Getting new houses built is becoming more of a challenge. Housing inventories are now resting at new lows.
Median home prices are on the rise while starter homes are on the decline. To compound that, there’s a growing shortage of construction labor, which is making it harder to meet demand for new homes.
But, as proposed for many sectors facing labor shortages, automation could help ramp up production. New capabilities in factory-produced, modularly assembled buildings may also change the way we build.
Image Source: Bloomberg
Homes Built Far From Their Location
Unlike traditional construction methods, modular construction elements are manufactured far from the building site.
At a factory, homes and other buildings are partitioned into sections—that can be as complete as tiled bathrooms and high-end kitchens—and are put together through an automated manufacturing and assembly process.
The sections are then placed on the back of truck to be transported to the building’s final location. They’re then put together in a fraction of the time it would take to construct a conventional home.
The approach isn’t just limited to residential, single-family structures either; Marriott and other hotel chains have also used modular building system methods for some of their properties—complete with televisions and beds packaged with hotel rooms.
A Tidy Answer To Labor And Inventory Shortages
While pre-fabricated homes have been around since the 1980s, today’s technology allows for even larger, more complex, and customizable modular elements that could make them more attractive for new homebuyers, as well as corporate and residential developers.
The advantages from the reduced turnaround time—in just weeks or even days, a plot of land can have a complete, move-in ready home built on it—and by-design savings in cost and labor could be a tidy answer to inventory and labor shortages.
Image Source: Bloomberg
A Robot And Human Workforce Ready To Build
Employees can be quickly trained to build only specific housing elements in a matter of weeks, and work alongside many of the robots that help create pieces as well.
This means a competent workforce could be ready to start building in much less time than it would take to train a builder to work on various types of construction. Other automated machinery also has a role to play in the loading and unloading of building segments, making the process efficient and organized.
Will this approach become a new norm for the next generation of America’s homes and businesses?