With a deficit of more than half a million homes in the Bay Area and with median rents now topping $3,370 for one-bedroom apartments in San Francisco, it’s clear that the housing shortage in California is reaching epic proportions.
The OS in our name has a dual meaning, both equally as important to our mission. At Factory_OS, we believe innovation and the creative approach of off site (OS = Off Site) construction teamed with new technology (OS = Operating Systems) are the key to transforming the housing industry in our region and beyond.
What’s Causing the Crisis?
The traditional (on site) construction industry’s failure to innovate and reliance on outdated building methods is a key factor in the housing shortage and affordability crisis in California.
According to Factory_OS CEO Rick Holliday, “Construction costs have increased by one percent a month for the past four years resulting in a cost increase of 40 to 50 percent in 4 years with no end in sight.”
It’s clear that a new approach to building is needed.
Benefits of Off Site Construction
Faster time to market, lower cost
Apartments are built in the factory as foundations are poured and other onsite work is performed, allowing housing to be delivered faster and at a lesser cost. In an offsite construction factory, everything happens sequentially on a production line where tradespeople work alongside each other, and inspections – so often a source of delays in on-site construction – are streamlined.
On-site construction is greatly impacted by environmental conditions including weather, waiting for tradesmen, and pausing for inspectors which all delay or even halt construction. This doesn’t happen in the factory setting. Building indoors means we can keep our production line moving, rain or shine, in a safer and more comfortable environment for our workers. Dry conditions also prevent waste from damaged materials and problems after completion.
Fewer labor issues, consistent quality and safety
On-site construction is subject to labor shifts and shortages as construction firms increasingly rely on day labor and subcontractor relationships for much of their workforce, impacting quality and hampering efficiency. By contrast, building off-site in a factory is done by highly trained, unionized crews who are focused on quality construction and cross-trained in all disciplines for variety and coverage when there is high demand. Bending and lifting is reduced with our innovative factory design, making working conditions safer. Inhouse inspectors insure quality at every station in the building process all under a weatherproof roof.
Enhanced by Technology
With guidance from Autodesk, Factory_OS, is enhancing communications between new and existing technologies that improve our planning, collaboration and manufacturing processes. Initial improvements include faster takeoffs (we’re able to move housing units off our production line in a day, rather than a month or more), reducing cost, and enhancing quality.
Proud of our Factory Roots
We think the Factory part of our name is pretty transformative. Factories and production lines have provided workers with stable jobs and the industrial might to transform the world for generations. Our historic Mare Island factory has certainly done its part; decades ago it helped to shape life in the Bay Area and beyond by building the ships and submarines that won world wars. Now, it’s transforming our region and world once again, building homes for all in need of a place to live, 20% less expensive and 40% faster. That is the OS way!