Use Prefabricated Wall Panels

Premade panels save time and money, and more builders should use them.
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When given the choice of using manufactured roof trusses or building the roof on site, most builders would agree that trusses save them time, money, and headaches during the homebuilding process.

But for some reason, builders don't think what's good for the roof is good for the rest of the home. Prefabricated wall panels have all the same time- and cost-saving benefits as roof trusses, yet only the most progressive builders take advantage of the technology.

Prefabricated wall panels are factory-built units produced in an indoor environment. Builders provide the construction details of the home to the factory where the building plans are fed into a computer program that designs the wall panels for the home's specific needs. Manufacturers are able to cut, nail and screw the units together in a quality-controlled environment that creates a stronger, more durable wall structure. Prefabricated wall panels also tend to be dimensionally more accurate since they are made with higher quality lumber from a large inventory of material the factory has its disposal.

After the wall units are built, they're labeled for assembly and shipped directly to the job site. When the builder is ready to install the wall panels, they simply follow the installation and assembly procedures defined by the factory specifications.

Traditional wall framing construction relies on the trade contractors to assemble all the pieces on the job site while the home is being built. Though the builder can usually inspect the process to ensure a high quality home, making sure each wall unit is built according to the plans and in a consistent manner can be difficult and time consuming. Bad weather, scheduling conflicts, construction errors and maintaining a qualified labor force can all lead to work delays or expensive rebuilds.

Besides quality issues, there are other drawbacks to the conventional wall framing method. Because the trade contractors need raw lumber on the job site to frame the home, the builder is more susceptible to theft. Traditional wall framing also produces large amounts of job site waste which adds to the costs of building the home by increasing cleanup and disposal fees.

Like roof trusses, prefabricated wall panels can provide builders with a chance to gain a competitive edge, higher profit margins and faster cycle times for construction. What's good for the roof is also good for the rest of the home.

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