Did you know there is a Boise factory that is building homes completely indoors? I didn’t either until I took a tour of Guerdon Enterprises, and boy, was I shocked. Located off Federal Way in a non-descript factory, it’s not until you step inside, that you realize how massive this operation is.
Handing me some safety glasses and earplugs, Steve Clough, Guerdon’s business development coordinator, spent an hour leading me through every part of the massive factory, where dozens of men and women are crafting modular buildings by hand. Unlike an actual home site, where construction materials including lumber and other tools may litter the property, Guerdon’s operations are entirely streamlined and clean.
What’s amazing about this facility is that it’s not just single-family-homes being crafted inside. Guerdon also builds modules for townhouses, apartments, office facilities and even military barracks. A benefit to building homes indoors is no exposure to any weather elements.
“Our facility is climate controlled and nothing gets wet,” Clough said.
Guerdon’s Chief Design Engineer Mitch Hovalt also attributed a fast construction timeline as another reason why modular structures are attractive in areas where sudden population booms are causing a shortage of traditionally built houses. One such example: the oil sands region in Alberta, Canada.
“The construction industry there is limited and a short building season has contributed to a housing shortage,” Hovalt said. “They need something that can be brought up there fast.”
Another cool thing about Guerdon homes? They can be designed to meet any customer’s specifications. For instance, if a customer is seeking a LEED-certified home, it can be designed that way. Even if a customer wants to live in an energy efficient space, without going as far as LEED, Guerdon designers can get it done.
“These homes are economically efficient and comfortable,” Hovalt said.
What more can you ask for….energy efficiency and comfort? After asking Clough question upon question about the entire process during my tour and seeing it first hand, it really made me a believer.
These modules aren’t mobile homes. They are built in a factory, then transported by carrier to their destination where they are later hoisted by crane over a property’s foundation. Until I actually saw what was going on, I couldn’t really understand how a home could be built indoors, but thanks to Steve, Mitch, and the entire Guerdon workforce, I get it …and encourage you to check it out!
My story about Guerdon doesn’t end here, though. Make sure to check out the next issue of the Idaho Construction Review for specifics on a Seattle-based company for whom they are manufacturing houses, and why sustainable, eco-friendly living has made its way into the modular home niche.