Monday, June 18, 2018

Blokable Does a Smart 180

Doing a 180 just before ramping up production for the first time usually means that something went wrong but in Blokable’s case, something is going right.

When costs for their steel framed modular units, built in their Vancouver factory, broke the $200 and kept climbing co-founder Aaron Holm said, “All the costs were getting padded and we were like ‘You know what? Forget it. We’re going to deliver the entire thing,”

Blokable had planned to sell bloks to private housing developers, who would then configure and install them.

The new plan targets nonprofits and market-rate developers as customers. These customers won’t need to hire a general contractor to prepare the site and assemble the bloks.

One of the first projects is a partnership with the King County-based nonprofit Compass Housing Alliance to build up to 80 units on a church property in Edmonds.

If the city permits the project, Blokable could contract with a firm to install infrastructure. Then it will truck its modular units from Vancouver to the suburban Seattle site for installation. Janet Pope, CEO for Compass Housing Alliance, said the speed and cost savings are significant improvements over past projects.

Bloks will come with built-in sensors that could quickly alert landlords to fires and even mold. Hi-tech built-in software could help social services caseworkers better communicate with tenants who need regular care.

Blokable’s homes could provide stability to underserved populations.

Doing a 180 is not always a good thing but I think the folks at Blokable have not only taken a good 180, it looks like they are getting ready to put the “pedal to the metal” by helping nonprofits and market-rate developers put more people into houses faster than has ever been done before.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sorry coach, but I do not see how building piles of inventory just to get ahead of material costs increases WITHOUT actual sales is a good thing. I foresee heavy discounts and quick depletion of cash to finance inventory. This may help nonprofits and market rate developers snag deals, but not a very viable business model for Blokable. Additionally, nonprofits and market-rate developers have much more red-tape requirements than private housing developers to slow the process even more.

Truly "Field of Dreams" thinking - "If you build it, they will come."

Bye-bye, Blokable.