Are factory-made homes the future of housing?
Solving construction labor shortage one robot at a time
Robots could be the answer to builders' woes as they struggle to bring more inventory to the housing market among rising labor shortages.
Currently, housing inventory rests at all-time lows, according to a recent report from Trulia. Construction workers are struggling to build enough homes to keep up with the market’s demand, a problem that will only grow as President Donald Trump’s strict immigration policies flush out many construction laborers.
However, the market may have found its own solution – robots. Many new high-tech plants are opening in areas such as rural Pennsylvania, reviving the economies shattered after the last housing crisis, according to an article by Prashant Gopal and Heather Perlberg for Bloomberg.
Pieces of a home are made in factories and then transported on trucks to the construction site, according to the article. In fact, those pieces can often be entire rooms with tile showers or even gourmet kitchens.
From the article:
“This has to be the wave of the future — I don’t know how we solve the labor shortage otherwise,” said John Burns, an Irvine, California-based homebuilding consultant. “What drives modular construction is the ability to build the house more cost-effectively.”
Even some hotel chains such as Marriott and many apartment buildings have caught on to the new trend, the article explains.
From the article:
Ritz-Craft can deliver a single-family house in six to eight weeks, on average. Having an indoor facility means weather delays are rarely a factor. Each worker is given a narrow concentration, like tiling floors or sanding drywall, which increases production speed. People without any background in construction can become skilled laborers in two weeks, according to [Myles Biggs, general manager of Ritz-Craft Corp.’s Pennsylvania construction facility.]