At 2441 Julian, we’ve designed a contemporary town home (picture below) using a panelized wall system.
The panels are manufactured off-site and brought in on 5-12’ sections, reducing the amount of waste while increasing the quality and precision of the overall frame structure. There’ s a little more time needed in the design phase to make sure the panels we request align exactly with the design, but this effort is easily re-paid in savings on-site, and acts as an additional quality check before construction.
Some steel is still needed on the more structurally demanding features (e.g. balconies, cantilevers), however the panelized system has the strength and flexibility to easily handle most residential designs. There are some disadvantages to this system, depending on the site you’re on. 2441 Julian is a tight urban lot, with limited space for working and storage.
In this type of scenario, it can be difficult to store stacks of panels ready for installing and work around them. The dimensions of the panels (5-12’) allows the framers to “man-handle” most panels into place. For steel beams and a few extra-long panels a boom truck was required for a couple of days for some of the trickier positions.
The panels have been a success with minor difficulties. Always looking to improve, we’re taking our experience from this project and refining our methods to suit each new development.