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Keilhofer: Three Generations of Bavarian Timber Builders

  • Kategorie: Products, General

05. September 2017 | Passionate about building with wood for 100 years

The story of the Keilhofer family enterprise began back in 1922. That was when the grandfather of Hans Keilhofer, who is now the firm’s senior managing director, founded a carpentry shop in Zwiesel in eastern Bavaria. Today some of his great-grandchildren already have management roles.

Hans Keilhofer has been at the company’s helm since 1973. When he first took charge, he had exactly three employees. His challenge was to win contracts to build roofs, but it was rough going due to downward pressure on prices in the market. To ensure the firm’s survival, in the mid-1970s he decided to realign its business and move to a new facility in Zwiesel. He also began erecting entire turnkey houses for private clients. Over time, this activity became the core of Keilhofer’s portfolfio. Initially the company built only all-timber houses, but soon it also added one of the most popular construction styles in Bavaria, in which the ground floor consists of stone masonry and the upper storey is built of wood.

Since then, the company has acquired an excellent reputation across a huge swath of territory extending from Munich all the way to Stuttgart. Its strengths include highly precise execution with great attention to detail, excellent advice and first-rate customer service. In a nutshell, Keilhofer is all about quality. The company is very proud of its customer satisfaction index, which has consistently topped 99% over the past 40 years. Keilhofer’s clients receive a construction time guarantee, a guaranteed fixed price and a five-year warranty that complies with the German Civil Code: all benefits that customers genuinely appreciate. Today Keilhofer wins most of its new contracts on the basis of personal recommendations.

First Licensee with Its Own Model Homes

Keilhofer built its first model homes in Munich and near Stuttgart back in 1977. Its sales force is directly involved: trained field specialists advise clients and perform preliminary planning in the German states of Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg. Because of the guarantees that Keilhofer provides, it only builds turnkey houses within this region. The Keilhofer model home in the Home and Garden exhibition in Stuttgart’s Fellbach borough is only one of more than 60 different models that are available. Featuring some 160sqm of living space, it illustrates the benefits and properties of hybrid masonry-and-timber buildings. Keilhofer is currently also exhibiting a massive timber version in the Home and Garden exhibition in Munich’s Poing district.

New Visions and Goals with SWISS KRONO MAGNUMBOARD® OSB

Hans Keilhofer’s son Joseph, a master mason and concrete builder, has joined him in the firm’s top management. His daughter, Marion Keilhofer-Aichele, works as an authorised company representative. The next generation is thus already firmly integrated in the family business, which will help ensure its future independence.

The idea of collaborating with SWISS KRONO was born several years ago when Hans Keilhofer saw the system at a trade fair and was immediately attracted to it. “It gave me an epiphany: a vision of extending our focus on relatively high-priced turnkey homes and also offering slightly less expensive, eco-friendly, customisable prefabricated modular timber houses that would let self-builders do much of the interior finishing themselves,” he says. “This way we could address a whole new customer group, possibly even outside our traditional territory. We’re thinking of young families interested in a sustainable lifestyle.”

Hans and Joseph Keilhofer then met with Harald Sauter, a master carpenter and application technician at SWISS KRONO, to explore partnering possibilities. One thing led to another, and at BAU in January 2017 Uwe Jöst, Managing Director of SWISS KRONO GmbH, presented a certificate to Keilhofer licensing it to produce SWISS KRONO MAGNUMBOARD® OSB modules.

Keilhofer will mainly use SWISS KRONO MAGNUMBOARD® OSB for assembling building carcasses for finishing by the owner. This contrasts with its turnkey homes and is also an alternative to glulam. These “modular homes” made from SWISS KRONO MAGNUMBOARD® OSB will specifically target the wishes and needs of young families in respect of costs, a healthy living environment and environmental friendliness. Keilhofer will also supply prefabricated modules made with SWISS KRONO MAGNUMBOARD® OSB to other timber construction firms.

This massive timber construction system is ideal for Keilhofer’s future portfolio. The firm has therefore already spent the last three years investing heavily in equipment for prefabricating timber modules. SWISS KRONO MAGNUMBOARD® OSB enables fast construction, overcomes the common constraint of having to follow a predetermined grid and lends itself for both complete turnkey solutions and hybrid construction. And it fits perfectly to the firm’s strengths, namely versatility and a command of multiple construction methods that is grounded in hands-on experience.

A Modern Family-Run Enterprise with Its Own Model Homes

Today Keilhofer employs 60 staff, some of whom have been with the firm for many years. The firm completes between 25 and 30 projects a year, predominantly fairly pricy single-family detached homes that are assembled for self-builders by the company’s own teams. Keilhofer’s impressive headquarters in Zwiesel contains a remarkable exhibition of a large array of building techniques, roofs, doors, tiles and interior finishing styles. The SWISS KRONO MAGNUMBOARD® OSB massive timber construction system is displayed there alongside brick and glulam.

State-of-the-art CNC machines are used to make modules exactly as specified and required by self-builders. Soon Keilhofer will have accumulated a hundred years of experience with wood and wood-based materials and look back on more than 40 years erecting turnkey houses. This has generated a truly amazing level of skill and competence, which it can also apply to the new machinery.

In addition to its construction business, Keilhofer also operates a biomass-fuelled heating plant and wind energy plants.

More information on the firm is available here:

The impressive corporate headquarters of Keilhofer GmbH in Zwiesel Presentation of the licensing certificate at BAU 2017: Hans and Joseph Keilhofer of Keilhofer GmbH and Uwe Jöst, Managing Director of SWISS KRONO GmbH (from left to right) Harald Sauter (right, master carpenter and application technician at SWISS KRONO) explains the possibilities for directly finishing SWISS KRONO MAGNUMBOARD® OSB in building interiors to Hans Keilhofer (left) Presentation of SWISS KRONO MAGNUMBOARD® OSB at Keilhofer in Zwiesel
A huge range of materials can be looked at and touched in an exhibition at Keilhofer Presentation of various products for every part of houses An impressive timber roof construction and a stairway in Keilhofer’s exhibition in Zwiesel One of Keilhofer’s reference projects in Zwiesel
Another of Keilhofer’s reference projects in Zwiesel Yet another reference project in Zwiesel A model home in Fellbach

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