If you can’t find it, create it.
Many different companies have made efforts to find the “Holy Grail” of sustainable and globally reasonable architecture, construction, operation and maintenance. This Holy Grail is a building or a community that is less expensive and faster to build, more attractive and durable, which provides the highest levels of energy efficiency, resource conservation, human comfort and social responsibility. HBTG believes that it has created this Holy Grail, for affordable, sustainable housing, communities, and relocatable classrooms. This creation was thirty years in the making. In 1981 Bob Massaro and Jon Massaro started one of the first Design-Build firms in Los Angeles. This firm, Massaro Associates, morphed over the years until it gave way to Healthy Buildings USA in 1999 and now, HBTG in 2011.
Thirty years of invaluable experience.
The related experience of Bob and Jon Massaro range from the first Exxon award for Green Home design in 1978 (Jon Massaro); building several high-profile modular building projects in the L.A. basin during the 1980s; the fabrication of two panelized homes in 1985, their transportation to and erection in Sri Lanka in 1985; designing and building the first “healthy home” in Los Angeles in 1988; numerous steel-structure based homes in the Hollywood Hills; creating several complex, rapid-construction projects for the movie studios during the 1990s (six movies); the first steel panelized, healthy home in Northern California (Pine Street, Napa, 1999); the first steel panelized multi-family, green and healthy project in Northern California (Valley Oak Villas, Napa - forty-five units), recognized as one of the best green neighborhoods in the S.F. Bay area; the first green school in the wine county in the early 2000s (Sunrise Montessori, Napa); the first steel panelized commercial building in the wine county in 2001 (Presbytery of the Redwoods, Napa), and the first LEED GOLD, steel panelized student dormitory (Culinary Inst of America, St. Helena, CA)
Since 2001, Massaro has contracted with four different steel panelization companies for different projects, and opened and operated a thirty employee panelization facility in Placerville CA, to panelize the Valley Oaks project. There have also been over one hundred and twenty-five other projects completed by Bob since the creation of Massaro Associates in 1981.
With this experience came lessons.
When Massaro first constructed a project with light gauge steel (now called cold formed steel or CFS), no specialized tools or technologies existed specifically for this type of construction. Massaro and his team adapted other tools, and other technologies, for CFS. One lesson learned was that it is not easy to make the jump from wood construction to steel, as Massaro did in 1999. Where no Architectural technologies existed, Healthy Buildings created panelization formats on AutoCad and Sketch-Up to bring sophisticated design technologies to the factory level. An integrated design approach, which implies a very close relationship between the design/engineering team and the fabrication/construction team, is vital to a successful project. The Massaros learned this early on with their first Design/Build firm in 1981.
From Massaro’s 20-plus years of experience with modular construction and building with steel many lessons were learned, and innovative solutions were discovered, specifically:
The most important lesson is one that is not new, but remains paramount. The design stage is key. All great projects begin with great, integrated design. Great design will save mediocre construction but great construction cannot save poor design. A truly social and environmentally responsible result is achieved only when one combines great design with great construction!