Residential Design

VOL.6 2018

A business-to-business magazine focused on the collaborative process and talented work of residential architects and custom homebuilders.

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Factory Man TEDD BENSON, BENSONWOOD WALPOLE, N.H. It's not often talked about, but one of the biggest hindrances to securing a custom home commission for architects and builders is the lengthy construc- tion timeline. It takes a long time to build a new house from the ground up, and not everyone is willing to wait the necessary two-plus years to see the process through. So, more often than not, buyers will settle for the "good enough" existing house, rather than suffer through the waiting period for their new custom dream home. Well, builder Tedd Benson has an answer for this problem, along with a host of other flaws in the way we deliver houses in this country: He calls it "montage," but most of us know it as prefabrication. Part of why he wants to distance himself and his companies—Ben- sonwood, Unity Homes, and the new spin-off Tektoniks—from the word prefab, and especially "modular," is the motley achievements done under those labels—despite, often, the best intentions. The terms have been loosely applied to a myriad of project delivery methods and buildings of dubious qual- ity and performance. His companies are focused on continual process improve- ment—on reaching toward the future of homebuilding science and construction and on creating the best, controlled work environment for his company's 125 employees. To that end, Benson- wood opened a new, 110,000-square-foot factory in Keene, New Hampshire, this past spring. It's equipped with state-of- the-art precision machinery from Europe with the capacity to process mass timber components, in addition to its regular suite of products. Although he's fully embraced the newest technologies in home construc- tion, Tedd got his start resurrecting one of the oldest building methods in the country—timber frame construction. He fell in love with its beauty, intrica- cy, and durability while working as a custom builder in New England in the 1970s. There, he had the opportunity to remodel existing timber frame build- ings and marvel at their great condition centuries after they were built. That led him to build new houses with timber framing and to share his learnings with other enthusiasts. He literally wrote the "We have incredible flexibility in what we can build and what we can contribute to a project." —Tedd Benson Photo: Heather Holloway This page: Tedd Benson, founder and CEO of Bensonwood, Unity Homes, and Tektoniks. A glimpse of activity on the factory floor at Bensonwood's Keene, N.H., building systems production facility. 18 RESIDENTIALDESIGNMAGA ZINE.COM VOL. 6, 2018 PRO-FILE BUILD

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