Time-Saving Solutions

How GridMarX ensure quality control for a panelization business

Dec 12, 2022

Panel Systems, Inc. relies on Gold Bond eXP Sheathing with GridMarX installation guide marks for its panelized, light-gauge steel walls

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Panelized construction has been around for decades, but it has gained prominence as construction firms seek to control construction schedules that can easily be turned upside down by unpredictable weather and a tight labor market.

Virginia-based Panel Systems, Inc. uses exterior sheathing manufactured by Gold Bond Building Products, LLC, an affiliate company of National Gypsum Company, to create light-gauge, steel, exterior load-bearing, interior load-bearing and non-load-bearing, and shear walls for light commercial projects. Trusted service and technical support from National Gypsum makes it their go-to sheathing brand.

How do GridMarX® on eXP® Sheathing help Panel Systems, Inc.?

Founded in 1979, Panel Systems is a family-owned company that engineers, fabricates and installs wall panels in the Washington, DC metro area. The company provides panelized exterior walls for light commercial and large multifamily residential projects ranging from single-story structures to 11-story buildings, including midrise condos, dorms, hotels and retirement communities. Using panelized walls significantly cuts construction time. Jobs that would require a month to build the exterior superstructure can be done in three to four days with panelized walls built in the shop and delivered to the work site on a truck.

Many Panel Systems employees have been with the company for decades, bringing expertise and building relationships essential to the smooth completion of complex jobs. Building wall panels in a shop for delivery and installation on a work site requires precision and teamwork. GridMarX installation guide marks printed on Gold Bond® eXP® Sheathing provide essential quality control.

"Without the marks on the boards, many of the guys would just guess how far apart the fasteners need to be, and guessing means you don’t know if you’re getting adequate fastening. With the marks, our guys are able to hit the right spot in a straight line. It’s really our last step in quality control in the wall panel."

Michael Donovan

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Michael Donovan

PresidentPanel Systems, Inc.

Panel Systems uses ⅝-inch Gold Bond® eXP® Fire-Shield® Sheathing in its exterior wall panels, a product it has relied on for decades.

“It has performed great, and we haven’t had any manufacturing issues with it,” Donovan added. “The customer loves it too. The [Gold Bond] eXP product can last because of its exposure protection — it outperforms any other product that we’ve used.”


What is panelized construction?

Panelized construction moves the design and fabrication of walls, floors and ceilings from the work site to a climate-controlled factory. The panels are loaded on trucks and delivered just in time for installation.

Learn more about the differences between panelized, prefabricated and modular construction.

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What role did panelized construction play in the creation of a 6-story apartment building with a ground-floor grocery store?

One of Panel Systems’ latest projects in Alexandria, VA, is a massive undertaking: a six-story apartment building with a grocery store on the first floor. The company provides turnkey service from designing and fabricating the panels to trucking them to the work site and installing them.

Having an in-house trucking crew and a 25-person installation crew is essential to a smooth installation, Donovan said. “Many of our guys have been with us for 10, 20 years, and they can make decisions on-site that can be trusted.”

The company also welds the connections in its panels for a high-quality product that won’t flex. Panels range from 4 feet to 25 feet for this project in a variety of shapes as the walls jog in or out to create the aesthetic the architect desires. Panel Systems provided all exterior load-bearing and non-load-bearing walls, as well as interior load-bearing walls and the metal deck that sits on top of those walls. All told, Panel Systems provided 43,000 feet of walls — that’s roughly 475 wall panels per level — all with Gold Bond eXP Sheathing.

Panel Systems completed construction on the superstructure in fall 2022, just seven months after wall fabrication began.


What is the future of panelized construction?

Building toward 50 years in the panelized construction industry, Panel Systems, Inc. has been part of ongoing innovations that continue today. Donovan expects wall panels to become more complex as panelized construction and prefabrication expand into new types of projects.

National Gypsum Company provides technical expertise to help the panelized construction industry continue to innovate. Reach out to National Gypsum’s 1-800-NATIONAL® Construction Services team for advice and technical support on your next panelized construction project.