Log and Timber Titan Shares Lessons Learned

Filed in Councils & Committees, Home Building by on July 26, 2017 0 Comments

New Hampshire home builder Bob Best is retiring after 30 years as director of manufacturing for Timberpeg, Real Log Homes and American Post and Beam: three successful U.S. manufacturing operations serving the log and timber industry, which he later helped to merge and incorporate.

Real Log Homes, part of WHS Homes, Inc. in Claremont, N.H., has been an active member of the Building Systems Councils at NAHB since 2006.

Among his career highlights, Best opened a Timberpeg plant located in Oregon, which was also one of the first timber frame plants in the country to have a Hundegger automated component and joinery sawing system. He also opened a plant in Claremont and was instrumental in designing the layout and operations processes.

Best was also a founding member of the Timber Frame Business Council, a nonprofit established in 1995 dedicated to strengthening the timber frame industry.

“It’s next to impossible to include all of the accomplishments and everything that Bob has done with and for our company and the industry,” said Joelle Taylor, marketing manager of WHS Homes and an NAHB member. “It goes without saying that Bob has been a key player in the continued success of our company and he will be greatly missed by all.”

Given his considerable experience in log and timber home building and systems manufacturing, we asked Best what he sees for the future in log, timber and building systems. He also shared some of the biggest lessons he’s learned.

What have you seen as the most positive developments to come about in the home building industry in general, or in log and timber specifically?
In general, the availability and use of eco-friendly building products. More use of high efficiency and net zero heating/cooling and lighting products. In the log and timber buildings, more use of engineered and building code-compliant structures.

What gives you hope for the future of the U.S. home building industry?
The building of more affordable housing and the need for more housing in some areas of the country that are growing.

What trends in the industry have you found most troubling?
Customers wanting and expecting an unreasonable timeline to build a custom house.

Where do you see building systems and log and timber homes heading in the future? How much of a role will they play?
In the future I think log and timber homes will be a smaller part of the housing industry and more modular will be built due to the quick turnaround for a completed house that most customers are wanting.

What is one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned in your career?
To expect a downturn in the economy and a housing slump every eight to 10 years.

Learn more about the NAHB Log and Timber Homes Council at loghomes.org.

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