Blokable’s plug-and-play home
Feb 26, 2017
Prefabricated housing isn’t new. Boomtowns — towns where workers moved in droves for jobs, often around natural resource extraction — often deployed such homes so they could be set up or demolished quickly.
And shipping containers, as mentioned earlier, have become popular ways to build units quickly. The Columbus Dispatch reported just last month that a 25-unit apartment complex was built from 54 steel containers in Columbus, Ohio.
Jean-Pierre Veillet, an adviser for Blokable and owner of Siteworks, a construction firm in Portland, said he sees developers looking to Bloks more for the speed in which they can be deployed.
“If you had something that was repeatable and pre-engineered so that you could execute quickly, that would greatly increase,” the entire process, he said, adding that longer construction times mean higher expenses.
He compared the idea to a larger-scale version of IKEA furniture: a dwelling that can be pieced together quickly and easily.
When asked why he thought modular housing in general would be welcomed by developers, Holm pointed to a pair of studies he hoped to upend.
One study says construction, unlike just about any other sector, has not become more productive with greater automation. Manufacturing productivity, for example, has doubled in the past two decades.
“Nothing has changed. Construction is labor-constrained, it’s materials-constrained,” he said.
The other study said that by 2025, there will be 1.6 billion urban dwellers in the world who live in substandard housing.
“I’m not worried about demand. The demand is out there. Our job is to make it so that they’re easy to buy and that we can meet them at the volume people are asking for,” he said.