In The News

Shell Shock Absorber: One Way To Cut Lumber Waste, Secure Framing, And Deliver On Time And On Budget

June 27, 2018

Completing two-story house building enclosures at a rate of 17 a day, Orlando-based Raney Construction offers a fully-operational offsite look at high-volume building's near-future.
In Central Florida, as in many markets around the United States, builders feel the brunt of both labor capacity constraints and lumber price hikes, playing havoc with input cost pro formas and gross margins.
Orlando's a hot market, where by far the lion's share of homes carry price tags of $300,000 or below, where margins are razor thin on a good day.

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With Construction Workers Scarce, Homebuilders Turn To Robots, Software

June 25, 2018

BALTIMORE – The construction of an American house embodies the spirit of the nation’s workers and the dreams of its citizens. It’s also perhaps the least-efficient endeavor in the U.S. economy. Dozens of workers turn a plot of land into a small factory, sawing wood, nailing it together, cutting holes for windows, running wires and pipes and installing drywall and other finishes. Four months or so later, voila: A home for generations of families. Now, a worsening construction worker shortage that has driven up home prices is beginning to turn that routine – largely unchanged over the past century – on its head. At a sprawling factory owned by Blueprint Robotics on the industrial outskirts of this city, a house frame – complete with windows, plumbing, insulation and electrical wires – is chiseled in large panels by computerized machines in about a day. The pieces of walls, floors and roof are then trucked to the construction site to be assembled in several more days. Although drywall and other features must still be added, the process – which has been used in Europe for decades – can shave the time to build a house by as much as half.

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Builder: Inside Entekra's Innovative Framing Process

May 25, 2018

"Early one morning in August, veteran California carpenter Patrick Johnson showed up for work with two fellow crewmen of varying experience, Barry McKenna and Benny White, at a site in Northern California’s Eastern Valley. Three working days later, after starting with nothing in front of them but a bare slab poured level by Merced, Calif.–based Central Valley Concrete and Trucking, the three stood back to look at what they’d accomplished: a fully framed, two-story weather-proofed enclosure for a home that would retail in the low $400s in Stonefield Home’s Mission Village in Los Banos, Calif., 80 miles east southeast of San Jose... Entekra also engaged Whelan Advisory CEO Margaret Whelan, a leading investment banker to the housing industry, who is leading a capital raise for Entekra that would provide liquidity for two immediately planned factory expansion projects to support the five-year business plan. The company’s strategy is to scale like there’s no tomorrow. The Ripon plant is in continuous production mode, and McCaughey and his co-founding COO Bran Keogh expect it to reach its 500-home annualized run-rate in mid-2018. Revenue for Entekra gets its rocket fuel if and when the firm can tap enough growth capital to open a second, 175,000-square-foot factory in Northern California by the fourth quarter of 2019, capable of delivering 3,000 homes annually on single shifts of production.

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