HybridCore builds key pieces in factory; saves on costs and time

[caption id="attachment_25223" align="alignright" width="360" caption="HybridCore demonstration home on Montgomery Dr. in Santa Rosa"][/caption]

NORTH BAY – HybridCore Homes takes the idea of a modular home and a traditional home and blends them to create a cheaper, faster and more environmentally sound way of home building.

The concept is that the central part of the house, the kitchen, bathrooms and master suite are built off-site in a warehouse and trucked to the building site where the rest of the rooms and the roof are added.

“All of the really sensitive work is done in a controlled environment,” said Clint Wilson, one of the founders of the Santa Rosa company.

When it arrives, the walls have already been textured, and the appliances are in place. All that is needed is a bit of touch-up paint.

The company was founded by Mr. Wilson, Robert O'Neel, Kevin Farrell and Shaun Faber. Otis Orsburn is the vice president in charge of construction and Barrie Graham, former president and chief executive officer of Exchange Bank, is the president and CEO.

“We have completed extensive research, met with independent focus groups of homebuilders and created a ‘hybrid’ home that seamlessly integrates innovative factory-built components with traditional construction,” said Mr. Graham.

Incorporating factory-built components is not new to the homebuilding industry. Many builders use engineered roof trusses, pre-hung doors and factory-built stairways.

The HybridCore “core” consists of the more costly areas of the home. These areas include the wet zones: kitchen, bathrooms, laundry, plus their appliances, fixtures, cabinets and countertops.

Mr. Graham added that the furnace and water heater are included in the HybridCore Home, with finished walls and ceilings, including the plumbing, light fixtures along with the electrical wiring already in place when the core arrives at the home site.

The State Department of Housing Deputy Director Kim Strange recognized HybridCore Homes, giving it a certificate for “Innovation in Housing Technology.” It was presented last Thursday at the demonstration home on Montgomery Dr. in Santa Rosa.

The deputy director said the construction methods are exactly what the department envisioned when the State Factory Built Housing Program was created.

The demonstration home has been built to exceed Build It Green standards.

“The HybridCore Home can save as much as 20 percent in construction costs and more when you consider engineering, supervision and carrying costs,” said Mr. Graham. “Add to that the reduction of the construction timeline, by as much as 50 percent, and it’s a win-win for the builder and the ultimate homeowner.”

Mr. Wilson said the team has made an effort to make the homes not feel like typical module homes.

“We have patents out on the roof, copyrights on the plans and are working on other patents for the foundation as well,” he said.

The homes are built to the most current edition of the California Building Standards Code, the same as all site-built residential homes in California.

Exterior walls are constructed with kiln-dried lumber spaced to allow for energy-saving insulation and less sound transmission. The interior walls are built with kiln-dried studs that inhibit mold and keeps walls straight.

The floors are constructed with an engineered open-truss system designed to be strong and level throughout the core. The system also allows for utilities to be routed where they are protected and insulated from the elements.

“We have added elements of high-end homes into an inexpensive starter home,” said Mr. Wilson. “These are not multimillion dollar homes, they are affordable.”

The cores run from roughly $30,000 to more than $100,000 depending on the floor plan. They are built in Sacramento in a factory that has the capacity to put out 50 floor plans a week, said Mr. Orsburn.

Available throughout the country, one was on display at the Pacific Coast Builders Conference in San Francisco, and another will be on display at the National Association of Home Builders in Orlando, Fla., in November.