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Ottawa Panelized Solutions: A local answer to Ottawa’s housing crisis

Their pre-fabricated wall and floor systems create more housing in less time

Ottawa Panelized Solutions local build

How do you solve a housing crisis in the midst of a labour and lumber shortage, as well as an interest rate crisis?

Ask Marcello Panetta. He’s been using an assembly line approach to build prefabricated wall and flooring systems for townhouses and mid-rise buildings since 2018.

Panetta recently bought out his partners from Ottawa Building Solutions Inc., rebranding the company to Ottawa Panelized Solutions (OPS) in September of this year.  

Having built up a healthy roster of local and Toronto-area customers like Mattamy Homes, Minto, Marshall Homes, Ashcroft Homes, Olympia Homes and Phoenix Homes over the years, Panetta says OPS is already set up for success — especially since expanding its Chesterville facility into a 30,000 square foot manufacturing hub.

Some of their local work can be found in Barrhaven, Kanata and Cobourg. They’re also returning to the Mattamy Wateridge site in Ottawa’s east end. But Panetta knows he can do more. 

“Our process allows us to produce more with less labour,” he said. “And we build it more quickly using a safer process that creates less waste.”

How they do it

The OPS facility is a one-stop shop that runs on an assembly line system. The operation is driven by the company’s single-platform design and engineering software. 

“It’s all computerized,” said Panetta. “The designer uses specialized software to lead the process and his team provides quality control every step of the way.”

The build starts with their in-house designers, who use the developer’s architectural design to create their own 3D model. By using this process, there are far fewer issues with plumbing, mechanical and structure.

“Our designers work with the architect to address any issues, which takes about seven weeks,” said Panetta.

Once the design is approved, it’s sent to a specialized saw that labels every piece of lumber with precise measurements and locations. 

Panetta’s assembly-line workers then cut the lumber to size before sending it to their colleagues to assemble the pieces into a prefabricated wall or floor.

“We build the whole structure,” said Panetta, which includes porches, flat or sloped roofs, and floors. “No one in Ottawa is doing that.”

The software also allows clients and OPS to coordinate all aspects of the build.

The benefits of the OPS one-stop shop

The OPS assembly-line approach is faster, safer, and uses materials more efficiently.

The process requires 60 per cent less construction time than stick-built homes because building more quickly and efficiently reduces labour and carrying costs on taxes and interest.

Constructing components in the facility rather than on-site — which could be up to six-storeys — is safer for workers, and produces a product that is consistently square, has a tighter building envelope, eliminates the chances of a re-work, and will pass city inspections.

“The quality is far superior than what’s framed nowadays,” added Panetta.

Clients also save money because OPS uses less materials. The precise measurement of lumber means using 26 per cent less wood than stick-built homes. 

And, OPS provides an “all in” price that includes lumber and installation so budgets can be set up front.

There are also cost savings by having fewer garbage bins to clean up, and less labour to supervise the sites. Lumber theft is greatly reduced and the shorter build time also keeps other trades on your sites with very little down time.

OPS also works with a local recycler who grinds up off-cuts and sells the material to farmers for animal bedding and other uses. 

Delivery is handled by OPS’s seasoned logistics and shipping team through its reliable fleet of trucks and trailers. And all components are packed in the reverse order they’ll be needed to make on-site unloading and assembly efficient.

Finally, the company’s seasoned installer takes over on site — Panetta says he’s the best in the business, putting up 15,000 square feet every week.

All this means developers can focus on the exterior design while letting OPS handle the building envelope.

With Panetta’s experience and firm commitment to increasing the volume of what he produces, local developers will find a reliable partner in their effort to build the housing Ottawans need.