NCET Biz Tips: Home Construction Automation Reaches New Heights

NCET Biz Tips: Home Construction Automation Reaches New Heights

NVO Construction, based in Reno, intervened in the breach to revolutionize the framing process. NVO’s success story illustrates how advanced automation in its trusses (the triangular wooden structures used to support a roof) and wall structures can significantly increase productivity.

Construction is one of the largest industries in the world, with a global market value of $ 10 trillion and a US market of $ 1.3 trillion. Construction impacts every person on the planet, but productivity hasn’t improved appreciably in decades. A report from the McKinsey Global Institute points to a $ 1.6 trillion market opportunity for higher productivity if the industry catches up with the overall economy.

For example, most of us don’t fully appreciate the importance of framing a home and how much this cost alone can consume a project’s budget. Framing is one of the first activities on the critical path in all housing projects and accounts for over 20% of the total cost of each project budget. However, framing is losing productivity by nearly 3.5% annually, mainly due to a shortage of skilled manpower in framing and a lack of innovation.

Recognizing a market opportunity, Reno-based NVO Construction stepped into the breach to revolutionize the framing process. NVO’s success story illustrates how advanced automation in its trusses (the triangular wooden structures used to support a roof) and wall structures can significantly increase productivity.

Bill Leonard

NVO’s automated framing and manufacturing facility is designed and built specifically for:
1) Improve production rates
2) Increase productivity
3) Minimize material waste
4) Better product quality
5) Improve security
6) Reduce factory delivery times

NVO uses state-of-the-art software to design components (walls and trusses). Once the client and engineer approve the designs, the design software files and instructions are sent to specialized multi-axis saws that precisely cut and even mark the wood. Truss and wall builders can then follow patterns to ensure components are built to specification.

NVO’s focus on building automation was timely for Reno as the ratio of truss manufacturers per capita is not optimal. It should come as no surprise to Reno residents that our city is one of the least-served real estate markets in the country. The median home price recently hit $ 600,000, and the median rent for a one bedroom condo now exceeds $ 1300 per month. Achieving affordable housing does not mean cheap housing. Affordable housing requires greater housing availability. NVO technology enables the company to build faster, with less skilled labor, directly addressing the housing crisis in our community.

NVO’s manufacturing and casing operations currently employ 60 people. What makes the company’s working environment unique is that all manufacturing is done in-house. NVO can build 24 hours a day, regardless of the weather and without disturbing the neighbors.

But the “WOW” factor is the automated saw and ranger system. An individual can handle the computer screen where the sorting, cutting and marking of timber is done without human labor. It is also a huge safety enhancement factor.

NVO Construction has only been in existence for 15 months, with the first six to eight months being devoted to retrofitting their building to meet equipment manufacturing and installation needs. Today, NVO builds 20-25 homes per month in its own facility in a single shift. A second round is brewing and they plan to double production in the coming months with even more significant growth next year.

No company, particularly in this economic environment, is immune from challenges. NVO is no exception. Supply chain and equipment availability are limiting factors. Delays in the field often mean that NVO-ready shipments cannot be made to the job site as quickly as desired. However, these obstacles give NVO’s busy and hard-working employees the opportunity to innovate and improve processes, output, and the final product. They live by the motto “Do the right thing, the right way”.

While our region is known for its distribution centers, games, beautiful outdoor venues, and a thriving business community, NVO Construction is another pioneering key player with increased productivity through construction automation. Such automation meets a vital need in our growing community: more housing available in a shorter time frame.

NCET Tech Wednesday, May 11, is your chance to learn more about NVO Construction.
Sign up early for NVO Construction’s on-site presentation and manufacturing and assembly facility tour from 4pm to 5pm and for networking from 3pm to 4pm More information at www.ncet.org/ ncet-event-calendar / nvo-construction.
Bill Leonard is Vice President of Communications for NCET (www.NCET.org) and a freelance content writer of case studies, brands and success stories, web copy and white papers that generate results for innovative companies. Connect with Bill at www.linkedin.com/in/billleonardusa. NCET produces training and networking events to help people explore business and technology.

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