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Idaho construction company looks to build the future with lifesize Legos

Posted at 7:48 PM, May 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-15 21:48:14-04

Painters are painting, electricians are wiring, and carpenters are building, but this isn't a typical construction site. At Guerdon Modular Buildings in Boise apartments, condos, even multi-story hotels are being built in a warehouse.

"Essentially when they leave here they are going to look like Legos," explained Troy Tiddens  VP of operations at Guerdon Modular Buildings. "They are going to be shipped to the site to be crane set and crane stacked into place."

This factory is the new Model T era assembly line of commercial construction where the end product gets shipped throughout the 12 western states and even into Canada.

Boise-based Guerdon employs more than 250 people right here in the Treasure Valley.

"We are able to bring jobs locally and keep jobs local but actually meet a need for our clients throughout the west for some of their construction challenges," said Tiddens.

Whether it's a hotel or an apartment building, they all start in the same place, at the floor.

Once the floor is complete, it moves over to electrical and plumbing.

"So typically in this situation, you are in a crawl space in a house or an apartment and you are crawling on your back trying to plumb this stuff in. These guys are ergonomically positioned and they can reach above their heads," said Paul Dille, marketing coordinator for Guerdon Modular Buildings.

While other parts of the house are being completed, a separate team is building the interior walls, and the roof is being placed on other modules, making the process incredibly efficient. 

Because it's being built in a warehouse, they don't have many of the safety concerns you would have on a typical job site. 

"We are building 4 and 5 story apartment building, but we are on a single floor application so all of the scaffolding, the fall protections, and the challenges you might see on a typical multi-family job site are essentially eliminated," explained Dille.

Once the module makes it way through the entire factory almost everything is complete.

"When you walk in we have floors, cabinets, countertops, the units are really ready to live in on the inside," said Dille.

Then they get shipped out across the U.S. Once the modules are on site they can set anywhere from 10 to 18 per day.

"People will leave in the morning and come back from work that night and see half of a building erected," said Dille.

The speed allows them to leave behind many of the pains of construction behind at the factory.

"Whether it's urban, inner city, closing roads, whatever it may be, we really minimize that impact to that neighborhood, that environment," said Tiddens.

The folks at Guerdon say they are pioneering a new way of doing things, and while they've been around for a while, they are finally starting to become the new normal in construction.

"We are pretty proud to show it off. We are pretty excited about what we do," said Tiddens.