Thursday, March 15, 2018

San Francisco's North Bay Seeing New Modular Factories Delivering Homes

In four hours Wednesday, a 1,300-square-foot house in Napa went from slab to completion.

No, it wasn’t an all-hands-to-hammer benefit workbee that put up the three-bedroom, two-bathroom home on Dealy Lane in hours instead of months. Instead, it was done by a California startup that’s part of a growing move into factory-built housing.

One of the firms building homes in a factory instead of onsite is Factory_OS which is ramping up this spring in a 275,000-square-foot factory on Vallejo’s Mare Island. That company already has orders for thousands of factory-built dwellings for Google and municipal housing authorities.

Napa-based Healthy Buildings USA has its much smaller factory turning out panels for installation at a 48-unit development under construction in the city.

The Napa home on Dealy Lane is the first in the North Bay for nearly 2-year-old Plant Prefab, which also last week installed over two days a custom 16-unit dormitory in Berkeley for educational farm and community center Urban Adamah. It is said to be the first prefabricated multifamily project in the East Bay city.

In the past year, Plant Prefab opened its own factory, secured $3.4 million in series A funding led by Obvious Ventures and shipped six other housing units throughout California. The 62,000-square-foot facility is located in Rialto, located midway between Los Angeles and Palm Springs.

The single-story Napa home was built there in three dwelling modules plus a roof unit. The sections were then shipped to a staging area near the construction site, where crews were finishing preparation of the foundation. With construction in the factory occurring concurrently with build-site preparation, the total time to get the home from dirt to dining room can be reduced by as much as half, and neighborhood disruption can be lessened, not to mention potential for less waste in construction materials, according to founder and CEO Steve Glenn.

CLICK HERE to read the entire North Bay Business Journal article

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