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Home Building Innovations Working Overseas Could Benefit U.S.

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Off-Site Construction

Home Building Innovations Working Overseas Could Benefit U.S.


June 23, 2021
Factory
Photo: Ivan Traimak | stock.adobe.com

The housing crisis or the supply chain disruption are unique experiences to the U.S., but other countries have tackled the issues in ways uncommon here. U.S.-based real estate developer and consultant The Digit Group built a home in China within just seven minutes inside a factory, then it took less than one week to construct the home on site, says Forbes. The issue, according to The Digit Group’s CEO, is the off-site construction industry needs to industrialize the right way. He attributes Katerra’s failure to its focus on projects rather than components. 

Chicago-based development company Skender had two years of projects in the pipeline, but the banks pulled the funding overnight.

“Looking at these examples, we have to ask the hard questions now – the elephant is in the room,” Doherty said. “Is this viable? Design build accounts for 7% of construction in the US, we need to figure out how to industrialize our industry, and do it the right way.”

There’s a huge runway to learn from other industries and from other countries as this inflection point overshadows the industry in the US. Doherty sees examples happening in the US, such as DR Horton taking over the old Ross Perot factory in Plano, TX that housed his company Perot Systems.

Mike Ferrari serves as the founder and president of Ferrari Innovation Solutions, a global consulting group, and he identifies a couple barriers that make it difficult to reapply innovation from other countries or industries.

“Oftentimes, people don’t see the problem, they see symptoms and they don’t get to the right solution,” Ferrari said. “In a case like that, it’s about creating awareness of the problem definition. Then, it also could be that they know the problem, but don’t believe in the solution.”

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