The world may have changed since the beginning of 2020, but the need for affordable housing continues to be a surging crisis, especially in areas like San Francisco. While some businesses have been forced to close, navigate supplier issues or reimagine day-to-day operations, Factory_OS has been able to push forward, albeit with COVID-19 safety precautions, to heed the call of affordable housing.
With estimates of a population growth of approximately 30 percent in the next three decades—75 percent of which will be in cities—having the housing to accommodate that increase has become a vital priority. A partnership with Autodesk in 2019 enabled Factory_OS to digitize its modular design process. The result was not only increased efficiencies and lowered costs, but it also has enabled the company to continue its efforts via remote collaboration and social distancing practices.
“Factory_OS was started with scalability in mind,” said Rick Holliday, CEO of Factory_OS. “Changing the way housing is built requires an evolution in everything from how workers are trained to the methods used in order to ensure increased productivity and therefore lower costs and time-to-market. We believe our model can help create real impact in the Bay Area and beyond and Autodesk’s investment helps make this even more of a reality.”
Autodesk’s investment in the company also resulted in a Factory Floor Learning Center, which is dedicated to industrialized construction research and education, as well as a Rapid Response Factory, which will allow for the quick turnaround of new housing following natural disasters and emergencies.
So, what makes Factory_OS different? Although modular housing isn’t a new concept, its use of technology brings the job site to the manufacturing floor. The houses are constructed 40 percent faster with a cost-savings of 20 percent and waste reduction of 70 percent thanks to a controlled environment and the use of technologies including BIM digital prototyping, precision manufacturing and smart material procurement.
Unlike traditional construction, which faces challenges including weather, contractors, worker shortages and scheduling issues, just to name a few, Factory_OS can provide year-round construction with full-time employees. A reliance on lean principles, standardized design-to-value and reduced transportation needs have all enabled the company to forge ahead to create new homes.