Passive House Accelerator Construction Tech: Invisible Efficiencies of Prefab

Last week’s Construction Tech Tuesday came on the heels of Monday’s Prefab Summit II and offered those in attendance another chance to learn about the technical, the technique, and the technology that goes into making prefabricated buildings with guest David Arnott of Squamish-based TAG Panels. In addition to being one of the three partners who started TAG, David is also an architect, a Certified Passive House Designer, and the owner of Stark Architecture. Stark has designed several Passive House projects throughout British Columbia, including the Tantrum Passive House, which was featured in Passive House Buildings Magazine.

David and his two partners, an engineer and a contractor, decided to pursue this venture as “a solution to there not being enough prefab companies,” he said last at last Tuesday’s event. More than just not being enough prefab companies, he felt that most firms favor one of the three of disciplines that go into prefabrication, design, tech, and construction, and that TAG was able to avoid this pitfall because the three partners each represented one side of the triad. In addition to being balanced, the three partners have enough contacts to bring in 150 jobs annually. That’s a pretty solid number considering the company was only started last year.

In the video below, David and cohosts Shaun St-Amour, Mark Wille, and Kevin Brennan explore some of the benefits and “invisible efficiencies” of prefab building and TAG’s approach to the technique, the technical, and the technology of prefab.

Removing Variables

Rather than working out in the cold or the rain or while balancing on a steel beam, the vast majority of the work is done on the factory floor where it’s warm and dry.

Fewer Interruptions

Since assembly typically only takes (at most) 2–3 weeks, this means you can schedule projects during seasons when you don’t run the risk of having to tarp your project due to inclement weather.

Built-In Air Tightness

Prefabricated panels arrive at the job site ready to put into place. There is no need to install insulation or barriers since the job has already been done on the factory floor. The panels just need to be assembled with tape. Apart from being easy to put together, this means there are a limited number of potential gaps in your air barrier and you don’t have to spend time and money doing multiple blower door tests and hunting for leaks with smoke machines.

Less Waste

Because the cut lists in the shop drawings are already so precise, there is no need to make additional cuts on the job site. This means less scrap lumber and less overall waste.

To learn more benefits of prefab, check out the rest of the video below:

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