Boring Headline, Not-so-boring Prospects

Posted By: Jon Lowder Blog,

"Standardization and Panelization in Multifamily Housing" isn't the kind of headline that screams "READ ME!" but for anyone who is interested in building apartments that can meet the rising need for more affordable housing then it is certainly a must-read. The article from NAIOP's Development magazine, looks at the development of more sophisticated modular design and construction that could meet the need for affordable housing while avoiding the drab, boxy aesthetics typically associated with modular buildings. 

Modular construction can be a good choice for workforce housing and other mid-market housing developments where affordability is a primary consideration. Investment groups focused on high-rent/high-density projects are now exploring projects with lower rent rates, especially in semi-suburban markets...

According to a 2017 report from the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California, Berkeley, current modular construction techniques can save up to 20% on the cost of building a three- to four-story wood frame multifamily apartment building. These savings come from reducing labor time and costs, economies of scale in material use and procurement savings...

The common perception of modular construction is of finished units that resemble stackable boxes. However, today’s standard panelization approach incorporates ready-to-assemble components — walls, floors, bathrooms, utility rooms, kitchens — that are manufactured in a factory, shipped to a jobsite and then assembled. This allows teams to incorporate prefabricated components without the look of stacked boxes.

The full article is definitely worth the read, especially to see how the modular approach can lead to cost savings in materials and labor.