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Five trends of construction of the future

New forms of hostels, wooden skyscrapers and pre-fabricated constructions — technologies open great opportunities before construction companies. But so far construction still lives according to standards of the midpoint of the 19th century. Analysts of CB Insights have found out what will define changes in the sphere of housing construction in the near future.

photo: East News     

According to PwC, the American construction companies annually invest only 0.5% of revenue in research and development. At the same time automobile companies put 3.7%, and producers of computers and electronics — 8.8%. It is no wonder that in these conditions the industry of housing construction works according to standards of the midpoint of the 19th century without any changes. Builders still carry out routine tasks, using the receptions fulfilled in decades..

At the same time the situation in the housing market in the USA worsens every year. The country lacks 7.3 million houses, and the prices of them continue to grow. In 2017 growth was 6.2%. It is twice higher, than growth of level of income, and three times above the rate of inflation.

One of the main problems of analytics of CB Insights call scaling. The companies have no standardized approach to architectural design, preparatory work and construction. Because of it each house is under construction as the new project from scratch today.

However gradually small startups begin to change situation. The technological companies in the sphere of construction in 2018 have concluded 45 large deals with investors. The American Katerra which in round of financing of D has attracted $865 million for construction of houses by the principle of the designer became the leader.

Assembly of houses from ready details — only one of trends in the construction market. Analysts of CB Insights have assembled the main trends of the near future, and we have chosen from them five most interesting.

Factory installation and principle of the designer

New approach has to solve above-mentioned problem of scaling. Process of construction needs to be transferred from the building site to factory. Such approach will allow to make at the same time several components of construction, and then to assemble them as the designer of LEGO.

Modular construction — so-called prefabrication — practices not the first decade, but so far such approach was not widely used. In the USA several startups work on technologies of factory installation of buildings.

The Brooklyn Fullstack Modular applies method of "the construction infomenedzhment" and flexible design. All components are projected at early stage, and on final assembly much less time leaves. The startup of Blokable designs houses and housing blocks by the principle "all inclusive" — they are already equipped with wiring, tubes and household appliances. One block costs from $58,000 to $85,000, and if necessary from modules it is possible to create buildings to five floors.

Total control over production and deliveries

Process of construction is often dragged out because of the broken supply channels and all chain of logistics. The American company Katerra — one of giants of the innovative construction industry plans to take all spheres under the control. More than 1400 employees are already on the staff of the enterprise, and the general capitalization of the company is estimated at $1.16 billion. 

Katerra independently develops design, makes modular components, delivers them to the building site and establishes them according to the standards.

Founders of the company compare the activity to operation of the conveyor which steadily releases a product one by one. 

Such approach allows Katerra to build buildings 40% faster, than it is done by competitors. The startup already collected preorders for the sum more than $1 billion and works on twelve apartment houses. In 2019 Katerra is going to open six factories on production of construction modules. 

Wooden skyscrapers

Use of materials on the basis of a tree for construction of multystoried buildings for 40% reduces the mass of the building in comparison with steel and by 60% — in comparison with concrete. Thanks to it costs on construction of the base are reduced. So far buildings of this kind build mainly in North America, but they will appear also in other countries soon.

Koliving

Every fourth American gives more than 50% of the monthly income for rent of housing. In these conditions the technological companies decided to revive the concept of the hostel, having made it more comfortable and attractive. Inhabitants of koliving rent small apartments without kitchen and without living room — these zones should be shared with neighbors.

In the USA WeWork startup, but still unsuccessfully is engaged in construction of inhabited koliving-complexes. Since 2016 the company opened only two hostels and put the project on a pause.

The startup of Starcity rents housing estates or redeems them from owners, and then will convert in koliving, including additional services, for example, access to Wi-fi or service of cleaning of housing. Residents pay about $1800 a month for rent. Starcity already equipped under koliving three buildings, in the project — 9 more. At the same time the number of clients in the list of expectation already exceeded 8000.

Ambitions of the IT companies

Large IT corporations gradually join in process of construction of innovative housing. The companies build not only traditional campuses, but also equip city recreation areas and design affordable housing.

Facebook in 2021 will complete the construction of the residential district Willow Village in the territory of which will build 1500 apartments. From them 225 will sell at the price below, than on average in the market. 

In December, 2017 Google got the permission for construction of a housing estate from 9850 apartments. Also the division of the company — Sidewalk Labs — plans to build the smart area more than 510 thousand sq.m. in Toronto. The territory will be equipped with special sensors for collecting and the analysis of data, and in houses will place at the same time apartments, offices, floor spaces and parkings.

Yulia Krasilnikova