Modular, offsite, whatever you call it, the homebuilding method offers a solution to current leading industry problems: labor shortages and housing affordability. Modular companies across the globe are tackling ways to cut down on building costs, provide a viable solution to the shortage of talent/labor, and maintain housing affordability.
In this project tracker page, we're collecting the latest news in the modular-sphere and sharing it with you. Expect regular updates of the page. And for all your offsite construction news, read it here on Utopia.
Lennar, Mastry Ventures make multi-million dollar investment in net-zero prefab homes (BDCnetwork, Quinn Purcell) — July 6, 2023
"Investment firm Mastry Ventures and LENx, the venture arm of homebuilder Lennar, have co-invested in Vessel Technologies’ next-generation housing product. Vessel, a housing product development company, aims to cultivate a pathway to creating attainable housing across the country. The company’s housing system is focused on 'reimagining the apartment building as a consumer product by creating exciting, sustainable, and user-centric housing at attainable prices,' according to Vessel.
This is done by prefabricating wall and ceiling components in Vessel’s own manufacturing facility—cutting costs and time compared to traditional construction methods. The Vessel system is 100% electric; solar panels affixed to the rooftop deliver all of the power required for occupants. With the company’s aim for sustainability, Vessel uses no paint and instead utilizes a proprietary recyclable wall panel system. According to Vessel, its facade system is also twice as energy efficient as built-to-code alternatives."
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Finnish company Admares plans $750 million modular housing factory in US, hiring 1,400 (ADMARES, AP News) — May 31, 2023
"Finnish company Admares plans to invest $750 million to build a modular housing factory in the U.S. state of Georgia, hiring 1,400 people, officials announced Wednesday. The company plans to mass produce housing using heavily automated factories. Admares, which was founded in Turku, Finland, said it’s in the process of relocating its headquarters to the United States.
The company said its factory in Waycross will be 2.5 million square feet (232,000 square meters), with production starting in late 2025. The company says it plans to build six such factories worldwide, each of which would produce 5,000 to 6,000 homes per year."
Entekra Closes Its Mega Offsite Factory Doors (Modular Homes, Gary Fleisher) — April 25, 2023
"Entekra, a leading off-site construction technology company, has announced that it will be ceasing its operations within the next 60 days. According to a statement released by the company, the decision to shut down was made after a careful review of the company’s financial performance over the past year. The company had struggled to maintain profitability, despite having secured several large contracts and partnerships with major players in the construction industry.
One of the key factors that may have contributed to Entekra’s difficulties is the relatively slow adoption of off-site construction methods in the United States, where the company was based. The company has not yet announced what will happen to its existing contracts and partnerships, or what will become of its intellectual property and technology."
NAHB Recognizes Liv-Connected With Off-Site Building Award (Liv-Connected) — January 31, 2023
"Liv-Connected’s Conexus Home was named an Entry of Distinction: Modular Home (Less than 2,000 sq. ft.) by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The Home Design category spans a number of building systems, including log, timber, panelized and modular. It also recognizes multifamily and commercial projects.
The Conexus Home by Liv-Connected is built with cartridges and flat-pack components that standardize the processes of manufacturing and shipping, while allowing for the pieces to be assembled in a multitude of configurations. Conexus home modules are shipped flat-packed on a single flat-bed truck trailer. Once the home arrives on site, Liv-Connected’s installation team can get to work installing the home, or work with a homeowner’s chosen contractor."
Business Insider breaks Cloud Apartments’ News re: backing from a 25-year VC veteran (Kelsey Neubauer, Business Insider) — January 9, 2023
"In 2021, against a backdrop of skyrocketing rents, Curtis Wong founded Cloud Apartments, a rental development company that uses modular-construction processes more often associated with single-family housing. Cloud's partner factories, such as the modular builder Autovol, will manufacture units in an assembly-line fashion with raw materials and ship the products to the building sites. Once that is done, a team of engineers and construction experts will assemble the units into a high-rise apartment building.
The business has captured the interest of venture capitalists including Tim Connors, a former Sequoia investor and 25-year venture-capital veteran who led a $3 million funding round that closed earlier this year. Wong said Cloud, which is based in the Bay Area, would use the funds to hire additional engineers, construction experts, and designers."
Module Launches Training Program for Building Modular Homes (Quinn Purcell, Utopia) — September 15, 2022
"Pittsburgh-based homebuilding startup Module is among a cohort of housing entrepreneurs focused on making homes and communities more affordable, accessible, and sustainable. Partnering with Terner Housing Innovation Labs (Terner Labs), Module aims to test new building products and installation methods for the modular housing industry while training others on the ins and outs of building modular homes.
Specifically, Module wants to increase access to construction jobs by focusing on job accessibility for women and minorities. The training program, in collaboration with the Trade Institute of Pittsburgh (TIP), currently has five individuals going through the program."
Marketing Industrialized Construction to Consumers (Stacey Freed, Pro Builder) — June 9, 2022
"From July 2019 through July 2020, Rise, a website for consumers and professionals that provides information about sustainable building practices and sells sustainable products, tapped into internet and social media conversations among consumers about off-site home construction. The bulk of that chatter focused on the sustainability and affordability aspects that off-site methods promise, but also on improved durability and reduced build time. And “prefab” emerged as the preferred term for that building method among consumers.
The data Rise collected backs up what many in the residential construction industry are slowly realizing: Homebuyers have a sincere interest in, a baseline knowledge of, and a curiosity about—and far less bias against—homes built mostly or entirely in a factory. Responding to such insights and understanding how to properly market and communicate prefab to consumers is necessary if industrialized construction (IC), including all forms of panelized and modular methods (excluding HUD-code units), expects to grow beyond its current 3% share of new single-family homes completed in 2020, the latest data available from the U.S. Census Bureau."