Image shows the construction of the Northgate Apartments off East McAndrews Road in Medford December 4, 2023 (Taylar Ansures/KOBI)

Medford construction company using new wildfire-resistant ‘Techpanels’

MEDFORD, Ore. – A local construction company is bringing new fire-resistant materials to the Rogue Valley to build homes and apartments.

It’s the first company in the state to use these brand new ‘Techpanels’.

Werner Constanza said his family was impacted by the Almeda Fire.

That’s why he’s so excited to help build fire-resistant homes in the Rogue Valley.

Constanza said, “we can potentially save a lot of homes and people’s lives.”

Medford-based Better Built Construction is finishing the first floor of a new home using brand new ‘Techpanels’.

The panels come pre-framed and insulated, making them more resistant to mold and fire than traditional construction.

Contractor Werner Constanza said the panels are already being used on homes in California, but he’s the first to bring them to Oregon.

Constanza said, “after the Almeda Fire, everybody started looking at ways that we can prevent another thing from happening, or if it does happen, what’s the minimal amount of damage we can have.”

The Techpanels do cost about one to two percent more than traditional construction.

But Constanza says the panels allow homes to be built faster, which will save the customer money in the long run.

“It feels amazing, there’s definitely a learning curve,” Constanza said, “we’re assembling Legos but with a lot bigger instructions and a lot heavier.”

Better Built Construction is also working on another project, the Medford Turning Point Program’s ‘Breath of Life’.

38 one and two bedroom units will be built using Techpanels for the development near South Medford High aimed at helping Almeda Fire survivors among others.

“We got several developers and investors actually wanting to look at it that are at the job site right now,” Constanza said, “they’re very interested in building other projects around with the same material.”

Constanza is excited to use this new technology to help the victims of wildfires get back on their feet.

He believes Techpanels will only grow in popularity, especially in places like the Rogue Valley, where wildfire resistance is becoming increasingly important.

“After so much hard work you put into it, countless meetings and everything like that that people don’t see on the back end. It’s good to realize and see it,” Constanza said, “that’s the amazing thing about construction, that you see your results.”

Constanza said the house they’re currently working on will be finished by next month.

Construction for the ‘Breath of Life’ project is expected to be finished next year.

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Former NBC5 News reporter Derek Strom is from Renton, Washington. He recently graduated from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communications at Washington State University with a degree in Broadcast News and a minor in Sports Management. He played in the drumline with the WSU marching band. These days, he plays the guitar and piano. Derek is a devoted fan of the Mariners, Seahawks, and Kraken.
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