Construction is one of the largest industries in the world, with a global market value of $10 trillion and a U.S. market of $1.3 trillion. Construction impacts every person on the planet, yet productivity has not appreciably improved in decades. A McKinsey Global Institute report points to a $1.6 trillion market opportunity for additional productivity if the industry could catch up to the overall economy.
For example, most of us don't fully appreciate the importance of framing a house and how much this cost alone can eat up a project budget. Framing is an early critical path activity in all housing projects and makes up over 20% of the total cost of every project budget. Yet framing is losing productivity at nearly 3.5% annually, mainly due to the shortage of experienced framing labor and the 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 truss (the triangulated wooden structures used to support a roof) and wall framing business can significantly increase productivity.
NVO's automated framing and manufacturing plant is purpose-designed and built to:
1) Improve productions rates
2) Increase productivity
3) Minimize material waste
4) Better product quality
5) Improve safety
6) Reduce factory lead times
NVO utilizes state-of-the-art software to design components (walls and trusses). Once the customer and engineer approve designs, project software files and instructions are sent to specialized multi-axis saw equipment that precisely cuts and even marks the wood. Truss and wall builders can then follow templates to ensure the components are built to specification.
NVO's focus on construction automation has been timely for Reno since the ratio of truss manufacturers per capita is sub-optimal. It should come as no surprise to Reno residents that our city is one of the most underserved housing markets in the country. The median home price recently reached $600,000, and the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment now tops $1300 per month. Achieving affordable housing does not mean cheap housing. Affordable housing requires more housing availability. NVO technology allows the company to build faster, with less skilled labor, directly addressing our community's housing availability crisis.
NVO’s manufacturing and framing operations currently employ 60 people. What is unique about the company’s working environment is that all manufacturing is done inside. NVO can build 24 hours a day, regardless of weather, and without disturbing the neighbors.
But the “WOW” factor is the automated saw and ranger system. One individual can manage the computer screen where selecting, cutting, and marking the lumber is done without human labor. It’s a huge safety improvement factor, too.
NVO Construction has only been in existence for 15 months, with the first six to eight months devoted to retrofitting their building to meet manufacturing and equipment installation needs. Today, NVO builds 20-25 houses per month in their facility with just one shift. A second shift is gearing up, and they expect to double the output in the next few 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. Often delays in the field mean NVO-ready shipments can’t be made to the job site as quickly as desired. Yet these obstacles give NVO’s hard-working, committed employees opportunities to innovate and improve processes, output, and the end product. They live by the motto, “Do the right thing, the right way.”
Although our region is known for its distribution centers, gaming, beautiful outdoor venues, and a thriving business community, NVO Construction is another key player leading the way with greater productivity through construction automation. That automation serves a vital need in our growing community - more housing available in a shorter time frame.
NCET Tech Wednesday, May 11, is your opportunity to learn more about NVO Construction.
Sign up early for NVO Construction’s onsite presentation and tour of the manufacturing and assembly plant from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. and networking from 3 p.m to 4 p.m. More information at www.ncet.org/ncet-event-calendar/nvo-construction.
Bill Leonard is VP 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 businesses. Connect with Bill at www.linkedin.com/in/billleonardusa. NCET produces education and networking events to help people explore business and technology.