modular construction

Prefabricated, Green and Smart

How Changes to the Way We Build Houses Are Affecting the Real Estate Market

Homes and commercial properties have been built the same way for decades. Materials are delivered to a site, construction crews build the home in phases until complete, and most of those homes come equipped with very basic climate control mechanisms and appliances. That is about to change. The days of traditional site-built homes could be numbered because of two new housing concepts that are disrupting the entire construction industry: smart-home technology and factory-engineered precision construction.

The smart-home revolution is developing at warp speed. Statistics show that 65 percent of home-buyers are more likely to buy a smart-home certified home than one that isn’t smart – meaning a home equipped with at least three smart-home technology devices (i.e. climate control, security features and general appliances). The real estate industry has really kept their eye on this trend, as they understand the advantages of these homes and how the technology attracts buyers. For example, real-estate agent and our partner, Coldwell Banker ABR understands how to market and sell smart homes and has quickly adapted their marketing techniques to highlight these advantages to residential and commercial buyers. Disrupting the status quo of the industry, smart-home technology is proving to bring massive savings for home buyers that may sometimes even result in additional earned income for the buyers themselves.

In addition to smart-home technology, the real estate market is experiencing another significant technological shift. Building homes on-site means exposure to extreme weather conditions that can damage building materials, reduce build quality and lengthen construction timelines, which is why a growing number of people are turning toward prefabricated homes (also known as modular or factory-engineered). This method of construction, which is the process of building structures in a factory in small, modular segments that are later assembled onsite, is increasingly in popularity for its seamless production method. Factory-engineered buildings are known for their rapid production, high-quality and efficient construction style, all at an affordable cost. The result is that leading industry professionals propose them as a great alternative to site-built properties, especially for a variety of housing crises like affordable housing and housing shortages resulting from natural disasters.

Our over 30 years of experience helped us recognize these trends and adapt accordingly. In 2017 we decided to launch our modular concept S2A Modular. With S2A Modular, we are creating the first ever electrically self-sustaining green luxury home. These, as we like to call them, #GreenLuxHomes meet all expectations and requirements of a smart-home certified purchase, but we are taking this a step further, bringing a unique innovation to the growing trend by building out this niche in the modular home industry. This allows smart-home technologies and prefabricated commercial and residential real estate to come together and help each other grow. By carving out a new market and shattering the preconceived paradigm of modular homes we are bringing luxury, customization on sustainability to the masses.

S2A Modular
Credit: S2A Modular

But what is the key to success to factory-engineered projects and smart, green homes? Why do we think that sustainable, prefabricated smart-homes could dominating the market? Well, the efficiencies associated with sustainable smart-homes provide numerous benefits for homebuyers and small-to-large businesses alike. Although the same materials and labors are essentially used in production of both site-built and modular homes, the multitude of factory efficiencies save the homebuyer anywhere between five and fifteen percent in costs of the structure.

The new wave of prefabricated building not only affects residential buildings. World-class hotels and full-scale commercial properties are also adopting this style of construction, making them more cost-effective, efficient and sustainable. These turnkey solutions allow corporations big and small to develop their projects fast with a turnaround times as short as just three months. Modular production eradicates cost-efficiency challenges associated with traditional “brick and mortar” construction, removing the need for multiple partners, vendors and long timelines (which increases cost – since time is money).

At S2A Modular we keep everything under one roof in our 100,000-plus square foot “MegaFactory.” We feel that building custom homes in a controlled environment is the future of building. The MegaFactory manufacturing center allows all the same work to be completed in dedicated, climate-controlled work pods creating a perfect controlled environment for precision construction.  These conditions help elevate quality in addition to increase speed of production. And in this case, faster construction means bigger savings for homebuyers and commercial property owners.

It can also mean a lot in terms of waste reduction. In these controlled environments, it’s much easier to plan for materials accurately by only buying the materials needed, reducing large amounts of excess and unusable materials often found on job sites.

However, the concept of reducing waste goes much further than tangible materials. Due to the high-quality appliances and insulation of these homes, homebuyers can actually reduce waste in the forms of running air conditioning, heating and other appliances. Also, modular homes/commercial properties like ours are equipped with climate-controlled insulation and smart-home technology that allows you to control these factors all from a simple app on your phone, meaning less energy consumption total and increased savings for the homeowner. Buildings can also adopt energy storage technology like the Tesla Powerwall. Paired with solar this can create significant cost reductions and possibly eliminating energy bills.

Although general labor and production materials still cost relatively the same as a site-built home, the savings achieved from factory construction can ultimately results in easier financing. The homes cost less per square foot, which in turn allows the homebuyer to qualify for lower-cost financing when building the structure. Plus, rather than incurring interest for twelve months waiting for a custom, site-built home, modular properties only take three months to build and can be installed in less than 30 days.  This reduces the number of interest payments that need to be made, creating huge savings for both individual home owners and developers of a large subdivision of homes or commercial properties like hotels and businesses.

2018 was a big year for modular construction and seems to have paved the way for what will likely be another year of growth. We predict that the next few years will be a catalyst of change. As the smart home and modular construction industries grow closer together the synergies will increase the adoption of both.

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Propmodo is a global multimedia effort to explore how emerging technologies affect our built environment.

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