SlenderWall: Building American Influence

May 1, 2014 | Architectural Products

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In 2010, two years after the ‘Great Recession’, with real estate values crawling out from the crater of economic implosion, housing values crashing, families across the country sought new a place to call home. In the fallout, a tide of demand flooded the rental market, saturating occupancy and spiking rental rates. Americans who had lost their houses, now struggled to find and afford rental homes.

Amidst unprecedented scarcity, families needed affordable options.

Americans were looking for apartments; instead, they got a palace.

The Alexander stretches the banks of the Hudson River with all the palatial splendor of a royal chateau. Built of SlenderWall’s durable, lightweight wall paneling system, the Alexander looks over the Manhattan skyline with the grandeur of a new-world Versailles.

The combined durability and cost-effective design of SlenderWall’s lightweight wall panel system reduces installation time and expense by up to 50%, efficiency that has the power to pave the way for a new and sustainable era of accessible affluence.

Classically, palaces stood as the privileged possession of royalty; the vast opulence of palatial walls testified to the exalted strength of an all-powerful King.

Today, SlenderWall is helping to build futures, where American families can find new purchase on palatial halls, occupy high ground, buttressed in walls that testify to the power of American innovation and its persistent capacity “to dream up a better way to do things.”

But without SlenderWall, the outlook wouldn’t be so bright. The opposite of Slenderwall is heavy and manual. The manual labor of ‘brick by brick’ or traditional pre-cast which weighs much more – 80 lbs per square foot to SlenderWall’s 30 lbs is expensive and slow. This introduces increased building expenses, work prone to error and a calendar completely reliant on the weather. Slenderwall allows the contractor or owner to expose the building sooner, which cuts down on carrying cost. With SlenderWall, you get the efficiency of a product built centrally, assembled locally and lighter, more maneuverable – better to boot.

The benefits are immense. Buildings have lesser foundational requirements with Slenderwall, the frame construction absorbs movement and seismic shock, and wind- tested to 226 mph. The total cost of ownership (TCO) is lower because of superior durability. The design can be more nuanced – just look at the Alexander – at various design and build budgets because of its innovation. And in a world trading onsite and manual for centralized, modular and automated, the Slenderwall is leading the industry and has been for 25 years. In many ways, the industry is just catching up.

Of the ‘Top 10 construction industry trends to watch in 2016’ by Construction Dive, ‘offsite’, modular construction methods were listed at number two.

From the article:

Offsite — also known as modular or prefabricated — construction has been gaining ground as an alternative building method that offers the benefits of reduced construction time, less waste and possible cost savings. As companies struggle to staff job sites and stick to difficult schedules, many have started to turn to prefab as an option that offers more certainty … Ron Antevy, president and CEO of e-Builder, told Construction Dive he has seen a growing use of prefab methods, especially in the healthcare sector.“(Prefab) is up-and-coming. That’s a way to save costs and speed up the time,” he said. “Some of the larger owners out there are starting to realize there are efficiencies there, but you have to be doing a certain amount of volume for these kinds of strategies to pay off.”

In Modspace’s recent article listing ‘Top Trends Shaping the Future of Construction Firms’, modular was also a highlight:

More architects and builders are embracing off-site construction, also called prefabricated or modular construction, as an efficient and reliable building method. They’re incorporating prefab into building designs to accelerate project delivery and as a result, cut costs.

And reports like this one have long predicted this trend. Back in 2013, 61% of respondents in the construction industry predicted that the use of modular/pre-fab would increase by at least 5% annually for the next three years.

Why Slenderwall?

When you hear about trends, you often think ‘new’ and ‘untested’. SlenderWall, however, was modular before it was cool, with 25 years of tested innovation and installation. And it’s the very installation and consolidating of materials and processes that makes it great. SlenderWall is not only durable and efficient, but it comes with insulation and studs as a part of the panel, bringing a ‘closed system’, while reducing trades needed on the jobsite. Closed, integrated systems are often better than open and fragmented. After all, the same approach Smith-Midland uses, is the one Steve Jobs designed for Apple. Said Jobs in 2010:

“What is best for the customer—integrated versus fragmented? We think this is a huge strength of our system versus Google’s. When selling to people who want their devices to just work, we think integrated wins every time. We are committed to the integrated approach. We are confident it will triumph over Google’s fragmented approach.”

And the approach has worked indeed. Just last quarter, almost 5 years after the passing of Jobs, Apple posted the most profitable quarter in the history of business.

SlenderWall isn’t just a technology, it’s democracy. It brings a disruptive form of construction and materials, empowering developers and builders alike to imagine new solutions to old building problems. The results range from the efficient to the spectacular. SlenderWall for example meets new IECC energy codes. But more importantly, it enables build of the quality and inspired design of the Alexander and many buildings just like it to follow.