More often than not, home builders and developers are seen as narcissistic, greedy business owners, ruining the landscape with only one objective: profit.
Regardless of the builder’s intentions, it’s hard to argue the value of the finished product. Hundreds of research studies point to the value that housing offers national and local economies while contributing to individual and community health and dozens of other factors.
How Housing Matters reports that solid housing options can give children the opportunity to improve and succeed academically, maintain their health and well-being, and achieve financial success later in life, while also reducing costs to society in the long term.
Perhaps that negative perspective of greedy developers was a bit different in 1949 when the Wolff Development company started, when the American Dream was simpler, maybe, centered around owning a home, having a family and also having a good paying job.
Yet, times have changed. Building codes and regulations have become stricter and technologies have evolved. As these factors changed, builders had to keep up, adding costs to their developments. As builders added those costs and passed them on to consumers, attitudes changed. Developers, in the view of some, became less interested in helping the public achieve its dreams and grew more interested in profits.
The Wolff Development Company saw this happening and took a risk to fix it. By helping to launch Katerra, the technology company redefining the construction industry, in 2015 along with Michael Marks and Jim Davidson, Wolff Development took a step toward addressing the issues impacting the new societal distaste for housing.
In this short video, Fritz Wolff, one of Katerra's cofounders, shares the history of the organization, along with the opportunity to address the challenges in front of housing.
Wolff is transparent in saying that Katerra’s approach may not be 100 percent accurate, but it has the true and sincere spirit of benefiting the industry at large, now and into the future. Katerra offers a reimagined work flow that will bring speed, efficiency and quality into housing that will drop the costs, making it more accessible to more people in more places around the world.
“By fundamentally driving costs down, but efficiencies and quality up, we can help developers make more projects economically viable than would be possible with other design and build partners,” Trevor Schick, president of Katerra Materials said. “This means building better quality housing faster and for more people.”
It's no small task. It’s huge.
“Since we started this company, it has always been our goal to develop as much technology as possible that can be used to make the construction industry much more advanced,” said Richard Harpham, vice president of Katerra Software Products. “Where possible, we will make the products and technologies we develop for our own needs available to the broader AEC industry.”
Not only will the tools be resources for the industry, but the projects that Wolff Development and Katerra are partnering on as well.
“Our K90 project located just outside of Las Vegas is a perfect example of how we are establishing a completely new way to build buildings,” said Schick. “We designed this 24-unit garden apartment to be completed in 90 days – 30-50 days less than the average project of this size.”
Schick believes a lot of the benefit is derived from having a truly cross-functional team in place that can offer different perspectives, leading to ways to build better and faster. The diverse team actually provides work instructions for everyone on site, taking the guess work away from them.
The K90 is on track to be completed in the 90 days, or even sooner.
“All that being said, getting to 90 days is only the beginning,” said Schick. “We will continue to drive our designs, automated factories, and site operations to reduce the time to completion on all of our buildings. We think about this as a journey where we always look to apply continuous improvements to all aspects of the design build cycle.”
Read more about Katerra’s recent product launches here.
This story appears as it was originally published on our sister site, www.hiveforhousing.com.