Construction waste is one of the biggest challenges facing the building industry. According to the NAHB, construction of a 2,000-square-foot home produces about 8,000 pounds of waste. The majority is wood, cardboard, and drywall, and nearly all of it ends up in landfills. Newport Beach, Calif.-based RSI Homes has been able to cut down on construction waste—at no additional cost—by integrating a few simple steps. Here, BUILDER talks with the company's senior vice president of construction, Bob Colgan, to find out more.
Can you describe the ways that RSI is able to cut back on construction waste?
We start with deconstruction. Builders often move forward with the demolition of the old, dilapidated property before they begin construction on a new home. RSI employs an alternative deconstruction approach in which all salvageable materials, including copper piping, aluminum, bricks, and stainless steel, are carefully extracted and recycled. The deconstruction of a typical 2,000-square-foot wood frame home can yield 6,000 board feet of reusable lumber—waste that won’t end up in a landfill.
In addition, RSI Homes’ experience in manufacturing, engineering, and design has helped the firm expose inefficiencies in conventional construction methods. In effect, we took everything we learned about traditional building practices and developed a completely new way of home building using our Precision-Built construction process.
How does this process work?
We start with a 3D BIM system that maps out every inch of the home in fine detail. All major components such as wall panels, floor systems, and roof trusses are premeasured, precut, and built in a state-of-the-art facility. They are then delivered to the building site where RSI Homes’ field teams follow a prescribed method of assembly that allows them to quickly assemble homes to quality levels far higher than those of traditional construction methods.
Our teams know where every connection will be made, the purpose of every pre-drilled hole, and where each piece of hardware will be mounted, right down to a fraction of an inch. Only the exact amounts of required material are shipped to the jobsite, yielding virtually zero construction waste. This also equates to less carbon pollution due construction traffic consistently hauling materials to the property site.
Our precise construction methodology results in substantial improvements when compared to traditional home building methods, leading to much higher consistency and quality, faster build times, and reduced waste and cost.
We also recycle construction waste to maximize home building efficiencies. For example, product packaging from items such as cabinets and fixtures are transported from the jobsite to RSI Homes’ Mira Loma, Calif., facility where the materials are recycled or repurposed for future use.
Do customers care about jobsite debris and onsite recycling?
Customers are impressed by the level of efficiency on the construction site, demonstrated by the lack of construction waste and the speed in which our homes are constructed. An added bonus is that there is a tremendous reduction in noise, pollution, dust, and construction-related traffic in the neighborhoods in which we build. Consequently, we receive positive feedback from the surrounding neighbors when we’re building an RSI home.
What else is going on at your company?
We have just launched our new Series 3 homes, bringing our total floor plans offerings to 10. Our products range from 1,242 to 3,133 square feet in a range of exterior looks, including Craftsman, Spanish, French, Colonial and Prairie. Designed keenly to meet current housing demands, the new line also offers new plans for multigenerational family living, complete with a lower-level second master suite and bathroom including a kitchenette and separate laundry area. Each of our homes includes high-end amenities such as frameless-style cabinetry and granite countertops. They also feature 2x6 exterior wall framing complete with R-21 insulation, tankless hot water heaters, low-VOC carpets and paints, radiant barrier roof sheathing, cased dual-pane, low-E windows, and high-SEER rated central heating and air conditioning units, along with Energy Star appliances.
Learn more about markets featured in this article: Los Angeles, CA.