|Panel Briefs – March /April 2004
Panel Modular Plant Tour May 23-25
Please note the actual dates of the tour are different than the tentative dates announced in the previous issue of Building Systems Magazine. Notre Dame’s commencement schedule forced the change to May 23-25. While all the tour stops have not yet been finalized, the BSC has commitments from several companies to participate in tour stops. So far, Aggregate Industries, All American Homes, Crest Homes, LaSalle Bristol, Patriot Homes and Pinnacle Building Systems have tentatively agreed to allow participants to tour their facilities.
For details, contact the NAHB’s Office of the Registrar at 800-368-5242, ext. 8338.
Record Turnout for IBS Panel Seminars
After the seminars, a quick survey of a handful of builders revealed that many were interested in using panelization to simplify construction scheduling, build more homes, guarantee pricing and enjoy more flexibility in design.
Simplify Construction Scheduling
Build More Homes With The Same Overhead “My partner and I just pulled the trigger on our first subdivision and cash flow may be a problem. So we want to build out models as fast as we can, as well as create some sales momentum,” says another builder from the Phoenix market.
Advice from the Front Lines of Panelization
“My advice to other builders? Know your numbers inside and out and streamline your documentation. That way, you can concentrate on earning more sales,” says Bill Lewis, owner of Forest Homes of Westconn (Shelton, CT), a site builder who switched to panelization in 1997. He chose to employ Forest Homes (Selinsgrove, PA) as his largest subcontractor, so he could increase his volume while decreasing his overhead and hassles.
“It’s the entire system approach to building,” says Lewis. “It allows me to do more homes with less effort. Forest Homes performs much of the administrative work for me. Plus, they allow me to have tremendous purchasing power because they purchase their materials in bulk. With the system they have in place, it’s very detailed and comprehensive. Plans, estimating, scheduling, contractsâit’s all bundled together. In terms of materials and administrative tools, they’re supplying 60% to 70% of any given project. It saves me tremendous time and effort.”
“Forest Homes has introduced a new software package that ties everything together, everything from crafting the specifications to estimating, scheduling, takeoffs, billing, contractsâall on the same system. This is vitally important to me because the markets I’m targeting are so diverse. So I can fine tune my pricing and factor in the subcontractors’ percent, breaking it down by labor and materials, whatever. I had a fairly sophisticated system before of my own design, but this brings my operation to a whole new level. Frankly, it spoils you rotten. It’s the main reason why I’m able to pull off the number of projects I’m doing by myself.”
If you’d like to learn more about panelization or building systems in general, be sure to fill out a subscription form to keep this magazine coming to your desk. Our May/June issue features our “Step-By-Step Guide to Being a Systems Builder,” everything you need to know to shop for a manufacturer and pick a system (or a group of systems) that will enable you to succeed in your local home building market.