Rob: Hi, Fernando. How are you?
Fernando: Good. How are you, Rob?
Rob: Excellent. Excellent.
Rob: Looks like we've had a few folks join. We'll just wait for attendance, everybody to make their way over to their laptop and then we'll kick it off.
Fernando: Nice. How is the temperature at your area?
Rob: It's beautiful. Yeah, it's like 80. I think it's probably like 80 out right now or so.
Fernando: Oh, that's cool.
Rob: How's the microclimate in SoMa?
Fernando: Not that bad. Actually, we have sun today, which is nice.
Rob: Nice. Yeah, people from outside the Bay Area who are listening are probably like, "What's going on? I thought you guys are right next to each other?" But the difference between the San Francisco weather and even 20 minutes out is wild.
Fernando: It is. Especially if you're near the coast Pacific, Daly City, most of the time gets foggy over there, those areas.
Rob: Yeah. Lots to do. I don't want to discourage anybody from going to visit San Francisco.
Fernando: It's getting to what we're supposed to be talking about.
Rob: Exactly. Well, we'll give maybe everybody just one more minute to join here and then we'll get started. But for anybody who's listening outside of state, I would still encourage you to go visit San Francisco. There's still some cool stuff. No doubt.
Fernando: Okay, [inaudible 00:02:53].
Rob: All right. Well, let's get going. First things first, I want to thank everybody for joining us today either live or watching the recording. We've got an exciting guest speaker, somebody who actually works directly for us who we've been really lucky to bring onto the team recently. And he has some great experiences that he's been able to bring over and ultimately help us grow. The primary focus of today's session will be all around our big initiative and our push to drive light gauge steel for the single-family residential market around the Bay Area, and explain to everybody who's listening why we're so excited about this and what some of those advantages are.
And yeah, no better person to speak about it than Fernando on our team. To jump into things, we're going to be going over a lot of different items, a lot of different topics. But mostly focusing all around light gauge steel, our factory setup, how we go about actually assembling it since that's the team that Fernando leads. And ultimately, how the other trades are impacted and what sort of coordination happens as the structure isn't just a framing building, right? All the other trades need to come in and also finish the project and kind of how that's coordinated, and what effects if any, are there for them. Lastly, we'll finish up with a Q&A. If you have any questions throughout the course of the webinar, you have the option to A; either type in the box up top, the Q&A box. Or second, you can always wait till the end of the webinar and you can virtually raise your hand and I can call on you there. Alternatively, if there isn't a question that we get to or let's say we run out of time, I'll also present our contact information at the end of the webinar so you can always reach out directly to either myself, Fernando, or anybody else on our team.
Without further ado, yeah, who we are. We're a residential general contractor here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Right now, we are focused on building and developing beautiful residential structures throughout the Bay Area. We do so by partnering with some of the best subcontractors throughout the Bay Area and really leveraging a great relationship with them in order to make sure that your project is completed successfully. Most recently, our most recent initiative is, and we're actually bringing our first trade in-house, which would be our framing, which Fernando is heading up. And that framing team will be essentially taking... we'll get into it more. But that framing team will ultimately be the ones responsible for providing the full skeleton of all of our light gauge structures going forward here in the Bay Area. So, really lucky to have him on the team and we'll talk more about that.
Our approach is very unique. For anybody who hasn't seen one of these other webinars, we're a distributed team. We're here locally in the San Francisco Bay Area, but we have a very large team in Pune, India who essentially operate almost all the business functions whether it's accounting, project management, procurement. Having everybody in the same place allows us to really vertically integrate successfully, make sure everybody is communicating, and make sure really no balls are dropped between all of the different stakeholders that are there throughout the sequence and duration of your project. Ultimately, Fernando and I are a small representation of the entire team as a whole. And there's a big team behind us that are helping to make sure that the projects are running on time, on budget, and up to the quality that we all expect. So, really thankful to have everybody on our team both here and abroad. But yeah, Fernando, first of all, thanks for taking the time to join us. Last week we had Navneet. Hopefully, you get better comments and reviews than Navneet did. That'll be the goal of today's webinar. But yeah, thanks for joining us. Fernando, would you mind just kind of first telling everybody a little bit about maybe in like chronological order about your background up to today?
Fernando: Yeah. Well, first of all, I want to say thank you to the people that are taking their time to watch this video and that hopefully we can answer some of their questions and hopefully we can deliver some new knowledge to the people that are watching. Yeah, I've been involved in the construction industry for a long time. Actually, my dad is a builder as well. So, I've been familiar with it since I was younger. But directly in the industry, I've been working for six years. And then yeah, I've been working in different trades, just not LGS. I've been working also in other trades like plumbing, concrete, and some other things like that. But as of right now, I've been working with the Livio for the past two months. And then I got the opportunity to work in the factory directly in India, which we will be talking more about that. I think it's pretty exciting and then we can tell people what we actually do and then, if they might have any other questions, we might answer that. It's actually pretty fascinating what Livio s doing. And I'm pretty happy to share with people what their expectation is with us.
Rob: Awesome. And Fernando, your most recent experience and where you came from, you guys were doing something I guess relatively similar to what we're trying to accomplish on the multi-family side of things. Is that right?
Fernando: Yes. The company that I previously was working for, they do panelization as well. They are based in the Bay Area as well. But they have the same idea of producing panels in the factory, deliver it to the site. They actually minimize the amount of labor to use on site. Yeah, so we can go more into details on that. But yeah, definitely they do some very cool stuff as well.
Rob: Awesome. And for the project that you were working on panelized light gauge steel structures, what were the scope of those projects? You know, were they single-family? Multi-family? What sort of projects did they have you working on?
Fernando: They do a lot bunch of projects. I got the opportunity to work with them in single-family homes and then also multi-unit. The biggest one that they had was 36 units LGS. They do townhomes, they did a project for the city of San Jose. They have some bigger project coming up as well. And everything is LGS, it's panelization.
Rob: Awesome. Cool. All right. Well, yeah, I'm sure we'll dive in a lot more about LGS. But yeah, we're super thankful to have Fernando join our team. This is before Fernando joined and unfortunately before he made the trip over to India. But we have a fairly large factory staff. Now I think over about 30 or so with a large facility, actually next to our office where a lot of our back-office staff is located. Anything from project managers, to designers. Ultimately, goal would be to have those teams really work closely together to make sure that the design and build of the structure is really closely coordinated and that the right people are talking about those critical issues that are there. Fernando, you've mentioned it quickly, but you were in India. You got back last week?
Fernando: Yeah. I was there for about 20 days, something like that. I got the opportunity to meet a lot of the folks that are in that picture, who are great people, various skilled builders. I met some of the designers and some of the engineers that are based in India and are very qualified people, very high qualified people. And then I was so grateful to work close to them to build a good, better relationship. And then, we're all working together for the coming up projects.
Rob: Awesome. Well, yeah, we're glad that you're back here, States side and ready to get this going. And thankfully, our team over there is doing us phenomenal job, keeping up with production. We've got two machines that are running that have the capability of turning out a lot of projects and a lot of stud members that we'll talk about here soon. So, big shout out to the factory team and everybody over there working their tails off. When it comes to what is light gauge steel, Fernando, can you give kind of... I think most people are familiar with wood construction here in the United States. For anybody who's listening, we also have a full webinar just dedicated to looking at the difference between light gauge steel and wood. We'll talk about kind of a brief overview of it. But there's also different details and information that are in that other webinar for those who are interested. Anyways, Fernando, why don't you if you wouldn't mind giving listeners and viewers just kind of a brief summary that would be great.
Fernando: Yeah, definitely. I mean, there's a lot of differences between doing wood frame and a steel frame. We can keep talking about it for a long time. But overall, I think the impact that steel does to the environment is significantly lower than what wood does. And if you think about it, one of the things that I always think about how much wood do you consume to build the house, right? If you think about some of the estimates, they say that you use over 40 trees to build a house. That is 2,500 square foot you use about 40 trees, right? And it's not just about the quantity of trees that you use, it's about how long the trees take to grow, right? So, you think about it, each tree to have a good product from that tree, it takes over 40 years. 40 years for one tree to be mature to be ready to use for lumber.
And you might think is a little excessive, 40 trees, right? But if you look around your house and you start noticing a lot of things that you might haven't noticed in the past like what is the structure made of? Your cabinets, your doors, your floor, pretty much everything or most of the things that we use in house is built of wood. So, to reduce this amount in LGS, instead of using wood using LGS, I think the impact on the environment is humongous for the environment. And then not just for the environment, right? It's also for the builders on how you build your home, right? You think about it, in construction, 20% of the waste that is created, it comes from construction. 20%. And from that 20%, 30% of it is created on sites. So, all the waste that is created on sites is from waste lumber and some other materials. You think about it when you walk into a site or you walk in the streets and you look at a house and when they're building with lumber, there's just so much waste.
Yeah, the carpenters, that's why they require very high skilled carpenters, right? Five years plus with experience because of waste of material. The waste of material is incredibly high on lumber. When you're talking about LGS and the fabrication of it, we have very minimal waste, very minimal. And on the site, when you're talking about waste on LGS, it's almost none. We have very minimal waste on site. So, saving a lot of those trees, I feel like it's a good impact for the planet and a good use for all of us.
Rob: No doubt.
Fernando: Yeah. Now, I guess the question comes like, why should you change to LGS, right? Why not just keep in wood? As I mentioned, that's one of the benefits. Plus, a lot of people, you know, kind of think about it like--
Rob: Before we jump into that real quick, because I know there's a turn that we're going to dive into about that. Before we dive into it real quick, there's kind of two components that go into some of these light gauge structures. Ultimately, you can construct a building out of full cold form. First of all, cold-form steel and light gauge steel are kind of used interchangeably, I guess is the first thing that I'll mention. For anybody who's listening, if you hear about cold form steel, it is the same exact thing as what we're referring to in this presentation as light gauge steel. Cold form steel is exactly as it sounds. It starts off in a coil and it's formed into a shape just through the force of essentially rolling and shaping into the profile that's needed for the structure. So, whether that's a stud, a joist, a header, or a truss. So essentially, think of your wood structure exact same way. It's formed in the exact same function, so essentially, it's light gauge enough and it doesn't need to be heated, which is why it's called cold form, in order to be formed into the shape that's required to construct whatever individual member that's required for your home.
And all of those individual members and the sizes and everything else are specified by an engineer. And they're the ones who determine, hey, for this particular wall, for this particular opening, this is the member that you need. In some instances, where cold form steel may not have the structural capability required, it can sometimes be mixed with this hot form steel, which are exactly as that sounds, it doesn't come in a coil and gets bent into shape, but instead it's fabricated and requires heat in order to be malleable to get into the shape that it's required. So, at a high level, those are kind of the differences between the two. Oftentimes, especially on these larger homes that we're doing where you have maybe vast openings, especially with the modern architecture where everybody wants these, you know, 12-foot doors, even in a wood frame structure, you would require some steel in order to resist that resistance. Same exact way, for some of those openings, there's a combination of materials that are required. Only difference being is we'd combined cold form and hot form steel as opposed to wood members and hot form steel. So yeah, I just wanted to give everybody kind of a brief on that one before we got too far.
Fernando: Correct. And actually, that's a very good point because hot form steel or even steel in general has more strength than wood [inaudible 00:20:08]. And this is why sometimes they use [inaudible 00:20:12] sections on the openings because they possess more weight than engineered wood.
Rob: Awesome. We have a cool graphic that I think helps explain a lot of what we just talked about pretty visually. You know, on the left-hand side, obviously is a structure that is entirely made of light gauge steel. I think in both of these examples, I don't see any sort of hot rolled sections. But imagine if there was a really big opening that was required here, you probably see it in both structures. But you can see you can achieve pitched roofs, you can see flat roofs, you can do floors out of it, you can do stairs out of it even. So, just like you could do wood framing and you can have a solid skeleton for your home, same exact thing can be achieved using light gauge steel.
Fernando: Yeah. And there are actually more advantages with a steel because with wood, you will have to purchase separate pieces for the components of the house, two by fours, beams, joists. With light gauge steel, you can actually fabricate everything in the factory. You can fabricate your own headers, you can fabricate your own columns. You can even fabricate [inaudible 00:21:36] sections, right? I mean this a little bit more in wood. But on the light gauge section like you see on the left side of the screen, probably all of those components that you can see, the columns and headers are being fabricated with the same components that a wall is being fabricated. You don't need to go to a different vendor, you don't need to purchase extra material. The same material, same quality, you know, even probably better than wood. And it provides you the same quality for being built.
Rob: Awesome. Well, now that we know a little bit more kind of about what light gauge steel is, we'll dive into a bit more. We've got about four slides here, Fernando to talk about why someone might go the light gauge steel route. I think one thing that I'll address maybe before we get into it is, I think the biggest question that's on people's mind oftentimes or their resistance to doing it is, hey, why isn't it more prevalent? And that's something that we're not really going to focus on in today's webinar. But the previous webinars that we talked about, we talked a lot about kind of the barrier of entry of LGS into the market and how the prices of wood in combination with us doing things a little bit differently from a factory setup, we're ultimately able to achieve very close to, if not beat the cost of wood framing. We're not necessarily going to talk about the cost side of things as much as talking about maybe some more of the other advantages that might be there.
If that's the question that's on your mind, you can ask the question. We'll do our best to address it during the Q&A. But we want to certainly be talking about LGS from a cost comparison side. With that said, safety. Fernanda, we just had a project last week where we had manufactured or we had engineered the project out of wood. Ultimately, it didn't meet the fire ratings so we had to switch it to LGS. Can you talk a little bit more about kind of the LGS components as it pertains to environmental laws and also strength capacities?
Fernando: Yeah. Well, the benefit with LGS is actually, it receives more fire rating than wood does. It's combustible. So, it probably meets one of the codes than what wood does in terms of like, what the structure is. If you say, you know, for earthquakes, especially here in the Bay area where we have a lot of earthquakes. Yeah. And one of the funny things that comes on my mind is, every time there's an earthquake and I'm around, if I'm indoors, the first thing that comes to my head is what the structure is made of. I feel more comfortable being in the structures that are made of concrete, steel because I know they'd resist the shake. They resist more strength than wood does. And now, over the time, these structures, they deteriorate. So, if you think about it and you estimate the life of wood for 100 years and the same amount they estimate for steel, the comparison is like about the same if you go with steel or wood, right? And in terms of the fire rating, yeah, like I said, there is a lot of components, the benefits of steel. You can also use products that have been manufactured, especially for this product as well. You can comply with it being higher rated for hours, right? Your drywall, your steel, your insulation, complies with all these codes as well.
Rob: Yeah. No, exactly. I mean, ultimately, the cool thing about using LGS, especially when it comes to, again, being in California and kind of the expansion of what's considered a wildlife fire hazard zone, it's like slowly growing and growing and growing. And as a result, the need to have specified products that are noncombustible is very quickly becoming a topic of conversation. And fire departments and regulation bodies are starting to look at that really closely. And as a result, I mentioned it before, Fernando. You spoke about it. But yeah, we're ultimately able to achieve a really high fire rating on the some of the assemblies utilizing LGS, that we otherwise would not have been able to achieve using wood.
Fernando: Yeah, all this product data is being tested, right? Especially LGS insulation and drywall. All these products are being tested for these to comply with these codes. Especially in California, we have a very strict codes for fire rated and for earthquakes. So we definitely have to comply with these codes. And like I said, I feel like LGS is more qualified for this compliant with codes than what good is.
Rob: For sure. Yeah. Cool. Well, the next slide talks a lot about some of the environmental impacts that I think Fernando you touched on before. But yeah, maybe just to reiterate, I think in addition to having, you know, I think this is looking at kind of cold form steel as not just panelized but also if it were to be, "stick-framed" on site. But Fernando, can you give everybody kind of a brief understanding of what the LGS market looks like as it pertains to the environment?
Fernando: Yeah, definitely. As I mentioned before, the benefit with LGS steel is that you don't have to worry too much about how much material you're going to waste. Like a lot of people and especially a lot of subcontractors, they really care about their employees' skills and then train them well on how to save materials. Because once again, if you cut a piece of wood that is one inch short or two inches short, that's it. You can't really use it elsewhere. And what people do, instead of re-using these pieces, most of the time they just throw it away. They don't reuse it. Which is a big problem with using lumber. You really have to be careful on the way you build because you create a lot of waste.
With the LGS that we're using, it's recyclable. Most of the waste that you create in the factory or on the site, you can recycle, create the same product again. Actually, you create so less waste by the equipment that we have in the factory. It actually takes over all the skills carpenter use to cutting these pieces precisely. And then they try to maximize the product, right? You're still going to have waste. You're not going to have the same amount of waste as if you do in a regular construction project. When it comes to the site when reducing all this amount of waste, like you think about it as I mentioned before, how many trucks you put or you use for your house. Like there's a lot of deliveries that you get for lumber, you get your beams, your two by fours, your headers, probably separate trucks. The amount of space that they take, all the fuel that they use. With LGS, we have the opportunity and we'll talk about it a little bit more for that. But the space that LGS occupies in the coils is very minimal. It's almost like nothing. Then when it comes to panels, that's probably the most that you will take space. However, if you think about it in one container that is 40 feet long by seven by seven, we can fit that unit that is 1,000 square feet.
Rob: How many, Fernando?
Fernando: 1,000 square feet.
Rob: 1,000 square feet?
Fernando: Yes, in one container. You can fit that in panels. And then so you reduce already the amount of trips of a truck. You reduce fuel and then you ended up reducing the amount of traffic on site, and ultimately, you'll be more proactive having these panels coming from a factory you reduce the amount of labor. And again, all the benefits that you have that almost no waste on site. You're still going to have some probably things that you might add later on or something. But the amount of waste that you create with LGS is incredibly minimal compared to lumber.
Rob: Yeah, you bring up a good point too about the precision of the machine cut material that's assembled into panels. Certainly, that whole process eliminates a lot of that sort of, you know, they don't call it a cutting and stack stick framing for nothing. It's all, you're essentially cutting it on site and putting it together as we speak. So certainly, the panelization in the factory setting helps save time.
Fernando: Yeah. The only the beauty that you don't have to worry about is when you get your lumber and then we see it over the years the type of wood that we're receiving on site is not the same quality as we used to receive years ago. We receive lumber that sometimes it's like one inch twisted. So, what are you going to do with that piece of wood? You can't really use it in the house. So, you ended up cutting it and it goes to waste. With LGS, everything is fabricated in the machine, everything is level and perfectly straight. You don't have to worry about this twist or cracking that occur with wood most of the time, especially with the lumber like I said a lot of people they just cut younger trees, which they don't have the same strength at what the older three does. So, they fabricate the lumber and then it's just not good for construction. It just starts twisting, cracking, they have a lot of nodes.
That involves a lot of problems which you don't have to worry with LGS. Everything is fabricated in a factory, it's more precise in what wood does. And the beauty also is you can take it apart. With wood, when you do demolition, most of the time, everything just goes to trash. If you do with LGS, you have the opportunity to remove your drywall, your insulation, take apart your structure and reuse all these components. You don't have to use a [inaudible 00:33:46] or other cutting materials to remove the wall and then waste a lot of materials. The beauty with LGS is everything is screws. The only things you got to do is get your drill, to remove the screws, and remove a wall. Take it apart, and you can reuse all these materials again.
Rob: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, and you brought up moisture in wood. I mean, one thing that we tell our homeowners these days, with the amount of moisture, the moisture content that's in a lot of these two by framing the material that we're using, honestly, we can't even really warrant drywall cracks down the line. Because of just the amount of movement the shutter has as the wood dries out over the course of let's say a few years, right? It's the nice thing certainly from... and we'll talk a little bit more about the other trades that come after framing. But one thing that we're able to do is we're able to get a much higher level of precision for all of the future trades as well, which whether it's the tile guy ensuring that the walls are straight or whether it's the cabinet guy making sure that his cabinets are set square or whether it's the drywall guy, of course making sure that his drywall material won't be affected ultimately as the wood dries out. So, a lot of important stuff there.
Fernando: You touched pretty two interesting points. Recently, I was talking with one of my friends, he's been working in the unions for a long time and then now he works for a general contractor. And then I was asking him because he has experience working on hanging cabinets, which is probably the most heavy part of your house that you're going to hang to the frame. And I was asking him, what do you prefer more, to use wood or do you prefer to use LGS to hung your cabinets. And overall, he mentioned, you know, we got used to work with wood all the time, you know the typical construction of what you do. But he likes to work with LGS more. And this guy has more than 10 years of experience on cabinets. So, they'll give you the same resistance as wood does. And then probably a lot of people are concerned on that topic. Like, once I have my home finished, how am I going to hung up pictures? How am I going to hung up a curtain? And all these things. You know, it's basically the same. It will give you the same resistance.
And a lot of people don't actually think on the studs unless it's something heavy. Most of the time they just got to a drywall. Drywall is actually very strong if you use the right hardware, it can handle up to 20 pounds. If you're going to hung something heavier like a TV, it depends the type of structure. I wouldn't say that all LGS is resistible for that because there is a different thickness of it. Some people use is more thicknesses. I will say 16, 18-gauge thickness steel will provide you with this weight of the TV. Even probably lower thickness of LGS will provide with this. I had a friend who hang a TV and then she called me some time ago and she's like, "Hey, do you know how to hang a TV?" And I was like, "Yeah, I can help you with that." And she's like, "Yeah, I hung my TV on the wall but after two weeks it fell."
Rob: Actually, sad.
Fernando: Yeah. So that doesn't mean actually that wood provides you with that support as well, right? And it's the same with all other ones. Depending on the installation, you probably won't use the hardware that you received from these packages because most of them they're targeting that you will going to hung something to concrete or to wood. But most of the time, with a steel frame, you're probably going to have to go to the hardware to get different screws to provide this.
Rob: Sure. Yeah. I was going back to this slide Fernando because just like how you'd have to find a framing member, you know every 16 inches on center for one of these steel members, similarly what you discussed was making sure that you have adequate backing for heavyweight materials. So just like how you'd have to find backing for any sort of heavy structure in woods, similarly, you want to do the same.
Fernando: Yeah, with 16-gauge steel, you probably don't even need backing for cabinets, you can go directly to the studs and floating vanities, they will help you with that wave. Probably, they will provide some support underneath with like probably backing just because of the weight that you put on the vanity or something or to other cabinets. But most of the time, you can go directly to the studs and they will provide you with this support to hang this very heavy cabinets.
Rob: Cool. Let's move on to, we'll quickly talk about energy conservation. But less about like energy conservation because I think California in particular is really strict when it comes to having a really high threshold for all things energy related. So maybe more, I'll just ask you more as it pertains to exterior finishes, right? Can the same exterior finishes, from your experience and having done panelization using light gauge steel for a long time, can those same sort of finishes be applied on a light gauge structure?
Fernando: Yeah, for sure. And then we're going back again on the type of hardware that you're going to use for this type of finishes, right? A lot of contractors are concerned because steel might take a long time to screen in one sheet of drywall. And we might include this on the last topic of all the trades. But definitely yes, you can use as regular construction with wood, you can do the same finishes with steel exactly the same.
Rob: Got it. I mean, common exterior finishes that we see throughout the Bay Area, stucco, siding, stone veneer, I don't know if I'm missing anything, but those are kind of the three that immediately come to mind that are prevalent on most homes. So, all three of those finishes on projects you've worked on using light gauge steel you've been able to install them?
Fernando: There haven't been issues, yeah. And a lot of contractors are becoming more and more aware of what the product is and comfortable with it. So, there are also companies if you purchase siding from a company, they will ask you what your structure is made of. And then if you go like, "Oh, it's steel," they might tell you, "Oh, you know what, this product has not been tested on this type of material." So, they will recommend some other type of product or other companies that are providing this this product.
But definitely, it goes the same with using wood or any other concrete. There are products out there, a lot of them they do much with steel. You might find one or two products that you can now install on LGS because they have now been tested. Every product that you put outside of your house is being tested. You know, they have to give you some kind of guarantee that it's going to stay there, it's not going to pull apart. So yeah, you don't have to worry too much about that. I think once again, all these products that you're using in your home are being tested and it's being guaranteed that it will work in your structure.
Rob: Awesome. I'm going to move on to an exciting topic and this is the factory setup. Fernando, for anybody who wasn't there right at the beginning of this presentation, actually just came back from our factory in Pune, India, where we're actually producing and shipping panels. Fernando, what we're looking at, of course, is the life cycle of where cold form steel member starts, which obviously it originates from a coil of steel, which I'll just mention to everybody here is a certified steel component that's verified by a US third party that essentially dictates the quality of steel, the coating on the steel, and pretty much anything else you can possibly imagine is specified there. This coil of steel is essentially what makes up all of the individual framing members.
It goes through a rolling machine here that you see. I don't know if everybody can see the coil here in the back of this machine. But essentially, it starts with a coil on one side. It goes through this rolling machine, rolls everything into shape. Those shapes are the individual components that you see in this assembled wall panel here on your right. All those individual members are framed in a controlled environment on a framing table where we ensure that everything is square. And that's where our awesome factory team comes into play to make sure everything is assembled into the proper panels that will ultimately be shipped in a shipping container directly to the consumer on site. As a brief overview, this is kind of the lifecycle from coil to shipping. Fernando, I know you guys even did a mockup of assembling one of the structures in India for a project here in Sunnyvale, while you guys were there. Is that right?
Fernando: Yeah. We actually did a unit that is, I believe is 2,500 square feet within less than 20 days. So, you can only imagine the amount of time that you're saving on the structure. The amount of time that you're saving is huge. And yeah, we talked about the factory a little bit. As you mentioned, you can see the coils. In real life, this type of coil, it will take you about three-square foot maximum of space. So, for storage, you don't need to have a huge storage to have this material. And you can have it seated there for days and nothing happened to it. So, the process goes to get this coil that sometimes it's galvanized or is aluminum zinc finished. Then you put it to your roller as you mentioned then to go through this strainer, to the machine which would produce our products for our walls and ceiling. And all these products that they produce in the machine, you can also use it to do headers, to do columns, joists, and so many other creations that you can do with this steel.
The process goes to, after you finish, as you mentioned, you go to your roller, your strainer, your machine which rolls this coil into different shapes, into tracks, studs, joists, and so many other things that you can do with this amazing machine. Livio has a designer who has incredible skills that they design these panels, put all this information in the machine. And the machine has the ability to cut exactly the amount of members that you use for that panel. And this is what I was talking before where the machine does a lot of the job. The only thing you got to do is put information in the machine. And the machine would fabricate and cut every single piece that you need for each. So, this is the, yeah.
Rob: Fernando, because you were talking about what information is fed into the machine, essentially, this image six here that we're looking at, it all starts there, right? With an advanced model that contains all the components.
Fernando: Yeah. It starts there with the modelling guys, which like I said, they have incredible amount of experience on this topic. They will put this information in the machine and the machine will fabricate the panels. The next thing is they'll separate each member of the panels in an area where the workers can identify quickly when assembling a panel, the size of the panel, where the panel is located and what components do they need. Then it goes to three, four stations I believe, if I'm correct. The first station, they will identify... Oh, I forgot to mention that this machine also provides you with hole services for electrical, which is super cool, something that you don't have in wood. But anyways, it goes to this section where they provide hole services for other trades.
Then he goes to the table where the guys actually put to the panel together, they screw it, they make it a square. Yeah, they assemble the entire panel then they go to the next station where they put the siding if siding is needed on the wall. Otherwise, it goes to the quality control person. It goes to the quality control person to make sure that the panel has been assembled correctly, we have all the requirements needed and the panel matches with what are the design is then ready to go, ready to ship it to the site.
Rob: Awesome. Fernando, you mentioned, obviously, what's shown here looks like a wall panel. But if I go over to slide number six again, there's wall panels, there's floor panels, there's roof panels. Are all of these components essentially panelized for you and arranged in before it's shipped or is it just walls.
Fernando: No, everything is being panelized. Everything that you see on that previous picture, I don't know if you can go back. There are hundreds of panels in that picture. And you will think is difficult but actually, with this new system that Livio is implementing, they will tell you exactly where the panel is, the dimension of the panel, and the way that you're supposed to install the panel. There are four ways that you can install a panel, right? They will exactly specify what the panel is, where it goes, the way that it needs to be installed, and how you secure it with all their pins, which makes a huge, incredible difference on assembling the panels on site. They will answer a lot of questions that sometimes people have on site. This panel doesn't match with these dimensions, you can just go on the direction sequence and look at instructions and see if actually it's incorrect or you're doing something wrong.
Rob: Sure. I think Fernando this is where your team, you know, once the container, of course, you have really close coordination with the factory team during the panelization process of course to make sure everything works for your team to ultimately assemble here in California. But once it arrives, this is really where you take the ownership of container arrives on the job site. Can you walk me through kind of what the next steps are in order to get to, I guess one through six?
Fernando: Yeah. First, you get the panels, right? Which you might think, how you're going to get all these images look like it's a lot of panels. And yeah, it is a lot of panels that you might receive on site. But as you start construction, all these panels, they actually go pretty quickly. You don't see results on lumber on the first or second day. You don't see any walls extending out with these panels coming up from the factory. Like I said, you can fit one unit that is 1,000 square foot in one container. And you can see the unit coming up together within two weeks. And this is what we actually did in the factory. We did a demo unit which is the one that you see on picture number six. I can't really remember, but it definitely was more than 2,000 square feet. We did it in less than 20 days.
So overall, you think about it, the amount of labor that you use on site is so much less than regular construction. And the amount of time that you take on doing this construction is so much less, which you know, you think about it, in construction, it becomes everything about time, right? You want to be on time for the next contractors. You don't want to affect them, right? You want to be always ahead of schedule. So, in this case, everything being panelized, you don't really delay anybody. As long as you have your panels on site and you start building it, it's a pretty quick process.
Rob: Awesome. So just to recap, everything starts with a sophisticated Revit model, right? And this Revit model, and Navneet spoke about it last week as well. But it incorporates a lot of different components to make sure that as the layers come together, all of the trades that we're going to talk about next are coordinated. So, everything starts with that coordinated model. That information goes over to this frame cat or this machine here, which essentially bends the coils into the shape. Those members are then assembled into a panel. Those panels are shipped to the job site. And then Fernando your team, panel by panel sets everything in place, right?
Rob: Ultimately, the end result is what this number six looks like or going back kind of what this end result looks like as well. Similar just like how you'd have wood. Once that's done and you have number six, essentially this is when all the other trades come in. These are the same trades that you otherwise would have in a wood frame structure. Maybe we don't go through each and every one, but maybe at a high level we can maybe speak to any of the differences that might be as a result of an LGS structure. One thing that I heard you mention is about creating the penetration to the holes for these electrical, plumbing, fire sprinkler, low voltage trades. Can you tell me a little bit more about that?
Fernando: Yeah. Actually, some of these trades are the most critical ones in this structure. And what Livio is doing is providing these access holes for all these trades to avoid delays or any questions that might occur on site. So, well, the designers are creating these parts for these trades. So overall, if you think about it, with electricians, they have their service holes. The only thing they got to do is run the wire, secure it. It's so much faster for them. With wood, they have to drill stud by stud to run the wires. Same with plumbing. In this case, they are providing access holes for the plumbing pipes. So, all these benefits that you have are beneficial for all the trades. They don't have to worry about cutting the steel and time for them, they're actually going to save so much more time to the plumbing, to the electrical, HVAC, and sprinklers because a lot of them will have this access to these penetrations.
Yeah, and then when you think about it also on drywall, it's pretty much the same amount of time of installing drywall on the steel and installing drywall on LGS. You know, nowadays they have all these fascinating equipment that they can use to speed it up, the work. You know, there's a lot of contractors out there that they've been working with this material and they've been efficient the same way as they do with LGS. I think overall, you know, a lot of contractors definitely are not familiar with it. But there is quite a bit amount of contractors that they've been working with this material. And then actually, there are expertise. There are companies that they just do these types of jobs.
Rob: Awesome. Cool. I mean, one thing that as a result of having a material that is fabricated and assembled in a factory setting, I think one thing that ultimately improves as a result across the board, and that all trades can appreciate is the fact that everything is straight, which is not the case. There's a whole process after a structure is framed in wood construction where they essentially just go through and shim everything. They try to make things level, right? Or to shave stuff down. So, I think one thing that ultimately I think is a huge advantage to all the other trades that follow all of your hard work Fernando and your team's work, is the fact that everything is true and square, which is awesome.
We have about five more minutes. Actually, the timing is pretty much spot on. That was good. I'm going to go to some Q&A. Again, for anybody who hasn't already asked a question, you can type it up here at the top in that Q&A box and ask it there. Otherwise, I'll try to keep an eye on the attendees list and if you raise your hand, you are more than welcomed to ask either Fernando or I a question directly. First question that there was was in regards to fire safety. In particular, the manner in which LGS burns and fails, is the jury still out regarding the benefits of the LGS verses wood in regards to fire safety? I can take a first stab at this Fernando and then maybe you can go from there.
The way that the fire department views safety in a residential building is life safety, not structure safety per se. So they're not looking at, hey, will the structure burn? That's not an issue. It's, hey, what's the amount of time where the occupants within that residence or within that building have to react to the fire and to safely leave the structure? I guess it's important to say that LGS does still fail under immense heat. No doubt about that. However, the fact that it's non-combustible, it doesn't feed the fire thus enables the occupants of the structure to be able to have more time as compared to a comparable assembly in wood to leave the building safely. And as a result, that's why the fire department views LGS favorably as opposed to wood. It's not necessarily that your structure will be saved. That's not the point. It's that the occupants within the structure ultimately have a better chance in comparison to wood of leaving the building safely. Fernando, I don't know if you have anything to add to that. But I think that's the...
Fernando: I think that's a pretty good answer to that. We do have to comply. Once again, all these products that we use in LGS and even wood, they have to comply with these codes. And yeah, ultimately, the goal of these people is to keep people safe and compliant with the code.
Rob: Yeah, no doubt. Another question that came was in regards to, actually it's similar to safety question. But this was in regards to seismic and earthquakes. The question is asking, in particular, does LGS have the same resistance to earthquakes as that of wood? And the short answer that question is yes because each structure is engineered per project. And the same sort of seismic constraints that are used to design the building structurally, nothing changes there. Those same constraints, those same thresholds that need to be met, whether you're framing with wood or whether you're framing with LGS need to be met. But Fernando, you have a lot more experience in LGS assembly than I do. Would you mind kind of educating folks on that?
Fernando: Yeah. This is a pretty controversial topic. Some people will believe that wood is more resistant to earthquake. However, I believe that LGS has more strength and actually, I think it's been proved that LGS has more strength than wood. You will have your sheeting to comply with these codes. And as I mentioned before, personally, since I've been in the industry, I might think a little bit different. But even when I've been working on sites and there's an earthquake, what I think about is the structure first, right? Like, what am I standing on? What I'm inside on. And then it makes me safe just thinking about that the structure is made of LGS more so than wood.
Rob: Yeah. No, absolutely. And Fernando, yeah, you're right in the sense that definitely, there are components of wood structures even that are designed specifically to resist the lateral movements that's there in a seismic event. So, just like that, an LGS structure has components that will be there to resist that lateral movement, which is why you can't have of course, a building that's entirely made of windows and doors, right?
Fernando: Yeah, you have to have the shear wall is to support these movements.
Rob: Exactly. Similarly, there is that same sort of requirement from light gauge steel to wood construction in order to give it a robust diaphragm to resist that resistance. We're just about out of time. If there were any questions that I... Oh, we do have one question from... I'm going to allow Tony to talk real quick and then close this out. So, he will be the last question we get to. Tony, are you there?
Tony: Yeah. Can you guys hear me?
Rob: Yeah, I can hear you just fine, Tony.
Tony: Okay. So, a couple quick questions regarding a rust on these metal stuff. How do you guys handle that?
Fernando: So, you have to waterproof the material. Yes, if you have exposed the LGS over heavy weather conditions, you're definitely going to have some rust. However, with this new system of panelize everything, we don't really hit bad weather in California. I mean, parts of it, yes, it gets rainy. But with this process of panelize, your structure will be ready very quickly, then you cover it up, then you have to waterproof. Yeah, everything will be on the outside waterproof.
Tony: Okay, so the light gauge steel are they like galvanized already?
Fernando: Yes, it's galvanized or it can be aluminum zinc, one of those. You can actually also if you do this type of structure, insert a sensor inside the wall and they will tell you the humidity inside of your walls just to keep you safe. That's an option that you can do with this structure.
Tony: Okay. So, is this type of structure recommended for places on the coast? Like for example, San Francisco?
Fernando: Yeah, definitely. And if you look around inside the buildings, that's all they use. They use LGS. You might have to pay attention when you walk around the streets on new constructions, you might see the use LGS inside the buildings. And then you'll start seeing it more and more in residential houses.
Tony: Okay, so Fernando, are you the framing department within this company?
Fernando: Yes. I will be helping these guys. I'm on the framing crew. I'm the superintendent of the framing, so I will be helping them with the building of this structures.
Tony: Okay, in normal construction, of course, once the framing is done, the plywood will go on the outside. Is this the same as with LGS?
Fernando: Yes, you can use plywood or you can use stucco sheathing or drywall. It will be the same material pretty much.
Tony: Okay, so kind of like the framing part is kind of in-house in this case, right?
Tony: Because of you and after that everything else is being swapped out to different trades.
Fernando: Yes. For now, we're just focusing on the frame. We have other goals coming up. But yeah, right now we're just doing the framing of the house.
Tony: Okay, all right. If I have more questions to talk about my specific project, who should I contact?
Rob: I would reach out to Manju, Tony. And I think you can also email this firstname.lastname@example.org and that'll get directed to our sales team as well and they can certainly take up any additional questions you might have as it pertains to your specific project.
Tony: Okay. All right. Very informative. Yep.
Rob: All right. Well, thank you everybody again for attending. I appreciate you guys taking time out of your lunch hour here and I hope everybody has a great rest of your week. And Fernando, thank you again for joining.
Fernando: Thank you, Rob and thank you to all the Livio team. A great team to work with.
Tony: All right. Thank you, gentlemen. Bye-bye.
Rob: Thanks. Take care.
Tony: Yeah, bye.