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Homebuilders are constantly seeking new ways to improve the places that we call home. One such builder has discovered Helix® Micro Rebar® concrete reinforcement, and it has changed everything they do with concrete.
Liberty Ridge Homes is an international home-building brand wholly devoted to streamlining construction processes with smarter materials while remaining committed to delivering higher-quality homes more affordably. As a division of Romspen Investment Corporation, Liberty Ridge Homes works on some of North America’s largest and most challenging residential projects.
“The projects we take on are primarily from Romspen Mortgage clients who have run into difficulties,” says Lawrie Hooper, Projects Coordinator. “Our development division is brought in to review the existing project scope, and, as needed, we reimagine parts or the whole of the development with the end objective of ultimately bringing a site to a profitable completion.”
Now 66, Hooper has been involved with construction since 1978, accumulating along the way a substantial and varied portfolio of construction experience. Although a little older now (and having already retired once for “six of the most boring months of my life”) he’s still constantly refining the Liberty Ridge construction model, seeking out methodology and products that allow for better construction systems to be implemented while realizing both time and cost savings for the development. He does all this while delivering a noticeably superior product to market at a more affordable price point.
“I came out of retirement to do this for two reasons. First, for the people at Romspen Mortgage/Liberty Ridge Homes. In my opinion, they’re the most forward-thinking firm in the Country. Second, the challenge of finding ways of turning around struggling projects and redefining how we build on difficult sites and being given the latitude to find products and methods to accomplish that mandate,” says Hooper. “Together we manage the whole construction process, from design to development. Some have a challenging financial recapture (up to a quarter-billion dollars). Others are challenging from a site topography perspective, so we need to rethink how to build a house cost-effectively on, say, the side of a mountain. That’s what brought us to the Helix Steel and Insu-Built Systems products.”
Construction Management Companies Are Thinking Smarter
Liberty Ridge Homes is known for building some of the most energy-efficient homes in the lower mainland of British Columbia, focusing on building with the right materials to make the biggest difference.
“We’re always looking for ways to be more efficient with our time and money, and expedite the construction process through standardization across all of our sites,” explains Hooper. “Every step of the process and every product used is scrutinized.”
A very laborious and time-intensive complication of homebuilding had always been the installation of concrete reinforcement for foundations and wall assemblies. He had tried other forms of concrete reinforcement fibers, but wasn’t impressed with how inconsistent the fiber disbursement was in the mix, nor how the fibers clogged up cement pump trucks, impacting finishing results and causing countless delays and cost overruns on already challenged projects. A good concept with poor execution.
However, as luck would have it, Liberty Ridge Homes’ principal geotechnical engineer had taken classes from a professor at the University of Michigan, the same professor responsible for inventing and developing Helix Micro Rebar. He suggested that Hooper reach out to Helix Steel to discuss their one-inch twisted steel reinforcement.
So he did.
Reinventing Construction Projects With Concrete Reinforcement
Hooper spoke with the Helix Steel team and liked what he heard.
He admits that it took a bit of work to refine the batching process with larger pours, but with the help of Helix Steel’s engineering team, he couldn’t believe the results. Combined with efficiencies of other construction processes, Liberty Ridge Homes began finishing the first floor of a three-story six-plexes in a day. The next floor could be installed the following morning. A three-storey six-plex building could now be ‘locked-up’ in as little as a month and a half, with insulation, windows, doors and siding finished.
“Today, we use the reinforcement in anything that takes concrete – in slabs, footings and walls,” says Hooper. “We’re using fewer people to get it done. We’ve eliminated a whole stage. Our cost of materials is already less 15–20%. And we get a significantly more durable product that addresses the stringent seismic code requirements of the southwest coast of British Columbia, all with virtually no waste.”
Now that Hooper has experienced the benefits of Helix Micro Rebar, he’s looking forward to replicating his discovery across North America. To do so is no small feat, but he’s up to the challenge.
Helix Steel is More Than a Supplier for Homebuilders
Many developers need to buy supplies and complete all of the dirty work on their own. With Helix Steel, Hooper was relieved to hear that their design and engineer team helps at every step along the way.
“They were invaluable in getting us up to speed on application work, and keeping us up to date on the availability of product and usage requirements,” says Hooper. “Their communication system is outstanding. They are constantly checking to see what they can do to help us on the ground, and make it better from an engineering perspective as well.”
He adds, “We’re now well past the honeymoon phase, and Helix Steel has been nothing but professional and supportive since day one.”
The Future of Home Construction Starts with Thinking Differently
Forward-thinking construction leaders are always looking for new ideas to help construction crews, simplify the process and make the end product better.
“We don’t build to the cheapest denominator because I’ve rarely found it an effective way to do anything,” admits Hooper. “I’d rather spend a few dollars more to do it right. But in the case of Helix Micro Rebar, it was the best of both worlds, a far better product and less expensive than conventional reinforcement. The biggest compliment we get is when members of our own construction teams and realtors representing other sites buy Liberty Ridge homes for their families. Helix Steel plays a big part in our ability to consistently deliver on that expectation”
Hooper says that even his real estate team sees the difference with Liberty Ridge Homes. Agents encourage homebuyers to shop around to see other new homes, and more often than not return to Liberty Ridge’s developments asking about move-in dates. The quality just can’t be matched, especially with Helix Steel’s innovative reinforcement playing a lead role in each home’s success.
To give you an idea of the homebuilding prowess of Liberty Ridge Homes, explore The Ridge at Kettle Creek in Langford, British Columbia. (Sorry readers, with construction quality like theirs, townhomes here have been sold out for a while.)
Learn more about how Helix Micro Rebar concrete reinforcement can improve your new home construction projects by reaching out to Helix Steel’s design and engineering team. You can submit your project details online or speak directly with them at 734-322-2114.
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