Apr 18, 2022

Efficiency and Waste Management Benefits Generated by Wall Paneling Products

Calgary, AB – At the height of the pandemic back in 2020, Star Building Materials Calgary acquired wall paneling equipment that would not only help diversify the business unit’s offerings, but also lead to waste management, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness benefits as well.

Part of the appeal of using panels is the efficiency involved. Unlike lumber, which may end up being moved to various jobsites or used for unintended purposes, panels are made and shipped out to the jobsite, where they are used for a specific purpose.

“When you look at a full house of lumber versus a full house of panels, it’s very easy to require a few extra pieces of lumber for that build,” said Ken Crockett, Vice-President, Star Building Materials Calgary. “You might not know whether you’re short because someone made errors in framing, the supplier didn’t ship the right amount, or the estimate for the lumber package was incorrect.”

Panels have a specific use and are delivered to the jobsite already completed, meaning there’s less risk of material waste, less mess on the jobsite, and typically cost savings related to potentially faster and more efficient builds.

Star Building Materials Calgary has provided wall paneling for StreetSide Developments Calgary for homes in Red Embers Point, a multi-family townhome project in the community of Redstone that started late last year. Ashley Williams, Director of Operations, StreetSide Developments Calgary, said the experience with Star’s wall paneling has been excellent so far.

“Pre-visualizing the structure of the home allows us to work out any discrepancies with the design before any construction takes place,” said Ashley. “The pre-fabrication of the wall panels under controlled conditions provides a number of advantages.”

Those advantages include accurately estimating the exact quantity of lumber required, saving money on waste and excess material orders, ensuring the wall panels are built to a high quality standard, more accurately scheduling jobs, and avoiding the need to send expensive loose lumber packages to the construction site, which in turn reduces the risk of theft.

Ashley noted that another major benefit of using wall paneling from Star Building Materials Calgary is the labour efficiency it provides.

“With a very tight framing labour market, having pre-fabricated wall panels available for the construction of our townhomes means we can deploy framing crews to efficiently erect the wall panels versus the more timely process of stick framing the homes on site,” he said. “This speeds up the build process and allows us to efficiently use the crews available to us while ensuring we mitigate any errors that might occur with stick framing.”

Aside from the wall paneling work, Star Building Materials is doing in Calgary with StreetSide Developments and other builder customers, they have also been creating panels for a few houses here and there for Pacesetter Homes Edmonton and Sterling Homes Calgary.

Ken said the team would like to expand eventually from doing mostly one-off single-family home wall paneling to larger multi-family projects, but would face a few challenges along the way to start with.

“It is a category of growth that is being looked at right now,” he said. “However, we can’t just flip a switch and be able to add capacity to any of our units overnight. You have to be able to invest in the necessary equipment, infrastructure to hold the equipment, and labour resources to complete the work.”

Ken remains optimistic that Star Building Materials Calgary has the right foundation to branch out in future, particularly within the context of ongoing labour and framing shortages, which heighten the need for more efficient solutions like wall paneling.

“We’re really good at adapting and being able to diversify enough that we could build out the strategy and the system to do both multi-family and single-family homes and do them both well,” he said.

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