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Offsite Construction Articles

The Offsite Construction Expo (OSCE) features exclusive articles and interviews from the leading voices in the offsite construction industry. In addition, OSCE features news and headlines from around the offsite industry, including modular construction, prefabricated buildings, tiny homes, and more. Check back often for updates.

OSCE Exclusives

We're expanding our selection of original offsite construction articles. Interested in being featured? Contact us!

G-SONGUO: Improving Life with Technology

The need for affordable housing has never been greater, and a company called G-SONGUO is redefining construction with a worldwide modular housing initiative.

Geene Alhady, President of Clark Pacific

The Potential of Prefabrication: An Interview with Geene Alhady, President of Clark Pacific

Geene Alhady, president of California-based Clark Pacific, talks about the past and future growth of prefabrication in the construction industry.

A-LINX: Building for the Future

Modular construction offers huge advantages in a rapidly evolving industry. A-LINX Building Technologies is taking it to the next level.

Latest Offsite Industry News

This 3D-Printed Housing Pod Can Be Built in Under a Day for Less than the Price of a Car

Japanese design firm Serendix Partners has produced a scalable 3D-printed housing pod that takes less than a day to create at minimal cost.

Joining forces with renowned architect Masayuki Sono, winner of NASA’s 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge, Serendix and Sono designed a small house that could be printed quickly enough to serve as emergency housing after a natural disaster like an earthquake or hurricane that destroys the population’s homes. Read more.

An Automated Factory That’d Pump Out Modular Homes in Grand Junction Could Help Ease Colorado’s Housing Crisis

A group of investors has acquired 177 acres near a growing Grand Junction hospital, hoping to build hundreds of new apartments and a 237,000-square-foot plant capable of turning out 100 prefab apartment a month.

“No one has ever built something like this in the U.S.” said Ted Steers, who is part of a Front Range investment group planning a European-inspired factory in Grand Junction. “This is a key part to solving the workforce housing crisis. We need to build housing faster, better and more inexpensively.” Read more.

Check Out the Process Behind Apex Plaza, the New Tallest Mass Timber Building on the East Coast

William McDonough + Partners' new mass timber Apex Plaza project recently celebrated its completion in Charlottesville, Virginia. The 187,000-square-foot structure is now considered to be the largest such CLT project in the eastern United States.

Its completion is a major milestone for the use of the increasingly popular material in the U.S. and marks the end of a journey begun twenty years ago when the firm published a text from McDonough and EPEA International founder Michael Braungart outlining the “possibility of developing healthy and creatively interactive relationships between human settlements and the natural world.” Read more.

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More Offsite Industry News

LEAP Housing Creates Shipping Container Homes During Boise's Housing Crisis

The housing crisis in the Treasure Valley doesn't seem to be letting up, forcing some people to find another place to live or downsize entirely.

The solutions seem slim to none, but the nonprofit LEAP Housing is taking matters into its own hands by building affordable homes out of storage materials. Read more.

2022 World of Modular Returns to Spectacular Success

The Modular Building Institute’s (MBI’s) 2022 World of Modular conference and tradeshow returned in grand fashion and attracted over 1,000 in-person and digital attendees from more than 20 countries.

The modular building industry’s largest and longest-running event drew modular construction professionals from around the world to network, exchange ideas, learn from experts, discuss issues, and receive well-deserved recognition at the La Cantera Resort & Spa in San Antonio, Texas. Read more.

Sacramento County Unveils Plan for First 'Safe Stay Community' to Shelter Homeless People

Sacramento County is announcing its first so-called Safe Stay Community, a new village of temporary tiny homes for people experiencing homelessness.

If approved, it would be built on a vacant lot on the southeast corner of Power Inn Road and Florin Road in south Sacramento. The lot used to be the site of a grocery store. Read more. See more.

Clark Pacific Transitions to Nearly 100% Renewable Energy

Clark Pacific, a constructor of prefabricated building systems, will install solar arrays across all of its facilities, transitioning its consumption to nearly 100% renewable energy through a partnership with NewGen Energy.

The solar arrays, which NewGen Energy began installing at Clark Pacific’s properties across California in December of 2021, will be fully operational in Q4 2022. Over 25 years, the move to solar is estimated to save more than $19 million. Read more.

An Alternative Solution for the Challenges of Single Stairways in High-Rise Buildings

Set to be showcased exclusively at FIREX International in May, EVACSTAC is a prefabricated structural steel tower solution designed to provide an alternative evacuation route for residents in the event of a fire, as well as support firefighters in shortening response times to high-rise incidents. Read more.

Virginia Tech Team Completes World-First Observation Tower with Innovative Low-Carbon Timber

A team of students and faculty at Virginia Tech has completed an innovative observation tower in rural Virginia. The design and delivery of the project saw the development and certification of a new hardwood cross-laminated timber product, off-site prefabrication, and the discovery of the ruins of a historic building. Read more.

Colorado Lawmakers are Betting Millions that Factory-Built Homes are a Solution to the Housing Crisis

Colorado lawmakers are aiming to increase the state’s stock of modular homes amid a statewide housing shortage that’s left many residents priced out of the market.

House Bill 1282, known as the Innovative Housing Incentive Program, would create a $40 million loan program that modular homes manufacturers could use to pay workers and cover operating expenses, including payroll, inventory and materials. Read more.

Study Shows Prefabrication Reduces Site Hazards By 20%

The study, commissioned by Stewart Milne Group for the Advanced Industrialised Methods for the Construction of Homes (AIMCH) research project, found that crane-lift panelised building methods provide 20% less exposure to health and safety risks on site than open panel timber frame construction using a forklift. Read more.

Q&A: Modular Construction Startup Reimagines Apartments as a Consumer Product

As the housing crisis across America continues to escalate, established technology companies and startups alike – many of which are based in the San Francisco Bay Area – are looking for ways to address the mounting issue of housing affordability. San Jose-based Cloud Apartments, founded in 2020, is one such company looking to make a difference when it comes to providing modular-construction homes that are more affordable for renters. Read more.

Danish Firm Schmidt Hammer Lassen Unveils Design for World's Tallest Timber Building

Danish studio Schmidt Hammer Lassen has revealed its design for a 100-metre-tall housing block in Switzerland, which will be the world's tallest timber building when it completes.

It will be comprised of four volumes of different heights, one of which will rise to 100 metres tall making it the world's tallest building with a load-bearing timber structure. Read more.

A Ukrainian Architecture Firm is Developing Modular Homes That Can be Scaled to the Size of a Town and House up to 8,000 Refugees

An architecture studio based in Kyiv is designing a modular village intended to shelter people who have been displaced from their homes as a result of the war in Ukraine.

The town project is designed in such a way that it can be implemented quickly and with whatever resources are available at hand. Having different material options cushions the project from the unpredictability of the war and any supply-chain shocks. Read more.

Sustainable Mass Timber Industry Evolving at MSU with Potential to Enhance Michigan’s Economy

Crain’s Detroit Business has named Sandra Lupien, director of MassTimber@MSU, to its inaugural “Notable Leaders in Sustainability” list.

Lupien talks about how MSU is leading in the research and application of mass timber and about how a growing and evolving mass timber industry can impact Michigan’s economy. Read more.

Arup Completes the Netherlands' Tallest Timber-Hybrid Residential Building

Arup has designed and engineered the Netherlands’ tallest timber-hybrid residential building.

Completed this year, HAUT is part of the country’s commitment to becoming climate-neutral by 2050, in which the use of timber as a building material has been identified as one of the most effective ways to accelerate decarbonization.

As detailed by Arup, the design principle for HAUT was “timber where possible, concrete and steel when necessary.” Read more.

Inside Colorado’s $40 million plan to boost housing factories

Simple Homes is one of a few prefabricated housing manufacturers in Colorado — a tiny but growing segment of the construction business. The idea of building parts of structures in factories has been around for decades, but it’s drawn new focus during the recent labor crunch and housing shortage.

This year, the industry is set to get another big boost: A bipartisan proposal in the state legislature would offer $40 million in grants for “innovative” housing manufacturers. Their hope is to not just build affordable housing but to boost the overall housing supply. Read more.

Dept. of Energy Awards $32 Million for Next-Generation Building Retrofits

The U.S. Dept. of Energy has awarded a total of $32 million for more than 30 next-generation building retrofit projects that will dramatically improve affordable housing technologies, according to a DOE news release.

Seven organizations will use the money to test renovation techniques that reduce disruption to tenants while upgrading the energy and environmental performance of buildings more quickly, affordably, and effectively, the release says. The techniques, such as prefabricating walls and drop-in replacements for heating, cooling, and hot water systems, can “revolutionize construction and renovation.” Read more.

Tiny Home Village Proposed in San Luis Obispo to Help Solve Homelessness

Becky Jorgeson is the founder and president of Hope’s Village, a nonprofit that has been working to establish a cohousing community to house unhoused people locally for 10 years.

Her vision includes 30 tiny homes, all surrounding a communal house in the middle that has bathrooms, offices and a commercial kitchen. Read more.

Harbor Bay Real Estate Advisors & Panzica Construction Unlock Mass Timber Efficiency

The team behind Cleveland’s 512,000-sq-ft, eight-story INTRO apartment/retail complex unlocked the construction efficiencies of cross-laminated and mass timber.

There were several lessons learned along the way, but when it topped out, INTRO was briefly the tallest mass timber building in the U.S. at 115 ft. If Ascent in Milwaukee—a similar mixed-use building with a concrete core and CLT floors and ceilings and glulam columns and beams—is completed as planned this summer, it will pass INTRO and reach 284 ft tall. Read more.

Ground Broken on $40 Million Prefab Housing Manufacturing Plant in Bluefield, WV

Gov. Jim Justice was in Bluefield Tuesday for the official groundbreaking to welcome Omnis Building Technologies to the I-77 Exit 1 area.

The $40 million,150,000-square-foot facility manufactures revolutionary housing and will employ about 300. Justice called the new manufacturing facility, which uses concrete technology and can build a house in about two days, “amazing,” and said it will revolutionize the housing industry. Read more.

San Francisco's First Tiny Home Village for Unsheltered People Opens

One week ago, Ryan Bauer was living in a tent on the hard pavement on Gough Street south of Market. Now he’s living on the same pavement with a dramatic upgrade: He’s moved into his own tiny home, with a mattress, desk, chair and — most luxurious of all — a heater that quickly warms his 64-square-foot abode. That’s almost as crucial as a front door that locks from the inside and by a combination lock on the outside. Read more.

Rapid Supportive Housing Gets Washingtonians Out of Unsafe Living and on the Path to Permanent Housing Solutions

Governor Jay Inslee visited a Seattle tiny home village this week as part of a day of meetings with Puget Sound advocates and government leaders on the state’s homelessness crisis, while the Legislature considers more spending for policies that are proven to work.

The governor’s $800 million proposal would address "key gaps in facilities and services by exploring ways to help families and individuals remain in their homes; secure facilities for transitional and permanent housing; and expand behavioral health services," and would include $62 million for approximately 500 units in tiny home villages. Read more.

Structural Insulated Panel Association (SIPA) Announces 20th Annual Building Excellence Award Winners

The Structural Insulated Panel Association (SIPA) announced the winners of the 20th Annual Building Excellence Awards at its member meeting on March 1, 2022. One of the most prominent offsite construction award programs, the Building Excellence Awards showcase the projects that best demonstrate the design flexibility, long-lasting energy performance and resiliency of structural insulated panels (SIPs).

“With the permanent adoption of more stringent building energy, low carbon and electrification codes across the country, building professionals are quickly recognizing SIPs as the answer to meeting criteria of a high-performance structure,” said Jack Armstrong, Executive Director and COO for SIPA. Read more.

Buildings of the Future Could Be Fully 3D Printed Using Recycled Glass

New research suggests that recycled glass can be used as a component of concrete for 3D printing.

The presence of glass does not only solve the problem of waste but also contributes to the development of a concrete with superior properties than that containing natural sand. If used in this way, waste glass can find a new life as part of a construction material. Read more.

“It’s Really Life Changing:” How Modular Housing is Alleviating Homelessness

Modular housing has quietly become a cost effective, not to mention dignified, way to house homeless people, as evidenced by a two-year-old City of Toronto program.

But to understand why modular housing is poised to become a resounding success in Canada’s largest city, one need only look at Vancouver, where it was first implemented. According to the creator of modular, or factory-produced, housing, its size, portability, and the method of production, prevents costs from ballooning. Read more.

Marriott, Carrier to Collaborate on IoT Connected Hotels

Carrier, a Florida-based air conditioning/HVAC company specializing in sustainable and intelligent building solutions, is joining forces with the Marriott Design Lab to develop advances such as IoT-connected hotels to improve guest experiences, as well as optimizing building systems for modular construction.

Marriott’s partnership with Carrier will also focus on how to streamline hotel construction to reduce costs, drive energy efficiency and shorten construction times. Read more.

Hegg Cos. to Expand Into Modular Construction with New Manufacturing Facility

Sioux Falls-based Hegg, known for development and construction, is adding a modular construction division, beginning with a 127,000-square-foot facility in Brandon, South Dakota.

Hegg Cos. president Paul Hegg says, “It’s really, really cool. Marriott and Hilton in particular have modular programs and are promoting this as the best deployment method for hospitality going forward. This is not new; it’s just not real prevalent in our area yet, but with all the labor woes and material acquisition, it’s time.” Read more.

City Donating Land for Modular Home Manufacturing Facility

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council has tentatively agreed to donate two city-owned lots in the industrial park to the Door County Economic Development Corporation (DCEDC) for a modular-home manufacturing facility.

Julie Schmelzer, DCEDC’s director of business development, said the facility would address an affordable-housing shortage and a lack of construction workers in the county and northeastern Wisconsin. Read more.

Oregon Bill Would Expand Development of Manufactured Homes to Benefit Wildfire Survivors

A bill moving through the Oregon legislature could expand locations where prefabricated and manufactured homes can be sited in the state.

Among its provisions, the legislation would prevent cities and counties from imposing optional standards that create obstacles to these homes being built, like the pitch of a roof angle, minimum building size, the presence of a carport or garage, house color or appearance.

“We are stipulating that manufactured homes should simply be held to the same standards that you would apply to any other kind of construction on the ground,” says Rep. Pam Marsh, D-Ashland, the bill’s sponsor. Read more.

San Jose Breaks Ground on City’s Fourth Emergency Interim Housing Site

San Jose leaders and homeless advocates broke ground on a new temporary housing project at a San Jose Police Department parking lot.

Last October the city voted to approve the prefabricated housing project near the Guadalupe River Park in an effort to address the city’s homeless crisis.

The 76-unit project will be located in a parking lot at the San Jose Police Department headquarters near West Taylor Street and will include 16 prefabricated structures. Read more.

This Hotel Made Up of Prefabricated Cabins Will Open its Doors in the Spring in New York

Prefabricated cabins continue to consolidate their presence in the tourist field. There are many characteristics that make them ideal tools to advance a more equitable sector, thanks to their affordability, mobility and localized construction. But not only this, but this type of accommodation, in principle, is more sustainable from the point of view of the environment. The New York startup Moliving is working along these lines, and after some time working on its prototypes, it will finally see a new hotel, Hurley House, which will have its cabins and will open this spring in the north of the state of New York. Read more.

Black Buffalo 3D Introduces Modular Construction Printer: The NEXCON™ 1G the Future of Construction

Black Buffalo 3D Corporation today launched its new, production-ready NEXCON™ 1G printer.

Black Buffalo 3D is a leading global provider of large-scale 3D printers for construction and proprietary concrete-based ink. NEXCON™ 3D printers take the best characteristics of 3D printing and address traditional challenges in the construction industry, granting printer operators the ability to create affordable housing, commercial buildings, infrastructure components and historically pre-cast components on-site and on-demand. Read more.

Tiny homes, Big Dreams: How Some Activists are Reimagining Shelter for the Homeless

With housing costs rising, tiny homes are spreading as a solution to homelessness in California, Indiana, Missouri, Oregon, and beyond. Arnold Schwarzenegger garnered considerable publicity in December when he donated money for 25 tiny houses for homeless veterans in Los Angeles. It reflects a growing interest in outside-the-box ideas to get unhoused people off the streets, especially during winter in cold climates and amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now a new tiny house community is being developed in Madison, Wisconsin. Read more.

Modular Housing Offers a Solution to Toronto’s Housing Crisis… But NIMBY’s Aren’t Happy

In a world where everyone’s in a rush to get ahead, modular construction offers nothing less than a shortcut to the future. Prefabrication can reduce the time it takes to build a structure from endless years to mere months. Better still, the final product is exactly as planned, promised and promoted.

But, says Daniel Ling, a partner at one of Toronto’s leading architectural practices, Montgomery Sisam Architects, “There are always NIMBY issues." Read more.

New Modular Housing Units to Give Some Reno Homeless People Sense of Stability

Next week, 45 modular housing units will open up near Reno's Cares Campus, giving some homeless people a sense of stability and a warm place to stay this winter.

The so-called ModPods, equipped with bedding, shelves, heating, air conditioning and electricity, are intended to provide safety and security for people who might not thrive in the nearby homeless shelter. Read more.

First Modular Standards Aim at Consistency in Design, Construction, Regulation

The aim is to bring consistency to offsite projects—for manufacturers, building teams and regulators. The standards, which are complementary, also are part of an effort to lower barriers to trade for offsite products, which often have to navigate a patchwork of regional regulations. Read more.

Andrew Staniforth and MaryAnne Gilmartin Plotting a Modular Empire with Assembly OSM

Modular construction startup Assembly OSM was founded by Chris Sharples and Bill Sharples, two of the founders of SHoP Architects, in 2019. While the Sharples brothers continue to oversee the company’s strategic direction, Andrew Staniforth took the reins as CEO late last year.

Its mission is clear: Assembly aims to turn the preconceived notion of modular construction on its head through the delivery of architecturally beautiful, high-rise buildings that are greener, cheaper and faster to construct. Read more.

Solving The Housing Crisis: What To Look For When Investing In Modular Housing

One industry I have watched and think could help solve some of these issues is modular homes; not much has changed about the basic process since the 1950s when prefab buildings were first launched. These buildings come ready-made and major components (walls, ceilings, panels, etc.) are manufactured remotely and shipped to sites for assembly.

The problem? Consumers generally think they’re ugly and of poor quality. Over the last half-century, however, I have seen how modular homes have drastically improved in design versatility, quality and cost. In fact, backyard houses have gained a lot of popularity as a form of modular construction solutions, and companies like Cover Technology, Emagispace and Blokable are rising to fill the demand. This move toward modular homes fits in with the growing popularity of tiny homes, RVS and camper vans in general. Read more.

Dvele's Prefab, Off-Grid Homes are Dedicated to the Environment

Sustainable architecture takes many forms. From minimal site impact to material selection to energy-efficient systems, homeowners have a lot to consider. One California-based builder has placed sustainable, technological and health considerations at the forefront of every design. The result is environmentally-friendly homes that serve fire-prone areas and cater to the needs of off-grid living. Read more.

Multifamily Housing Using Modular Buildings Provides an Affordable Housing Alternative

According to recent documents submitted to the City [of Atlanta], Impact Housing Group proposes to retain the existing 1350 square foot single-family wood-framed home on the property, as well as to stack the module units three levels high with two units end to end, creating six residential units each 550 square feet in size in one structure. In addition, an open area would separate another six-unit structure with a mono-roof spanning over the structures. Read more.

Off-Site Construction is Radically Changing the Rules of Architectural Design

The popularity of pre-designed and pre-fabricated homes is growing, moving much of the construction process from the building site into factories. While countries like Singapore, Australia and the United Kingdom are increasingly adopting modular buildings to meet labor and housing shortages, Nordic countries like Sweden already build 90% of residential single-family houses in prefab wood. Read more.

Prefabricated Construction Startup to Establish $30 Million Automated Factory to Build Sustainable Homes

Plant Prefab, which says it is the first Certified B Corporation building technology company dedicated to sustainable design, materials, and operations, has signed a long-term lease to open America’s “first automated factory devoted to efficiently and sustainably building multifamily developments and custom single-family homes.” Read more.

This Tiny Cabin was Built in 3 Weeks and Cost 30% Less than a Traditional House

If every new single-family house in the U.K. was built following these principles, cities could build more affordable homes in high-demand areas. This is especially true if the units are fabricated locally. “By embedding housing production very close to those communities, we can enable people to feel like they can be part of the solution to the housing crisis,” says AUAR cofounder and CEO Mollie Claypool. Read more.

How Modular Housing Is Changing the Game for Affordable Housing

For the right projects, [prefabrication is] a great option to lower costs and substantially shorten the delivery period. This will be especially true if efforts to pre-build the units prior to construction closing get to scale. It has major implications for permanent supportive housing, with strong urgency to deliver additional units. Read more.

Robots are the Future of Modular Construction

By freeing people from heavy lifting work, Rick Murdock co-founder and CEO of Autovol can make better use of employees’ brains, and “we’ve seen far less employee turnover and injuries in our automated areas because we’ve minimized the strenuous labor.”

He emphasizes the importance of the people in the plant. “At the end of the day, robots are nothing without people to program, schedule, and operate them. The robots are just tools.” Read more.

Prefab Homes Will Solve the Housing Crisis

With temperatures and homelessness rates rising, Eco Box Fabricators and Modal Homes think they may be part of the housing solution.

Both companies have experienced founders that are now lending their expertise to mass-producing homes—ones that reduce waste, save money, and look better than those already on the market. Read more.