Prostor Brings Brookfield to Steel!
THE STEEL HOME ADVISOR - SUMMER 1997
Jeff Prostor is the industry's own man of steel, fervently promoting steel framing in residential construction. It's a crusade he is winning in new-home neighborhoods throughout Southern California.
As president of Brookfield Homes Southland, Inc., Prostor is one of steel framing's most ardent advocates, proclaiming its benefits to other builders, contractors and most importantly, homebuyers.
Of course, Prostor also practices what he preaches. Every new home being built by Brookfield Homes Southland today - including neighborhoods in the communities of West Covina and Altadena - is framed with light-gauge, galvanized steel.
"It's simply better," Prostor states. "The only reason not to use steel is an unwillingness to try new methods and materials, and that's not a good reason."
Prostor points out that steel has always had numerous compelling advantages. It's termite-proof and provides increased flexibility, consistent quality, a higher strength-to-weight ratio than wood, a lower waste factor than wood, and is resistant to warping, shrinkage, twisting, splitting, swelling, rusting and fire. In addition, steel framing is engineered for the highest seismic rating, and it's environmentally sound because it's made from recycled material, saving trees.
So why is it that steel has only recently been making inroads into residential construction? "It's a matter of dollars and cents," Prostor explains. "Lumber used to be less expensive, but recently, lumber prices have been increasing and fluctuating dramatically, while steel prices have remained relatively stable. As a result, for a typical 2,000 sq. ft. home today, steel costs about 10-15% less than wood, and recent code changes with steel have further supported its use."
Until now, labor costs for steel have been higher than for wood because the tooling system for steel has not been as advanced. But that has been changing in recent years as manufacturers have created new tools and fasteners that provide greater efficiency in assembling steel framed homes.
In addition, Brookfield has benefited by relying on a contractor that is in the vanguard of the light-gauge steel residential building industry. Nicholas Lane Contractors, Inc. has invested in teaching its workers the latest tools and techniques, dramatically reducing the efficiency gap between steel and wood.
According to Nicholas Lane president, Scott Shaddix, "If developers are committed to steel, the subcontractors will do whatever it takes to achieve success." Its hard to imagine a builder being more committed to steel framing than Jeff Prostor. If he has his way, he'll single-handedly help AISI capture its goal of 25% of the residential market by 2000! Info: Janice Kaye 714-556-4365.
Building Towards a Steel Future in the 21st Century!
Nicholas Lane Contractors, Inc. has framed over 10,000 residential homes. By the end of 1997, this will include over 800 steelframed homes! How, you may ask, has Scott Shaddix, president of Nicholas Lane, positioned himself to be able to handle this volume of steel building?
In the mid '90's, Nicholas Lane erected I steel frames of the 172 homes for developer Presley Homes in San Diego. As the first production steel framing development in San Diego County, Nicholas Lane's project in steel was a testing ground for future large scale production steel developments in Southern California.
In the early 90's, steel home builders viewed panelization as an answer to steel production home building. Though Shaddix recognized that specific applications of componetized framing are practical, he realized that pure panelized wall framing was too restrictive.
Shaddix worked closely with Presley Homes' Director of Construction and the engineers from Borm and Associates to develop a way in which residential homes could be designed to be built using conventional stick framing methods. This would infuse competitive market forces into the steel framing picture by offering a way in which developers could bid a home with either wood or steel.
Wood framing still comprises over 75% of all homes Nicholas Lane
builds. But Shaddix believes that both home buyers and developers will be
better served by the cost stability, structural and environmental benefits
of steel. According to Shaddix, the potential benefits of steel are well
worth the initial investment necessary to develop an efficient steel
infrastructure for the 21 st century. For more information, call Nicholas
Lane at 714-630-7630.