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Contractor Cents - Episode 314: “Owner’s Attitude" with Jonathan Orpin

Contractor Cents Podcast with Ruth King

Host Ruth King sits down with our founder and CEO Jonathan Orpin to explore what it takes to get employees to think like owners in the latest installment of the Contractor Cents podcast. 

 

Click here to listen: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/contractor-cents/id1373322977

 

How do you get employees to get an “owner’s attitude” rather than a “we just work here and collect a paycheck” mentality? And, what does giving back really mean and how does it affect operations?  Jonathan Orpin discusses the answers to these questions and more.

 

Listen and learn more:

Contractor Cents - Episode 314 - “Owner’s Attitude" | Contractor Cents (podbean.com)

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/contractor-cents/id1373322977

Ruth King - www.ruthking.info

Twitter - @RuthKing

LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/ruthking1/

 

 

 

NEWBeamery Groundbreaking

 

New Energy Works in collaboration with the McMinnville Economic Development Partnership, Representative Lucetta Elmer, and Mayor Remy Drabkin hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for our new 20,000 square foot production facility in McMinnville Oregon on Thursday, December 21st.

 

NEWBeamery Groundbreaking

 

With this new facility, employee-owned New Energy Works will be expanding our McMinnville operations adding new cutting edge CNC equipment, offices, and production space to our existing campus, which will increase our capabilities and service offerings, resulting in regional growth and expanded employment opportunities in the McMinnville community.

 

NEWBeamery Groundbreaking

 

Lake Front Dream Home

 

 

When the owners of this recently completed lakefront residence began their journey to build a custom timber frame home in the Finger Lakes, they relied on the experience and comprehensive design + build services offered by New Energy Works, based in nearby Farmington New York.

 

Lake Front Dream Home

 

For over thirty years New Energy Works has been crafting sustainably minded timber frame homes throughout the Finger Lakes region. In that time their expertise and service offerings have grown to include in-house Architects, interior designers, and general contracting/ construction as well as a fine woodworking division known as NEWwoodworks, and their sister company Pioneer Millworks – who manufacture reclaimed and sustainable wood products, all of which were utilized to construct this one-of-a-kind home.

 

Lake Front Dream Home

 

The homeowners came to the project with a previous connection to New Energy Works through the company’s fine woodworking division, who had done extensive remodeling work for them on a different property in the past. But building a brand-new home on one of the Finger Lakes can present unique challenges, which Architect Kyle Barber RA, CPHC – the head of New Energy Works design team knows all too well.

 

Digital Supply Chain Podcast

 

On a recent episode of the Digital Supply Chain podcast, host Tom Raftery sat down with our founder & CEO Jonathan Orpin to discuss his journey helping to revolutionize the timber and construction industry with a staunch commitment to sustainability.

 

 

The episode dives deep into how New Energy Works incorporates an eco-friendly approach to our projects, often focusing on the use of reclaimed and sustainably harvested wood in partnership with our sister company Pioneer Millworks.


See the interview on YouTube:  https://youtu.be/kNPvRjzPLx8
 

See more from Digital Supply Chain:  The Future of Building: Sustainability and Innovation with Jonathan Orpin (digitalsupplychainpodcast.com)

 

 

 

TimberFill, a loose fill insulation, can be blown in or dense packed for high performing, affordable, safe, and carbon negative coverage in attics, wall cavities, floors, and ceilings.

 

 

Recently our founder & CEO Jonathan Orpin wrote a "SPEC" editorial for our friends at Fine Homebuilding Magazine about TimberHP's new domestically manufactured wood-based insulation product TimberFill. This series is where the magazine explores new products and solutions for crafting fine homes from the perspective of respected professionals in the industry. 

 

TimberFill, a loose fill insulation, can be blown in or dense packed for high performing, affordable, safe, and carbon negative coverage in attics, wall cavities, floors, and ceilings.

 

TimberFill is a loose fill insulation product from TimeberHP that can be blown in or dense packed for high performing, affordable, fire-resistant, and carbon negative coverage in attics, wall cavities, floors, and ceilings.

 

TimberFill, a loose fill insulation, can be blown in or dense packed for high performing, affordable, safe, and carbon negative coverage in attics, wall cavities, floors, and ceilings.

 

suburban high performance home

 

Recently our HPEz (High-Performance Made Easier™) team provided a wall enclosure system for a new 1600 square foot home located in a bucolic suburb of Rochester, New York, near our Farmington shop.

 

suburban high performance home

 

The homeowner was interested in crafting a highly efficient new home without the use of chemical or foam-based insulation. After researching available local options online, he discovered that New Energy Works enclosure services could help him achieve the performance goals he was aiming for by using natural wood-fiber insulation in our Matrix Wall™ system.

 

suburban high performance home

 

“This is a modest home in a fairly typical residential neighborhood,” explained Bryan Bleier, who leads our HPEz team. “Once construction is completed you really won’t be able to tell that this is a High-Performance home just by looking at it, but the responsible construction methods and materials this home utilizes will be a benefit in terms of heating & cooling costs, indoor air quality, and general comfort of the home for generations.”   

 

right sized high performance home

 

For homeowners Mary & Eric, building a responsibly sized and environmentally sound retirement home was a priority for them as they looked toward their own future, and the planets. Utilizing as many environmentally friendly building materials as possible, the couple were equally concerned about the homes short term impact on the environment, as well as its long-term energy use and performance.

 

right sized high performance home

“Eric is a scientist-type personality and Mary is a cool artist-type personality, and juxtaposing those two points of view together into a finished home was the challenge here. We worked with them and added more timber into the building, opened some windows, and worked with the couple to minimize the square footage of the space down to what was essential to their lifestyle. It was quite the task to meet the needs of both clients, with Mary being focused on the craft and beauty of the home, and Eric being very concerned with material selections, sourcing, imbedded carbon, and performance. It was a winning combination though, and both were willing to compromise when needed to make things work and stuck by their guns when necessary to get what they wanted. In the end we came up with a very nice design that was a beautiful compromise to what they each wanted out of this home.” - Architect David Shirley AIA, NCARB

“When we looked at the New Energy Works website and read about how the company crafts high-performance enclosures that pay very close attention to a home’s thermal envelope as part of their Design + Build process, we were very impressed that the team makes sustainability a normal part of how they do business,” Eric shared. “To our mind that is the kind of company we want to support.”

 

Custom Fine Woodworking

 

Recently our team completed a unique general contracting project in the Finger Lakes region of New York. The lake front homes interior was designed by Brooke Wagner Design, a celebrated full service design firm based in Corona del Mar California, and features extensive fine woodworking that was crafted by our NEWwoodworks team.

We caught up with Rob D’Alessandro who manages our woodworking division to talk about collaborating with a well-respected interior designer and the trends and challenges of high-craft woodwork in modern custom home design.

 

Custom Fine Woodworking

 

Q: What different kinds of woodwork did the NEWwoodworks team craft or this project?

 

A: For this project our team fabricated and finished all the cabinetry throughout the home as well as the stairs, railing, doors (inside and out), built-in storage, some of the counter tops, and elements of the screened in porches.

 

Custom Fine Woodworking

 

Q: How closely did the NEWwoodworks team collaborate with the interior designer on this project?

 

Rochester Home Magazine

 

Our friends at Rochester Home Magazine honored us with a detailed cover editorial featuring our east coast design team.

 

Written by Helana Shumway

 

Project photos by Tim Wilkes

 

 

Rochester Home Magazine

 

Rochester Home Magazine

 

Rochester Home Magazine

 

Read the whole issue online: September//October 2023 Rochester HOME Magazine by Featured Media - Issuu

 

TimberFill, a loose fill insulation, can be blown in or dense packed for high performing, affordable, safe, and carbon negative coverage in attics, wall cavities, floors, and ceilings.

 

 

New Energy Works receives the first shipment of wood fiber insulation made in the United States. This first shipment of TimberFill arriving from the TimberHP manufacturing facility in Madison, Maine to New Energy Works Design + Build, Timber Frame, and High-Performance manufacturing facility outside of Rochester, New York demonstrates New Energy Works commitment to utilizing wood as a primary sustainable building material in an effort to address climate change.

 

This first shipment marks the beginning of sales for TimberHP’s wood fiber insulation product, TimberFill, for the North American market. TimberFill, a loose fill insulation, can be blown in or dense packed for high performing, affordable, safe, and carbon negative coverage in attics, wall cavities, floors, and ceilings.

 

“The team at New Energy Works are among the pioneers who believed in the products we’re bringing to market and who can offer immediate credibility to what we’re doing for a portion of the industry hungry for better building envelope solutions,” said Matt O’Malia, Co-Founder & Vice President of TimberHP. “There’s an amazing story to tell with the New Energy Works team about evoking change in the built environment that helped improve product availability and price point through domestic manufacturing.”

 

 

Right at home

“Lighting is an important part of designing a home from the inside out. Low voltage accent lighting highlights architectural features while stylistic fixtures identify the gathering spaces.” -Diana Gerken 

When Mark and his wife set out to craft a timber frame home in central New York State, the journey started with finding the right piece of country real estate to build on. Once they had acquired the land to develop, it became time to design their new family home.

 

Right at home

“During the design process we often ask ourselves: How will they know where to go? Here the main entry is called attention to by a trellised walking path from the face of the garage to an expressive covered entry, which extends to be the most prominent extension on the main facade.” - Kyle Zinteck, RA New Energy Works

“We customed designed our home, so it is exactly what we wanted. My wife and I are not youthful anymore, so we had a clear idea of what we needed for the next 25 years or so,” Mark shared. “We have a large extended family, so we designed the house around our need to host large groups of people to accommodate our family when they visit.”

 

Right at home

“The main entrance is substantiated with stone walls on either side of the door to support the timber porch that draws guests in to a custom NEWwoodworks door. Taking inspiration from a previous New Energy Works project that the homeowners loved, we designed this Douglas fir door with transom and sidelights in a finish that blends harmoniously with the timber color and stained cedar siding.” -Diana Gerken 

Simplicity of form

 

Rolling seaside hills serve as the backdrop to this barn styled home that was inspired by traditional timber frame barn designs familiar to the surrounding area. This home truly celebrates the simplicity of its form and takes the interior timber structure outward to the exterior.

 

Simplicity of form

 

“The western side of the home was purposely designed to be the primary entry to the house, and you approach that entry by car,” said Michael Schmitt AIA, the Architect on the project.  “Our idea was that space could be where the whole design revealed itself, where part of the exterior is pulled back to reveal some of the interior timber structure and express some of the frame from the inside on the outside. It is also where the garage is, so even guests would arrive on that side of the house and come up a few steps into the exposed barn structure and then into the interior.”

 

Simplicity of form

 

“The design idea was to express the barn frame from the interior out to the exterior in that one location of the home, but It also breaks down the monotony of a 100-foot by 30-foot barn,” Michael continued. “The visual actually erodes at that corner and becomes the barn frame, which is what we tried to express throughout the whole project, the beautiful simplicity of the barn’s timber frame.”

 

HPEz

 

One of the best ways to reduce the long-term energy consumption and carbon footprint of a new home is to incorporate a high-performance enclosure system into the design. Using semi-automated tooling, good old-fashioned experience, and natural materials our pre-panelized wall, floor, and roof systems are customizable to your project and offer an accessible solution to building a higher preforming home.

 

New Energy Works calls this program HPEz, or High-Performance Made Easier™, and we caught up with Bryan Bleier who manages our HPEz shop to learn a little more about the technical specifics and benefits of pre-panelized enclosures.

 

HPEz

 

Q: What makes our HPEz enclosures high-performance?

 

A high-performance enclosure is a wall system that is fabricated far above code-minimum construction standards in terms of insulation, airtightness, thermal bridging, and overall quality. This is achieved by increasing insulation values and airtightness using industry leading products such as intelligent membranes, tapes, and gaskets. Our airtight, vapor open assemblies offer increased indoor comfort & air quality, reduced energy consumption/costs as well as long term performance and durability. It’s our goal to build enclosures that last generations, not just 50-100 years.

 

HPEz

 

the woodshop

 

When Julie built her ranch style home in Oregon back in 1989, she wanted a classic timber frame, but was unable to find anyone in the area building timber homes at the time. With a background in the construction industry and woodworking, she was her own general contractor on the home and got as close as she could to the timber frame aesthetic by including exposed beams and wood pillars.

 

the woodshop

 

“We are retired now, but what we did for a profession was excavation and heavy equipment rental, site work, a lot of high-end homes, municipality, public excavation work, like high schools, streets,” Julie told us. “Funny enough, we helped develop the neighborhood we live in about 35 years ago. We built our family home here, and at that time I wanted to do a timber frame structure, but no one in the area was doing them. What we have in the main house is open beam and wood pillars, which is as close as I could get to timber framing in 1989.”

 

the woodshop

 

More recently when Julie began considering retirement, she reached out to New Energy Works to design and build a timber frame addition to her much-loved family home. The reverent timber space that now houses her at home woodshop is designed to be a flexible space that can adapt to her fine woodworking needs today but could also be converted to functional living space in the decades to come.

 

Bryan Bleier from our High-Performance Made Easier ™ team sat down with our friends at Upstate House Magazine for their annual Passive House Guide issue to talk about why a homeowner should consider an enclosure system as an accessible way to craft a new high preforming home.

 

HPEz

 

Learn more:

 

Passive House Guide 2023 by Chronogram

 

High Performance Building Enclosures | New Energy Works

 

High-Performance Home Building - Q&A | New Energy Works

 

Passive House Enclosure: Partnering for the Future | New Energy Works

 

 

 

 

585

 

(585) Magazine recently covered one of our favorite recent Design + Build projects in the Finger Lakes Region of New York. This project combined all our related services, Timber Frame, Design + Build, HPEz, fine woodworking from NEWwoodworks, and our sister company Pioneer Millworks.

 

 

585

 

585

 

 

More from (585): (585) magazine - Rochester, NY (585mag.com)

 

Related Content:

 

Long-Term Lake Front | New Energy Works

 

Natural materials for a custom home: Design Q&A | Pioneermillworks

 

 

Project Credits:

 

Architect: New Energy Works

Builder: New Energy WorksHigh-Performance Enclosure: New Energy Works

Engineer: Fire Tower Engineered Timber 

Reclaimed Wood: Pioneer Millworks 

Bryan Bleier from our HPEz team and Kyle Barber from our design team recently attended the 16th annual PhiusCon (formerly North American Passive House Conference) at the historic Palmer House in Chicago IL. The guys specifically attended this year’s conference to connect with like-minded professionals in the industry and talk about New Energy Works investment in our High Performance Made Easier ™ (HPEz) enclosure systems as well as the teams ongoing commitment to develop sustainable and accessible higher performing homes.

 

Photo from Instagram @ passivehouseinstituteus
Photo from Instagram @ passivehouseinstituteus

 

PhiusCon is the leading passive building conference for climate-specific zero energy design, construction, and building science expertise. The conference is presented by parent organization Phius which is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization committed to decarbonizing the built environment by making high-performance passive building the mainstream market standard. Phius also certifies the majority of passive house projects in North America with their locally tailored, globally applicable passive building standard.

 

living room

 

Anthony Venezia  has been spending his weekends this past year building a highly crafted high-performance home in Canandaigua New York. This construction project is designed to be a modern and sustainable home for Anthony and his family and features dark stained Douglas fir timber accents as well as two-tone Shou Sugi Ban exterior siding and white oak flooring & stair treads from our sister company Pioneer Millworks.

Most importantly, the home utilizes our High Performance Made Easier ™ (HPEz) enclosure system which enabled Anthony and Luke to construct the home to the efficiency standards they wanted to achieve with the project. 

Now that the family home is nearing completion, we caught up with Anthony to discuss how the project got started, why he wanted to build sustainably, and what it was like building a home for his family with a high-performance enclosure system that was manufactured off-site.

 

Exterior

 

Q: How did this high-performance construction project get started?

 

HPEz

 

Our HPEz (High Performance Made Easier™) team has been busy in the past year crafting and installing enclosure systems for numerous projects throughout the country. In addition to designing our own High-Performance enclosure systems, on select projects we offer off-site manufacture of panelization systems as a subcontractor.

One of those projects is a Pre-Certified Passive House near Philadelphia PA where our team partnered with Holzraum System to manufacture and install their Holzraum XP20 Wall Systems on a home designed by architect Macht Architecture and built by Hanson Fine Homebuilding. Our team also installed the floor and roof system on site as well, focusing on the intricate panel joining process to ensure the home meets Passive House thermal envelope standards.

 

HPEz

 

“Holzraum System came to us with this project, they did the 3D computer model configurations of the enclosure and other components. Once they had it in architectural drawings, we helped them break it into panel sections for manufacturing in our HPEz shop,” Kevin Gilbert, Construction Superintendent from our team told us.

 

Photos by: Jane Beiles
Photos by: Jane Beiles

 

For one couple in rural Connecticut the concept was to create a multigenerational space to enjoy with their five children, friends, and extended family. Part of a sweeping master plan for their property, this understated antiqued party barn is intended to adapt as the family grows and ages over time.

 

Photos by: Jane Beiles
Photos by: Jane Beiles

 

Architect Mark P. Finlay, who has a long-standing relationship with the family, defined the core concept for this family barn as a multigenerational building with a long-term plan. The current incarnation of the space is that of a party barn where the owners children can spend time with their friends out of the main house while remaining on the family property.

 

Photos by: Jane Beiles
Photos by: Jane Beiles

 

“It’s a multigenerational design.” Explains Mark. “We worked it through and talked about the functions of the building, how it’s going to work, who is going to use it, how it would be used in 20 years versus now. We really talked through the whole thing. It’s part of a three generation, or 50-year, plan. It is a building with a singular design idea that will work really well in the future because it can adapt to a lot of different functions.”

 

For owners Doug Doetsch and his wife Susan Manning, their roots of apple farming in the Catskills Mountain Region of New York run deep. Doug has apple farming in his blood, tracing his ties to the area back five generations on both sides of his family including apple farms of the 1800’s, through prohibition era bootlegging of hard cider and applejack, to his own childhood growing up on orchards in the area. Apple farming is something of a Doetsch legacy.

 

Seminary Hill

 

After moving away for thirty-or-so years to establish a career in international finance law, Doug returned to his roots and recently founded Seminary Hill, an organic orchard & cidery in Callicoon.

With the help of renowned orchardist Michael Philips and an expansive team of local like-minded folks, the Seminary Hill team started planning the holistic twelve acre orchard in 2012. It now includes more than 1,500 trees with an astonishing 60 varieties of American, English, and French heirloom apples and pears with plans to expand in the coming decade. The orchards ecosystem is based on the sympathetic planting of pollinating and pest-repellent plants and flowers so that the apples and pears can be grown without the use of chemical pesticides. Organic all the way.

 

Seminary Hill

 

One of the best ways to reduce the energy a home or building consumes is careful consideration of the envelope. Our journey to creating the most efficient building enclosure/envelope began in the mid 1990’s with the first version of the Matrix Wall™. We regularly adjust this wall system, incorporating what we’ve learned and what new sustainable materials may be available to reduce consumption and increase comfortable living. In 2017 this journey took us to Poland to learn more about wood fiber insulation from Steico. In 2018 we landed in the Netherlands to explore semi-automated custom tooling. Fast forward (let’s all just skip 2020) to 2021 – welcome to High Performance Made Easier!

Our High-Performance Enclosure System
We’ve incorporated semi-automated tooling from the Netherlands to help create the latest version of our Matrix Wall™. The tooling is set, calibrated, and currently running its first wall system for a timber frame home.

We’ve added a new building with new semi-automated tooling to produce the latest evolution of our Matrix Wall™ systems–we’re calling it HPEz, High-Performance Made Easier–to our campus in Farmington NY. Earlier this month we ran the very first wall panel for calibration and plain old getting-to-know-the-tools practice: 

Tucked into Puget Sound in Washington, this site allows the homeowners to feed their passions: boating, family time, and entertaining. Easy access for boats and creating spaces large enough to house large family and friends gatherings drove the design, secondary only to the desire for a “refined lodge” aesthetic.

Image

Known as a full timber frame, the entirety of the home and garage were crafted with timbers, specifically reclaimed Douglas fir timbers. When plans began, the design was quite traditional. “The more we looked at the site and the possible views, the more it transitioned, evolved,” explained David Shirley, AIA, member of our design team. “We angled the house in a soft arc of sorts which maximized views of the Sound as well as those of the Cascade Mountain range in the distance.” This change capitalized on the views and the natural wrap of the land.

No, it is not built into an earthen bank, rather this traditionally inspired timber frame ‘barn’ has had a financial bank built into it. Welcome to the newest branch of LNB (Lyons National Bank):

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Waving corn fields and tight rows of soybeans have given way to smooth grass, colorful signage, and numerous clusters of homes within the Town of Farmington in Ontario County, NY. Grow though the Town has, respecting and celebrating their rural roots is of utmost importance to the community. When LNB approached the Town about a site that was home to the second oldest structure in the County, a farmhouse that has stood for two centuries, there was some skepticism. But at the core LNB is about community. The Town became excited by the bank’s proposal: LNB wanted to embrace the old homestead, the Hathaway House, endeavoring to preserve, celebrate, and open it to the community as part of their new branch. 
(More on the history of the home and property was provided by the Hathaway Sisters, who shared stories, photos, and personal memories around the old homestead, as celebrated by LNB here.)   
 

We’re excited share more of the story on our long-time banking partner, LNB (Lyons National Bank), and their newest community branch which we raised just up the road from our Farmington, NY shop.

Image

The first bent is raised for the new LNB Farmington NY branch, early 2020. Photo (C) Jim Kerins.

Image

While the branch is quickly heading towards completion, we wanted to re-cap some of the processes involved in getting there:

LNB has a focus on people and is always very involved in the local communities, ethos that parallel our own. The Farmington branch site includes a historic home that is being preserved and refreshed. A new timber frame, connecting to the historic home, will accommodate the bank’s main operations.

State College, PA: Homeowners Jim and Cheryl came to us with a dream home request: design and craft a home for two which could also easily accommodate much larger gatherings with family and friends. The resulting simple and classic cruciform plan for their hybrid timber frame home fits the couple while incorporating space—inside and out—for others.

a

Jim and Cheryl, their children, and their friends attended the same university near State College in PA where game season is a great reason to join together. The couple found a site nestled at the base of a long rise to the mountains on one side, and open to expansive views into Nittney Valley on the other. “We wanted to take advantage of the views and offer additional space for intensive entertaining to flow outside,” explained Ty Allen, our design/build manager. “The result is nearly 2,000 sq ft of outdoor deck, porch, and patio space in addition to interior living areas.”

s

Screen porches and a terrace for grilling connect to the fire pit stone patio area which in turn is tied back to the rec area with connecting landscaping. The lower level of the home offers guest and rec space with overflow sleeping ready in the bunk house over the garage. Photo (C) Scott Hemenway

When we met Nancy and Larry to first chat about their timber frame home aspirations, we learned that Larry is a beekeeper and suddenly we were as full of questions about beekeeping as we were with answers to home designing and building. The couple shares a special affinity for nature, much like our various teams (if you’ve ever read our bios, you’ll see a reoccurring theme of ‘hiking, biking, and being outdoors’). Taking a look at the bucolic piece of farm and woodlands near Ithaca, NY was one of the first steps to designing the couple’s home. Ty Allen, AIA, our design build manager and architect, met with Larry and Nancy on their site to explore the possibilities. Ty shared with us a bit about the overall project and process:

 

Ty explained that the site offered a good combination of open space and mature woods. There was a desire to embrace both with this custom home.
Ty explained that the site offered a good combination of open space and mature woods. There was a desire to embrace both with this custom home.

“When we walked the site it became clear we could create a design that would give Larry and Nancy a home which engaged with both the surrounding woods and open spaces. We knew they wanted something of manageable size and easy to maintain where they could enjoy their retirement,” Ty shared.

Recently we did a project with Black Oak Builders and Barry Price Architecture in Saugerties, NY. Interestingly for us, the majority of the project was not timber frame (though they do have a sweet little timber piece off the side of the garage that may someday house a small maple sugaring operation). No, in this case Black Oak Builders reached out to us to partner on the enclosure system for three additions to this 1800’s home; a master bedroom suite, an office/bedroom wing, and a two-story garage.

 

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Our goal with High Performance Enclosures (HPE) is simple—to help builders achieve better building performance for their clients and to make the projects go as smoothly as possible. With our knowledge in systems building (from years in timber framing, as well as construction experience in our Finger Lakes backyard) we can bring the nuances of off-site construction to enclosure building and pre-panelization to those looking for custom solutions. Our construction team built 66 panels in about 2 weeks and headed out in a snowstorm to install the them in January. This off-site minimizes the time needed on-site, saving projects weeks and speeding up the deliverable of a finished space to a client.