The Changing Face of Construction Engineering — Part Three

Panelization is revolutionizing the construction and engineering landscape today, saving time and money.

In this final post of our blog series, we reiterate and summarize the benefits of prefabrication and specifically the rise of panelization. We also offer an overview of what to look for if you want to incorporate these “manufactured” panel solutions into your construction and engineering plans.

Pre-Fab Manufacturing Can Mean Faster Build Times

A systemized approach to panelized construction can offer many benefits over traditional precast panels, including speed, value and superior performance. There are lightweight, energy efficient, durable panels available today from panel producers from a network of panelizers/fabricators such as those associated with Sto Panel Technology. These are available in a wide variety of aesthetic options for new construction or renovation.

Building envelope installation-time can be greatly reduced using prefab wall panels. The reason? Fast-track, systemized panel manufacturing can occur simultaneously with site prep and construction, with fewer delays due to weather and faster installation times.

Reduced Project Costs

By eliminating scaffolding and other complications of working at high elevations, prefab panels can also help reduce jobsite labor requirements and crew sizes along with the associated risks.  Lightweight panels can also lower structural requirements, drywall furring, boxing, strapping and various costs related to doing it “the old-fashioned way.” Since the shortage of skilled labor is one of the biggest issues in commercial construction today, any labor-saving innovation such as reduced on-site craft work can add value.

Ensure Quality Control, Compliance and Energy Efficiency

In pursuing a panelization solution, make sure your vendor’s output is in full compliance with codes for testing, building and energy efficiency. Sto panels for instance, have ISO-engineered components and offer superior fire, and thermal performance with industry-leading warranties. If you’re adopting this technology, look for products that offer extensive architectural and finish options. With the factory application of materials, you can count on a consistent, high quality finish that will last.

The beautiful, new Aloft / Element Hotel in downtown Austin, Texas was a StoPanel project  with panels engineered and manufactured by Baker Triangle Prefab in partnership with Dri-Design. The 34-story building represented a design and construction challenge due to the restricted access to the site and non-existent lot-line. The results speak for themselves.

The beautiful, new Aloft / Element Hotel in downtown Austin, Texas was a StoPanel project with panels engineered and manufactured by Baker Triangle Prefab in partnership with Dri-Design. The 34-story building represented a design and construction challenge due to the restricted access to the site and non-existent lot-line. The results speak for themselves.

Over the past few years, leading building material manufacturers, such as Sto, have partnered with regional affiliates (leading contractors and fabricators) that are independently owned and operated, ensuring high-caliber products and solutions in every major construction market. Sto, in particular, has a network of 24 affiliates (19 in the US; 2 in Canada; 3 in South America) that are developing common processes and best manufacturing practices while adding panel components that put Sto Panel Technology on the leading edge of building design.

By specifying a single, versatile prefab panel with the option of utilizing virtually any desired finish — from brick and natural stone to the most modern, light-weight energy-efficient coating systems — owners and designers now have the freedom to choose the look they prefer while meeting the schedule and performance requirements the GC/CM desires at a price every owner will find attractive.

Exterior insulated wall systems that are engineered, fabricated, shipped and installed can be a competitive differentiator, saving time, adding value and improving quality. These prefab solutions and other offsite building processes are in fact transforming the construction industry and promise to continue doing so.

 


The Changing Face of Construction

In this three-part blog series, we are going to explore how the evolution of design and construction processes have dramatically changed in the past decade, especially as they relate to prefabrication and modular construction.

We’re not talking about the prefabricated kit homes of the 20th century, but rather offsite construction that accounts for a wide range of projects today, from whole-building modular solutions, to prefabricated walls and mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems that can help contractors accelerate production schedules while employing less labor on site. In today’s labor-constrained construction environment, the prefabrication solution is being increasingly adopted where reduced costs, resource efficiency and meeting tight schedules are priorities.

Several industry reports have shed light on these big-picture industry trends, including a study by FMI, a leading investment banking and consulting firm focused on the engineering and construction infrastructure and the built environment, and the BIM (Building Information Modeling) Forum. They surveyed 156 industry leaders most of whom work in the commercial sector and whose businesses, collectively, represent approximately $38 billion in annual revenue.

Some of the findings:

  • In 2010, only 26% of the survey respondents were using prefabricated assemblies on more than 20% of their projects. By late 2016, this number more than doubled: 55% of respondents were using prefab assemblies on more than 20% of their projects.
  • Project inefficiencies and improved technologies are driving prefabrication as a way to mitigate labor shortages and improve construction schedules.
  • Contractors who use prefab on more than 50% of their projects are more productive and efficient compared to those who do less prefab.
  • While many contractors struggle to make prefab pencil out, others plan to increase their investments in prefab over the next five years.

Just how much can prefabrication impact a project’s bottom line, and can it really be a competitive differentiator? Join us next week as we delve deeper into this topic and take a look at the relatively small, fast-growing cottage industry of prefabrication innovators who are driving change and shaping the future of the industry.


Sto Corp. Combines Form and Function at the 2015 AIA Expo

In May, the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, GA hosted thousands of architects and over 800 construction industry exhibitors for the 2015 AIA Expo. The Georgia World Congress Center boasts over 170,000 square feet of exhibition space and it needed every last bit of it for the AIA Expo, one of the largest gatherings of architects and design professionals in the world. Sto Corp., whose headquarters is based in Atlanta, GA was one of the many exhibitors who participated in this year’s AIA Expo, and they pulled out all the stops. “This year AIA was in our hometown so we wanted to do something bold, new and clearly distinct from previous years,” said Valerie Mayer, Sto Corp.’s Manager of Marketing Communications. To reinforce Sto Corp’s connection to the larger Sto global family, this year’s AIA booth included a gallery of high profile projects from around the world featuring a variety of Sto’s different wall systems and building envelope solutions.    Among the various systems and solutions that Sto had to display were samples of Sto’s Ventec rainscreen cladding systems. The Ventec systems offer the highest degree of performance in terms of long term sustainability and durability. Largely a green system, Sto’s unique StoVentec carrier board is made from 96% recycled glass. StoVentec systems feature a myriad of aesthetic and design options including glass mosaic, natural stone, and even photovoltaic façades. Throughout the booth, Sto’s four core values; innovation, relationship, performance, and sustainability; were represented. Amongst the innovations being presented were StoPanel Technologies pre-fabricated façade systems. “Unlike other panelized facades, StoPanel Technology is the only system that uses standardized materials, details, and design considerations. We have built a network of contractors and engineers across the Americas who are sharing best practices and constructing the same superior panelized wall systems regardless of design or location,” said Dominick Baruffi, executive director of StoPanel Technology. All Sto wall systems begin with Sto’s industry leading air and moisture barrier system, StoGuard. This year’s booth included a number of videos showing that air tightness and moisture resistance with StoGuard is not only durable enough to last the lifetime of a building, but can be installed much more simply than more conventional systems.    Of course excellent building performance means little if the building is an eyesore, which is why Sto chose to show off its more creative side as well. “Form and function should go hand in hand. Architecture really is functional art,” said Billy Rosbottom, manager of Sto Studio. An inspiration wall on the outside of the Sto’s booth showed off a variety of different aesthetic options that could easily be achieved using Sto’s various different finishes, as well as natural elements that helped […]