Saturday, July 27, 2019

Factory OS Expands as Demand for Modular Skyrockets on West Coast

317 completed housing units are ready for delivery at Mare Island’s Factory OS, a modular housing plant that opened in early 2018. Orders like this are becoming more commonplace for this factory where workers assemble the units into modules with walls, fixtures, floors — nearly every detail — constructed on an assembly line at the Vallejo factory

The modules will soon be trucked on flatbeds to three East Bay sites, two in West Oakland and one in Emeryville, where workers will stack them and add the final touches, such as a roof and stairs, and connect the units to city plumbing and electrical systems.

How many of you noticed the modules will be shipped on flatbed trailers rather than the way most modular home factories ship their units?

Now, Factory OS is expanding beyond its original 265,000-square-foot plant. It plans to open a new factory early next year at a nearby 107,000-square-foot warehouse. Financial services giant Citi and software maker Autodesk are investing an undisclosed amount into the company, which will help fund the new plant.

Demand for modular construction has far exceeded expectations, said Factory OS Chief Operating Officer Larry Pace. The company gets roughly 30 calls a week from potential customers, he said, adding that developers representing 40,000 units have approached the company. Google, for example, has ordered 300 units for its workers in Mountain View.

If there is this much pent up demand for modular construction on the West Coast one has to ask why it hasn’t spawned Factory OS-like operations on the East Coast. With Amazon ready to begin construction of H2 in the DC area you would think that a large portion of those 25,000 new employees will need housing.

Factory OS is approaching its maximum output of 1,000 modules a year, which could translate into 2,000 studios, 1,500 one-bedrooms or 1,000 two-bedrooms with almost all of them rentals that could be converted to ownership units quite easily.


Anonymous said...

Smaller boxes mass produced for hybrid completion on site - East Coast factories and builders not yet ready to adopt this concept.

Anonymous said...

I beg to differ w/ comment above. VCB recently acquired the old RC plant in NC just for the purpose of cranking out repetitive product for MF projects. It is happening now, albeit slowly. Ultimately, $ will drive necessity. East Coast developers w/ deep pockets will drive demand.