5 Alternative Building Methods that Can Improve Profits and Productivity
Improving profits without sacrificing quality - the ultimate goal of all homebuilders.
Unfortunately, labor shortages, volatile product prices, and the lack of affordable land make it more challenging than ever for builders to achieve a desirable net profit. A survey by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) found that in 2019, construction costs accounted for 61.1 percent of the final house price - a 5.5 percent increase since 2018. At the same time, the average profit margin fell from 10.7 percent in 2017 to 9.1 percent in 2019.
Five Methods to Improve Net Profits and Productivity
Here are five alternative building methods that can improve your net profit margin by saving time and money: Fox Blocks Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs), TRUEGRID paving systems, cloud-based software and apps, structural insulated panels (SIPs), and light-gauge steel construction.
1. Fox Blocks ICF Wall Systems Save on Framing Costs
Framing accounts for a significant fraction of the total construction costs - 17.4 percent. Builders can save both time and money by choosing the Fox Blocks ICF wall system over wood-frame construction. Fox Blocks ICFs provide an all-in-one wall assembly that combines six steps into one quick, easy, and safe installation. This reduces material and labor needs compared to wood-frame construction.
Besides reducing construction labor costs, Fox Blocks provide many other benefits for today’s modern homes. Fox Blocks ICF walls provide a high performance building envelope, enabling energy-efficient, moisture-resistant, disaster-resistant, durable homes with superior indoor environmental quality (IEQ).
2. TRUEGRID Permeable Pavers Save on Construction Costs
TRUEGRID creates a maintenance-free stormwater permeable paving system for both residential and commercial use, that provides more durability than asphalt and costs less than concrete. TRUEGRID permeable pavers also offer several other important benefits:
- With six-inches of recycled sub-base and fill, it is 99 percent stormwater permeable - a significant advantage over concrete and asphalt.
- Because permeable TRUEGRID pavers prevent runoff and flooding, it eliminates the need for expensive and extensive drainage systems and retention ponds.
- Allows bioremediation to remove pollutants before they get into the natural aquifers.
- Unlike TRUEGRID, the use of concrete and asphalt leads to flooding during excessive rain. Moreover, pollutants from gasoline and petroleum products stream off concrete lots and roadways and go directly into nearby aquifers.
3. Improving Productivity with Software and Mobile Apps
Software and mobile apps improve efficiency, productivity, and safety at a construction job site. They can help a contractor manage every aspect of a construction project - from pre-construction to scheduling:
- Cloud-based software and mobile apps allow for changes and updates to documents, schedules, and other management tools, facilitating better communication and collaboration.
- Mobile technology permits for real-time data collection and transmission between the job site and project managers in the office.
- Cloud-based technology also enables employees to submit expense reports, time cards, and other documentation on-site.
4. Structural Insulated Panels
Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) are 4- and 8-inch thick rigid foam panels, sandwiched between two rigid sheathing materials. SIPs furnish a higher level of insulation, airtightness, and strength over wood-framing. Importantly,The factory assembly of SIP quickens wall construction, which reduces labor costs and construction waste.
However, builders must consider several problems with SIP wall systems:
- SIPs lack adequate fire performance ratings, especially those made with OSB, plywood, and composite structural siding panels.
- SIPs can develop durability problems, especially when using plywood and OSB facings. When plywood and OSB get wet, the walls may mold and degrade.
- The low thermal mass of SIPs diminishes its energy-efficiency.
- SIPs are best coordinated and planned with the panel’s dimensions, without many jogs, bump-outs, or non-90-degree angles. A non-panel friendly design escalates waste, cost, and diminishes the performance of the wall system.
5. Light-Gauge Steel Construction Reduces Labor Costs
Pre-made metal sticks or studs for constructing light-gauge steel homes reduce labor costs when compared to wood-frame construction. Light-gauge steel also creates durable and strong homes. However, several issues can make light-gauge steel construction a problem: blo
- Steel conducts heat; therefore, extreme heat can weaken and warp steel, which damages the structural integrity of the home. Also, when fire contacts steel, the fire quickly spreads to any material the steel touches.
- Untreated steel exposed to outside elements may rust. Rusting weakens the steel and makes it brittle.
- Excessive tension, caused by strong winds, can weaken steel.