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PATH Case Study

A Winter of Content:

Vermont Built Erects Home Envelope in Only Eight Days


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Paul Truax
Vermont Built, Inc.
Chester, Vermont

Builder Type:

Small Custom Homebuilder

The Technology:

Panelized Wall and Roof Systems

The Project:

Two-story, 2,400-square-foot home to serve as a model for the 25-site Chester Remington development community in Chester, Vermont.

"We were faced with building a house in winter conditions. We had to get it enclosed before the severe weather arrived. Panelized construction made that possible."

-- Paul Truax



Vermont Built uses a six-man crew with a minimum of two men on the deck, one man on the truck hitching the chain, and one operating the crane. This allows the crew to set the walls for the first and second floors in two days. "There are many advantages to panelized construction, but the most obvious one is speedy on-site construction," says Paul Truax, one of the owners of Vermont Built.

That benefit was vividly clear in December 2005 when the company was racing to complete a model home in Chester, Vermont, before the worst of winter weather arrived. Once they laid the foundation, Truax and company were able to erect the building envelope of their model home in only eight days.

"Construction started on the two-story model on a Monday morning. By Monday afternoon, we had the first floor deck and first floor walls up, including interior walls, and temporary heat in the basement," he says. "Then by Tuesday, we had the second floor deck and the second floor walls on. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, we were dealing with trusses and the roof sheathing, and by Friday night, we essentially had the whole building framed. On the following Wednesday, we had the roof with all of the shingles on, plus the exterior doors and windows in place. In all, it took only eight days. We normally run from five to ten days depending on the size of the house, and particularly the size and complexity of the roof."

Speedy construction is in the interest of any project to keep down labor costs, but it was particularly important to Truax in this case, because he wanted the home built before the snow began to accumulate.

"We spent a summer putting infrastructure into the development. By the time we got that into place and were ready for homes, we were starting to get into winter weather," he says. "However, we needed a model house for marketing purposes, so we could take advantage of the winter traffic. We are in ski country here, and that is the major marketing time for us."


Vermont Built worked with its panel manufacturer, Barden Homes, to develop and design the home, while making sure it was ready to be delivered to the site as soon as the foundation was set.

"Barden does the structural engineering on the house and the drafting. Once the final prints are signed off, a house can usually be delivered to the site in two to three weeks, about the same amount of time it takes to get the foundation ready. That is about as far ahead as we have to schedule," Truax says.

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Paul Truax

In the construction business since 1961, Paul and Colleen Truax left traditional stick building behind 13 years ago when they formed Vermont Built, Inc., a custom home building company that works solely with panelized construction. Today, with two of their five children, they build in Vermont, New Hampshire, and New York.

Why he uses panelized construction:

"There are definite advantages to keeping part of the work in the shop, under controlled conditions and out of the weather. It substantially reduces the amount of waste, the amount of labor, and the amount of time on site."

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Content updated on 9/27/2006

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