The Pre-Fab Building Boom

Comments Off on The Pre-Fab Building Boom
The Pre-Fab Building Boom

To meet the housing needs of emerging consumer societies without stripping the world of natural resources, pre-fabricated housing will play a big role. It's already being used in everything from emergency shelters in Burma, to low-cost housing in the U.S., to facilities for the 2012 London Olympics.

As Wired1 magazine reports, one of the world's leading manufacturers of pre-fab buildings is Britco, in Canada. Britco makes houses on an assembly line with 23 stations. Each year, the company produces and delivers 600 buildings including houses, banks, classrooms, barracks, and even McDonald's restaurants.

By building the structures in a central location, with all of the construction workers, plumbers, and electricians on-site, the company can offer homes that meet the buyers' local building codes, yet take less time and cost less money to build.

While most pre-fab housing is built as cheap, temporary shelters, such as the dormitories that workers live in for several months while working in oil fields, there is also a growing
demand for stylish houses that are designed by leading architects but fabricated in a factory.

One example is the Glidehouse, designed by San Francisco architect Michelle Kaufmann, who worked for Frank Gehry and Michael Graves for several years. It is an energy-efficient house with a glass front wall, metal sidewalls, bamboo floors, and sliding doors to hide the home's storage areas.

Britco produces Glidehouses in 24 days. Buyers pay $210,000 for the house, plus roughly $100,000 more for delivery, foundation preparation, and permits. So far, Kauffman has sold and installed 10 Glidehouses on the West Coast, with orders for 55 more.

Among the other architects at the forefront of this trend are:

  • Alchemy Architects in St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Michael Graves of Lindal Cedar Homes in Seattle
  • Ray Kappe in Los Angeles
  • Charlie Lazor of FlatPak in Minneapolis
  • Marmol Radziner & Associates in Los Angeles
  • Joseph Tanney and Robert Luntz of Resolution 4: Architecture in New York, New York
  • Rocio Romero in Perryville, Missouri
  • Jennifer Siegal in Los Angeles

Since pre-fab buildings are constructed inside factories, there are no delays or destruction caused by weather. The workers and tradesmen work at the central site on one house after another, so there are no delays because of missed appointments by contractors...

To continue reading, become a paid subscriber for full access.
Already a Trends Magazine subscriber? Login for full access now.

Subscribe for as low as $195/year

  • Get 12 months of Trends that will impact your business and your life
  • Gain access to the entire Trends Research Library
  • Optional Trends monthly CDs in addition to your On-Line access
  • Receive our exclusive "Trends Investor Forecast 2015" as a free online gift
  • If you do not like what you see, you can cancel anytime and receive a 100% full refund