Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Three More Prefab Disruptors to Watch

For more than 2,000 years houses have been built right on the site where the family wanted to live. Sticks, steel and glass delivered first by hands pulling sleds, then moving up to horse pulled carts and finally to the lumber yards delivering materials to the jobsite. It is the only industry that hasn’t significantly changed in over 2 millennium.

Then prefabricated housing became popular with Sears delivering their now famous kit home people bought from the Sears catalog. Both the kits and the catalog have been long gone but prefab got a foothold. This led to the beginnings of both the manufactured and modular housing industry which are still strong and growing today. Well, maybe not so much for manufactured housing but it’s certainly true for modular.

Now other types of prefab construction have started to open the creaky door of housing and begun peeking in. Let me take that back. They’re not peeking in. They are busting down that door and throwing themselves full throttle into the modular and prefab arena.

These are not old guard modular folks adding something new to what they’ve always done. No, these are techies and ‘out of the box’ thinkers wanting to capture market share and prove they are the next great thing to hit housing.

They are the Disruptors!

Here are three more companies that have crashed through that door and have caught the attention of people in the modular and site built housing industry.

Unity Homes

“We have the potential to totally change the paradigm of home building. It’s possible to build HOMES THAT USE NO FOSSIL-FUELS, and are MORE AFFORDABLE. To build homes IN 30 DAYS that are around for 300 years. To build homes that easily EVOLVE AS YOUR LIFE UNFOLDS. We can build homes that do not have the defects that so many new homes do…homes that actually CHANGE THE QUALITY OF YOUR LIFE. And we can do it in a way that is MORE PREDICTABLE and LESS STRESSFUL…FOR ALL OF US.”  Tedd Benson, Founder of Unity Homes.

unity walls.jpg
These completed wall sections are soon going to be shipped to the job site from a Unity Homes factory. These same walls could just as easily be shipped to a modular home ‘Assembly Plant’ and combined with other prefab components.

Oldcastle SurePods

Using BIM and lean manufacturing technology, Oldcastle SurePods™ works with customers from design to installation to produce custom, ready-to-install bathroom pods for hotels, hospitals, military barracks and multi-unit residential projects. Replacing on-site bathroom construction, bathroom pods accelerate the construction timeline, improve overall quality and eliminate the punch list for the bathroom, the most problem-ridden part of a construction project.


View of the Oldcastle SurePod production line building bathroom pods. Soon you will see these types of bathroom built in a factory and shipped complete to a modular assembly plant. It’s coming sooner than you think.

From their website:
The Pacific Northwest understands what we do at Ichijo USA, which is why our expansion to Washington is such a natural fit.  The desire for modern design, art, cutting-edge technology and environmental respect meshes perfectly with our company values and the way we build our homes.  We are excited to now be able to share our years of experience, technology, and craftsmanship with you.

Our technology feels different.  It’s not what you would expect when you hear the words cutting-edge.  We’re not looking to add more touch-screens to your life.  We dig deeper to create homes that embrace form and function with technology at the core.  It’s technology that naturally enhances your home and life.

Since our founding, Ichijo has focused on using natural materials and providing a healthy living environment for our customers.  At many of our communities you can see this in our use of solar energy, in-floor radiant heating and sustainable building practices.  In short, we design our homes for maximum efficiency without sacrificing comfort and livability.

Being one of the largest builders in Japan has its benefits.  With over 100,000 homes built so far we’ve learned if we’re not able to find the exact materials we need, we don’t have to compromise, we make them.  Our cabinets, doors, windows and floor heating panels are all produced in our factories in The Philippines.  This means we control the building process from day one.  These components are all fabricated with care, to an exceptional level of quality, and the entire package is delivered direct to your home site.

Ichijo means “One, or first, road,” and that is how we build.  Our experience with technology and focus on craftsmanship creates sustainable homes that are energy efficient and artfully constructed.  One at a time.  It’s not just the “next thing”, it’s the right thing.


This Japanese housing company has already dipped their toe into the US housing market with their beautiful and technically savvy homes. If they reach their goals for the Northwest, look for them to move quickly to the East Coast where the product they build would also be readily accepted.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Coach, a very interesting group of companies this time.