By Steve Hubrecht
A group of Invermere carpenters have completely turned their business on its head, taking the carpentry profession into the digital age.
Collective Carpentrys three co-owners, Rane Wardwell, Jan Pratschke and Andrew Turgeon, along with employee Andre Kreutzer, have been wielding their hammers for a few years now, but last month they relaunched their business with new software programs and a 3,000-square foot (280-square metre) workshop in Athalmers industrial zone that makes their carpentry both digital and indoors.
Its really interesting. It completely changes our approach and allows us to really do some high quality work, said Mr. Wardwell.
Its definitely exciting, its a big change for us and it broadens our potential quite a bit, said Mr. Pratschke.
The Collective Carpentry partners had increasingly been involved in the Passive House approach (which strives for significantly less energy use than traditional homes) and say their new software and panelized indoor prefabrication style is a natural fit with this.
The 3-D CAD (three-dimensional computer assisted design) software allows the partners to create a virtual model of a home without picking up a single tool.
It facilitates a more thorough design process and helps customers visualize the project before we even start, said Mr. Pratschke.
The digital model also translates into much greater precision, less waste, and more efficient use of building materials. When the design is set, the carpenters begin prefabrication, building the house in panels inside their workshop with an 18-foot (5.5-metre) ceiling and enough room for a crane to operate in which helps create more energy efficient, super-insulated homes, according to Mr. Wardwell.
Its harder to get the same quality when youre fighting the elements, dealing with frozen tools and tradespeople that maybe dont want to be out in the cold, he said.
Once the panels are ready, they are loaded on a truck, driven to location and the home is put together on site. The groups first project a Toby Benches home designed by local architect, Jillian Cochrane will roll out of the workshop and onto a truck in the next few weeks, but as Mr. Wardwell pointed out, with prefabrication and panelization, they can theoretically send their work anywhere.
Our reach is bigger since we can put a home on a truck and ship it out of the valley, he said.
To learn more call 250-342-1560, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, or check out the groups website at www.collectivecarpentry.com.