In 2017, Galiano Tiramani together with his father, Paolo Tiramani, and Kyle Denman began pondering ways to improve the “old school” home building industry. To alleviate the expenses and time of homes being built by hand using traditional materials, Tiramani founded Boxabl to begin building foldable, shippable homes that can be mass-produced. He says, “We are working on one of the biggest problems on earth, with one of the biggest markets, our product has the potential to change everything about building construction forever by transitioning construction onto the factory mass production assembly line.”
Tiramani will be one of the speakers at the Builder PropTech virtual event Sept. 27. BUILDER caught up with the Boxabl founder to find out what’s next for his company.
BUILDER: Why a folding house?
Tiramani: With 90% of buildings still being produced by hand, one at a time, using simple tools, things need to change. Huge problems exist as a result of this ‘pre factory’ state. We figured out that the main reason houses are not mass-produced in a factory is because they are too big to ship in a cost-effective manner. This means that it wasn’t possible to scale production and made more sense to build in the field. Now that we can ship houses that aren’t compromised at the lowest possible cost, we can have true mass production like you might see in an automobile factory.
BUILDER: What can Boxabl homes withstand in terms of disasters, Mother Nature, etc.?
Tiramani: The houses are not built using traditional lumber frame construction that you might see in most of North America. We use a laminated panel technology that allows them to perform better than traditional structures by almost every metric. This means massive energy efficiency, structural strength, hurricane wind ratings, fire-resistant cladding, water-resistant materials, impact resistant, and more. We did this because we wanted to create one universal building system that could work anywhere in the world.
BUILDER: What’s your favorite aspect of Boxabl’s Casita?
Tiramani: I love how the Casita has ignited people’s imaginations. People become incredibly excited about it, and I think it’s because the Casita feels attainable. They can imagine all the different things they would do with it, and they usually let us know about it.
BUILDER: Are there any common misconceptions about Boxabl?
Tiramani: Some people think we are a ‘tiny house’ company ... we are not. However, we did start out with the smallest room module in our system, which is 20 x 20 foot. This is just an entry point for us. We plan a system of rooms where we will mass-produce different rooms sized at 20' x 20', 20' x 30', 20' x 40', and 20' x 60' with different interiors—maybe a kitchen box, a living room box, a bedroom box, etc., that can stack and connect to build most single-family and multifamily building types. Our system should shave months off the builder’s development cycle. We provide these architecturally neutral, universal building boxes that the builder deploys and customizes.
BUILDER: What are you most excited about in proptech right now?
Tiramani: I am excited to stop building houses by hand. Let’s just build houses like we build everything else ... on an assembly line.
BUILDER: How is the first factory so far?
Tiramani: We got factory 1 up and running about a year ago, and we have produced over 200 houses so far. We already have factory 2 built and will be moving in soon. I am about to spend about $15 million on equipment upgrades. Everything we are doing here is new and experimental. We are trying to proceed carefully (while also running at breakneck speed).
BUILDER: What makes Boxabl’s factory different from other housing factories?
Tiramani: There’s nothing left of traditional construction in our current factory. We don’t use wood and nails. But the most important thing ... the scale we think we can achieve probably isn’t possible using traditional factories that ship wide-load houses. We have dramatically simplified the assembly of components going from thousands of nails and hundreds of little pieces of wood into way less components that are bigger and all cut perfectly accurately by CNC machines that allows us to assemble them rapidly.
BUILDER: What do you think is next for Boxabl?
Tiramani: The Boxabl Monster Factory. We are currently planning a third factory that will be a billion-dollar factory. This scale will allow us to get to the next level of efficiency, meet the demand for the product, and absolutely crush costs as low as possible.