The McDonough Difference

Since 1993, McDonough Structures has been the choice of consumers who place a premium on quality.  We serve the remodeling and new construction needs of clients in the greater Iowa City Area and beyond. 

We have evolved into a complete design-build company that offers a one stop destination for projects of any size by providing in-house design, project management, and construction services.  Our approach allows us to work closely with homeowners from concept to completion and places responsibility and accountability for all phases of a building project on one master builder. 

Building Science

Building Science is based on physics backed up by a wealth of data from field work and scientific experiments gathered over recent decades. The goal of building science is to understand how buildings "actually" work. Despite the best intentions of many people, confusion about how building systems actually work persists. The carpentry apprentice systems of the past have ceased to exist and construction materials have evolved and completely changed. Unfortunately in the contemporary construction industry good building science is often not understood or implemented. 

Experience and common sense show that basic carpentry misunderstandings can add up to very expensive problems in the future. What may seem like a quick cost cutting option can have brutal long term consequences. Over the years we have utilized our building science knowledge to fix a countless number of issues. Through education and experience we have learned how buildings actually work. 

Any structure is a highly integrated machine full of interrelated components working together to create a unified whole or a “system”. The design phase of a project must take all of these component parts into consideration and juggle them with cost and aesthetic considerations. This is where our system excels. By approaching design using the “whole house system” philosophy, the relationship of various parts to the whole is considered from the beginning and at each phase of the project. 

The unseen inner workings of the house and building envelope make the difference between a durable structure and one that is destined to fail. Many of the features we insist on using may be initially more expensive, they will actually save the homeowner money over time. This is the goal of value engineering and a whole house systems approach. 

The best book available on building science is Builder’s Guide to Cold Climates by Joseph Lstiburek. This is considered the bible for building science by many experts and is specifically written for the climate that exists in Iowa. Much of the information contained in this book is also available online in a series of articles and files at

 © 2014 McDonough Structures

340 Highland Ave., Iowa City, Iowa 52240      319.512.6491