HAMILTON - A Bitterroot company is turning toward a new way of producing living spaces in an efficient and startlingly quick manner.
Most construction companies don't start building a house in the middle of winter. But when the walls and roof are prefabricated, it can take under a week to finish a home -- a process that would normally take two months.
Whisper Creek by Rocky Mountain Homes has a different approach to building a Montana home. It’s called off-site framing, a process that has all the faces of the house assembled in a factory and shipped to the build site.
“What we do is we designed the home to the customer's needs and build site needs, then we send those plans to our panel shop where they're read. We have framing tables so everything's it laid out on the table, 2-by-6 framing," Rocky Mountain Homes General Manager Mikel Vandegenachte-Ochs said.
"We sheet it, we put the house wrap on it, we put the windows on it and then put the trim on it. Then we put on the truck and it's ready to go to the build site," she continued.
While the walls would normally travel hundreds of miles to their destination, the Hamilton-based factory is now propping them up in their own backyard. This system of construction effectively allows companies like Rocky Mountain Homes to pump our houses in mass for very cheap.
Panelized construction is quickly becoming one of the most officiate and innovative ways to build a home. Because the frames are built off-site, they can be designed and constructed while the foundations are being poured, which saves hundreds of hours of work -- and a lot of money.
A study from Pacific Homes showed an average of 40% fewer labor hours required to build a home with prefabricated walls as well as around a 50% reduction in lumber waste on site.
“And they saved around 223 hours on the build site, there is also a huge reduction of waste on the build site," Vandegenachte-Ochs said. " And because we're able to build them in our quality controlled environment you have a tighter building envelope, so it's more energy efficient.”
“Panelized construction is kind of the wave of the future. There's definitely a need for it because we have the skilled framers in a lot of areas and we can't find the construction laborers that you need so this is something that can it fulfills that not only for the customers come about the builders are also our clients, Vandegenachte-Ochs concluded.
Rocky Mountain Homes builds panelized homes all over the United States as well as in Canada.