- A Minneapolis startup is hoping to build "urban-style" modular homes in developments left largely abandoned in the wake of the housing crash, the Star Tribune reported.
- Smart Homes broke ground on its first house last week and anticipates building 15 more for about 25% less than it would cost to build them via traditional construction methods and faster than usual on an accelerated 45-60 day schedule.
- The city has been trying to lure developers to build on almost 350 empty lots it owns, which were once the site of demolished foreclosed homes.
The homes are constructed in area manufacturer Dynamic Homes' factory and feature detached garages, customizable interior finishes, appliances and built-in smart home features. Smart Homes said it has paid attention to the styling of its models so that they fit in with the existing homes in the neighborhood. In addition, the company also said it also takes advantage of the "parallel construction" of building one part of the home in a factory while tasks like laying the foundation can be completed on site.
City officials said the Smart Homes plan could help solve their five-year problem of cleaning up the remnants of the housing crash.
Modular, or offsite construction, is becoming an increasingly viable option for a wide variety of structures, like warehouses and multistory apartments and hotels. According to the Modular Building Institute, modular construction today makes up about 3% of new commercial construction in North America, but it expects that number to increase to 5% over the next five years. Oklahoma is getting its first offsite-built hotel, Marriott-brand AC Hotel Bricktown, and the unverified industry buzz is that modular manufacturer Guerdon is gearing up to supply Marriott with up to 1,000 rooms a year.
Guerdon told Construction Dive in an interview earlier this month that offsite construction was becoming more attractive to green building advocates as the method creates less waste.