Made to order: California company Plant Prefab installs duplex at Olympic Valley development in single afternoon |

Made to order: California company Plant Prefab installs duplex at Olympic Valley development in single afternoon

At a factory in Rialto, six rectangular modules weighing between 20,000 and 40,000 pounds each are loaded and secured to a trailer for a more than 450-mile trek north.

Upon arrival in Olympic Valley, the modules, which consist of living spaces like kitchens, bedrooms, and bathrooms, are then hoisted into the air by crane and pieced together by workers in a matter of hours to form two roughly 3,000-square-foot townhouses at the Palisades at Squaw Valley.

Following a historic winter, the completed construction of a duplex in Olympic Valley at this point of the year would be difficult if not nearly impossible, but through Plant Prefab’s process of prefabricating homes while other site work takes place, a unit can be erected by crews in just an afternoon’s worth of work.

“During a traditional build, work progresses in a linear fashion and inclement weather slows the construction progress,” said Steve Glenn, founder and CEO of Plant Prefab, which built and installed the duplex in Olympic Valley.

“Each delay raises the total cost and time spent on a project,” he said. “We build homes off-site, in an all-weather facility and in parallel to the site work making the process dramatically faster, less expensive, more reliable, and dramatically less susceptible to weather delays.”

The duplex, which was designed by San Francisco-based company sagemodern, consists of two townhouses, which have three bedrooms and three bathrooms each. The units were installed at the site on Palisades Circle off of Creeks End Court in a single afternoon on Tuesday, June 4, marking the first residences installed in the Truckee-Tahoe area by Plant Prefab. Post-installation work at the site includes seam stitching, electrical finish work and landscaping, which will continue during the next month.


The total time to design, construct and install units such as the townhouses, according to Plant Prefab, is on average 50% faster than traditional builds. The company is able to construct the modules that will later be fitted together to form homes in roughly one to three months.

“As we’re doing construction, site work is happening,” said Glenn. “In a traditional process you have to wait for all of the site work to be done, which is particularly problematic (in the Truckee-Tahoe area) because there can be weather delays. In a prefab process, like we do, you’re working in parallel.”

Aside from the ability to rapidly construct homes, Plant Prefab, which has had a design firm for 13 years and has been building prefabricated homes at its factory for three years, is the first prefabricated home factory in the nation dedicated to sustainable construction, materials, processes and operations.

“Our drywall contains among the highest recycled content that’s commercially available, so too with our insulation,” said Glenn. “Our paints and stains are no VOC (volatile organic compounds). We source low-energy light fixtures, low-flow water fixtures. We use, as much as we can, Forest Stewardship Council certified wood, which is a nonprofit that certifies that the wood is grown and harvested in a sustainable way.”

Completing work off-site, according to the company, also mitigates construction waste, carrying costs and neighborhood disruptions.

Currently, Plant Prefab said it is constructing three more homes in the Truckee-Tahoe area, which will be installed in the Martis Camp community.

The Palisades at Squaw Valley, located near the entrance to Olympic Valley, will be a small enclave of homes consisting of 30 townhouses, along with 33 other semi-custom homes and lots for residences. The townhouses in the community are the first to be finished aside from a model unit, and, according to the Palisades at Squaw Valley, were sold at prices between $926,000 and $975,000.

For more information on Plant Prefab, visit

Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at

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