The Next Path In The Housing Revolution

Dated: 04/30/2018

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Shortages in trade labor and housing systems becoming more complex will demand different process.

The current process of today stick building of homes is broken, the demands of the technology revolutions are changing the landscape of the modern home as consumers want their homes integrated to their smart phones and home devises. I have too, finding the convince to Geo locate my home to my I phone and have the temperature set automatically when I leave and before I return home. Engineered homes is just starting and our imagination to integrate technology knows no bounds. LED lighting is already changing out thought process, Cree, Inc introduced LED bulbs that started a lighting revolution in the US, but just think of your whole ceiling though out your home as a single system, Light how you want the color you desire and where you want from your phone or a control panel, it’s limitless. Another example; think of a solid wall, once energized it becomes clear as glass and these examples are already happening.  At the Center for Design Research at the Virginia Tech School of Architecture and Design, the next generation of architects are creating cutting edge solution with Solar Decathlon housing prototype, made up of plug-and-play cartridges.

Teams are focusing on prefabrication because they believe that’s where the future is headed, remember ‘Ty Pennington’ Extreme Makeover show on ABC.  As housing faces a shortage of trade labor and as homes become more sophisticated with technology, CAD designs and factory construction will be the best way to integrate systems and ensure quality with fewer trades. What we will look of in the future, Solid wall construction with higher heat/cold resistance than today’s R30, new materials that are insect and moisture proof, roof designs that are rated above hurricane winds and more.

We are in the digital revolution now, which is growing much bigger, than the industrial revolution of the late 1800's. With all the chic technology people expect more sophisticated hardware and electronics, and as that technology evolves so will the need for the house. Similar, to the Murphy beds first designed in 1876–1959 for San Francisco apartment living. Which allowed for flex space, living rooms that can change sizes or converts to another use. The home of tomorrow will have penalized walls or energized wall systems; they are going to be complex and must have pre-wired systems.

If we continue to have a process that is labor constrained, and you can’t effect a change in the labor force, then we must change the process, it’s the first lesson taught at the School of Engineering at North Carolina State University.

Changes to the industry will be driven by builders that have to deliver a much more complex product in a much more constrained environment for an affordable price point. With fewer trades, industrialized housing will allow builders to bring a more sophisticated product mainstream. Keeping materials price in check, builders will be able to improve on the timeliness of their product delivery to the respective client. Another process change that will be inherent with the industrialization will be the importance of the designer throughout the entire design and construction phases.

These process changes will make it easier to integrate the high-demand smart home solutions that are currently trending yet difficult to bake into the volume home building cycle, especially as they become more sophisticated.

It’s not unfathomable to think that 3-D printing will be an option in the future. Or is it possible to also envision housing components being sold and shipped by the big box retailers, or even ordered online at Amazon.

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Gregory Buscher

Anyone who knows me will tell you I have never met a stranger. I enjoy getting to know people and helping them however I can. That’s what prompted me to change career paths and become a Licensed R....

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