NCET Biz Tips: Home Construction Automation Reaches New Heights

Reno-based NVO Construction has stepped into the breach to revolutionize the framing process. NVO’s success illustrates how advanced automation of its trusses (the triangulated wooden structures used to support a roof) and wall framing operations can dramatically 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 significantly in decades. A McKinsey Global Institute report indicates a $1.6 trillion market opportunity for additional productivity if industry could catch up with the global economy.

For example, most of us don’t fully appreciate the importance of framing a home and how much that cost alone can eat up a project’s budget. Framing is an early critical path activity in all housing projects and accounts for more than 20% of the total cost of each project budget. Yet management is losing productivity by almost 3.5% per year, mainly due to the shortage of experienced labor and lack of innovation.

Recognizing a market opportunity, based in Reno NVO construction stepped into the breach to revolutionize the framing process. NVO’s success illustrates how advanced automation of its trusses (the triangulated wooden structures used to support a roof) and wall framing operations can dramatically increase productivity.

Bill Leonard

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

NVO uses state-of-the-art software to design the components (walls and trusses). Once the designs are approved by the client and engineer, the project software files and instructions are sent to specialized multi-axis sawing equipment that precisely cuts and even marks the wood. Truss and wall builders can then follow patterns to ensure components are built to specification.

NVO’s focus on building automation has come at a good time for Reno, as the ratio of truss builders per capita is suboptimal. Reno residents shouldn’t be surprised that our city is one of the most underserved housing markets in the country. The median house price recently reached $600,000 and the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is now over $1,300 per month. Getting affordable housing does not mean cheap housing. Affordable housing requires greater availability of housing. NVO technology allows the company to build faster, with a less skilled workforce, directly addressing the housing availability crisis in our community.

NVO’s manufacturing and coaching operations currently employ 60 people. What is unique about the company’s work environment is that all manufacturing is done indoors. NVO can build around the clock, whatever the weather and without disturbing the neighbors.

But the “WOW” factor is the automated saw and ranger system. A person can manage the computer screen where the selection, cutting and marking of wood is done without human labor. It is also a huge factor in improving safety.

NVO Construction has only been around for 15 months, with the first six to eight months spent retrofitting their building to meet manufacturing and equipment installation needs. Today, NVO builds 20 to 25 houses per month at its facilities in one shift. A second shift is brewing and they expect to double production in the coming months with even greater growth next year.

No business, especially in this economic environment, is immune to challenges. NVO is no exception. Supply chain and equipment availability are limiting factors. Often, field delays mean that NVO-ready shipments cannot be made to the jobsite as quickly as desired. Yet these obstacles give NVO’s dedicated and committed employees opportunities to innovate and improve processes, production and the end product. They live by the motto “Do the right thing, the right way”.

While our region is known for its distribution centers, gaming, beautiful outdoor venues, and thriving business community, NVO Construction is another key player paving the way for greater productivity through the automation of construction. This automation fills a vital need in our growing community – more housing available in a shorter amount of time.

NCET Tech Wednesday, May 11 is the opportunity to learn more about NVO Construction.
Register early for NVO Construction’s on-site presentation and fabrication and assembly plant tour from 4-5 p.m. and networking from 3-4 p.m. More information on 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 lead-generating case studies, brand and success stories, web copy and white papers that drive results for innovative companies. Connect with Bill at www.linkedin.com/in/billleonardusa. NCET produces educational and networking events to help people explore business and technology.

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