Two topics are consistently making it to the top of industry news – a shortage of labor and increasing costs – both making the challenges of building more affordable housing more nettlesome.
One often-discussed, yet not strongly embraced process innovation that reduces the amount of labor and therefore costs, is off-site construction. Much of the prefabrication innovation that is now emerging in the United States has already been practiced overseas for years, if not decades.
One company that is now working with several US and Canadian builders, including Katerra, Toll Brothers, Maronda Homes and Brockport Homes System, is headquartered in Sweden and was started in the 1940s. The Swedish company, Randek, now has many national partners with approximately 20 production lines in North America.
The new wave of acceptance in the US is driven by the perfect storm of over-regulation, lack of labor and rising construction costs. Builders are now forced to find new ways to build housing, cutting costs in any way feasible.
Randek, recognized recently as one of the HIVE top 5 innovators, for its contribution to the technologies supporting the off-site process. In the short video below, Ola Skoglund, the chief operating officer at Randek, shares the history and the innovation behind the company.
Randek isn’t stopping there. The company recently announced a new version of the ZeroLabor machinery that has more capacity and more automation, including a lath that can be placed and fastened automatically for both horizontal and vertical operations.
In projects across the country, these technologies are saving days on the job site, adding up to labor savings for the builders that can be passed on as cost savings to buyers and renters, which is of particular importance right now in many U.S. markets desperate for more affordable housing solutions.
“To continue [to] be the pioneer in the industry requires a lot of development and forward thinking,” says Johan Larsholm, chairman at Randek. “[We plan to continue] to serve the market as the demand continues to grow.”
This story appears as it was originally published on our sister site, www.hiveforhousing.com.