.”

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Business Advice4 min

Choosing Materials: Best Siding for Cold Climates

January and February typically usher in the season’s coldest temperatures, bringing the need to use building materials that can withstand frigid temperatures with them. However, it’s often the freeze/thaw cycle––cold days followed by quick warm-ups––that can cause significant damage to a home’s siding. So, what is the best siding for cold climates to combat this?

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Business Advice4 min
Best House Sheathing for Cold Climates

With temperatures dropping, insulation and protecting new construction against the elements are top of mind. Of course, builders must consider how insulated wall sheathing can help meet code requirements and contribute to the overall performance of the building envelope. However, they must also carefully consider potential moisture problems both during and after the build and the potential impacts of freeze/thaw cycles. With the season of potential hard freezes followed by fast warm-ups upon us, let’s explore methods for choosing the best house sheathing for cold climates.

Business Advice5 min
Building a House During Winter: Cold Weather Construction Safety Tips

With housing demand at an all-time high, builders do not have the ability to halt home construction during the winter months. Builders can work safely year round, even building houses during winter with planning and preparation. Advanced products and installation methods allow work to be performed during wet and very cold temperatures, but builders also need to consider winter safety for construction workers.

Business Advice4 min
Engineered Wood Siding in Multifamily Developments

Engineered wood siding has long been considered a trustworthy exterior product for single-family homes, but it is often overlooked for multifamily and commercial construction. LP® SmartSide® products are versatile enough for a range of builds beyond traditional single-family homes. Take a look at the homes featured in Madison Parade of Homes for siding inspiration and to see how LP SmartSide Trim & Siding might suit your building needs.