accel-E™ STEP Wall System Slashes Both Construction Time and Labor Costs

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Despite a shrinking construction market and a general slowdown in economic growth, there is still plenty of good news in the building industry, provided one knows where to look. For example, a growing number of building contractors are finding genuinely good news in an innovative new approach to wall construction, which enables them to achieve dramatic savings in both labor cost and construction time.

Despite a shrinking construction market and a general slowdown in economic growth, there is still plenty of good news in the building industry, provided one knows where to look. For example, a growing number of building contractors are finding genuinely good news in an innovative new approach to wall construction, which enables them to achieve dramatic savings in both labor cost and construction time.

According to a newly completed independent study, contractors using the new accel-E™ STEP (Steel Thermal Efficient Panel) wall system can achieve labor savings ranging from 49 percent to 88 percent when compared to conventional wall construction techniques. At the same time, the new system enables them to reduce the number of days required for wall construction by 66 percent to 73 percent.

"When businesses face difficult challenges, the best answer is to find a way of doing things faster, better, and at lower cost," said Andy Claypole, president of ACCELERATED Building Technologies, LLC, which developed and markets the new system. "That's why these study results are so significant - they show contractors a new way to respond to today's challenges."

The study was conducted by R.S. Means, North America's leading supplier of construction cost information. It determined that contractors using the accel-E system could achieve potential labor savings of 49 percent, when compared to the typical 2 x 4 wood frame construction with batt insulation, often used in residential construction. In addition, a typical 10-day framing, sheathing and insulation process could be cut to just over three days using the accel-E system, which combines these processes into a single step.

The savings are even more dramatic when the accel-E system is compared to other wall construction methods commonly used in commercial and retail structures. For example, the labor savings when compared to conventional tilt-up commercial construction techniques are 85 percent, and the labor savings compared to concrete masonry unit (CMU) construction are 88 percent.

Equally important, the calendar time required to construct and insulate a representative wall structure was cut from 15 days using CMU construction to just 4 days using the accel-E STEP system.

"The study clearly shows that the accel-E wall panel system can help contractors reduce both the size and required skill levels of their on-site construction crews, while at the same time shortening the construction cycle," said Claypole.

The significant savings are made possible because the accel-E STEP wall system replaces traditional framing, insulation and sheathing components with strong, energy-efficient structural insulating panels. These panels are formed using a proprietary production technology, which fuses the steel framing components and expandable polystyrene (EPS) together to create lightweight, easy-to-handle panels.

Since the panels are designed specifically to each project's specifications, on-site waste and disposal costs are also cut, Claypole added. Window and door openings are precut for quick on-site installation. An open cavity on the panel's interior offers generous space for electrical and plumbing components.

These features provide additional savings, beyond those already demonstrated in the new study, Claypole said.

"Another significant benefit is the superior quality of accel-E panel construction, he said. "Since the rigid accel-E panels maintain their alignment indefinitely, general contractors and builders experience fewer construction defects and callbacks. That can be an important saving - especially during a down cycle in the business."

From an owner's perspective, the accel-E system also provides important long-term benefits, especially in reducing the building's heating and cooling costs due to the panels' superior energy efficiency. The panels are also environmentally friendly, sustainable and recyclable, which makes them a contributor to LEED® points - another key factor in today's energy-conscious design and construction industry.

"With so many advantages, we are finding tremendous interest in this innovative approach in the construction industry," Claypole concluded. The accel-E™ panels are produced in thicknesses of 5½ and 8 inches. Panels can be any height, limited only by the mode of transport. The materials used in the panels resist mold, mildew, termites and other insects.

ACCELERATED Building Technologies, LLC, was formed by two leading building materials manufacturers, combining the talent, resources and knowledge of Dietrich Metal Framing and NOVA Chemicals. The company draws on NOVA Chemicals' extensive experience in expandable polystyrene (EPS) technology, and the cold-formed steel framing expertise of Dietrich Metal Framing, a Worthington Industries Company. For more information, contact Andy Claypole, president, or Jeff Peskowitz, director of marketing, at 412-490-5037; or visit the company's Web site at http://www.accbt.com.

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