The best time to innovate the construction industry is today

KODA Lifting

The construction industry has not changed much over the last 50 years. With global housing demand soaring, the industry is in sore need for a significant reboot. Over 1 million people globally move to cities every week, about 1.6 billion people live in substandard housing and 100 million are homeless, according to United Nations’ statistics. So what would need to change in construction, to match the demand?

The whole construction ecosystem represents 13 percent of global GDP,  with construction having seen a meager productivity growth of 1% annually for the past two decades. Construction appears to be stuck with only  6% productivity growth in the US (1947-2010) compared to agriculture with 1510% and manufacturing 760%. In 2017, the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) highlighted that the construction industry needs to improve productivity by 50-60%.

One way to enhance efficiency is by shifting from onsite construction to off-site prefabrication. In Scandinavia for example, 45% of all housing is being built using off-site manufacturing in some capacity, and the permanent modular construction market share of new North American real-estate construction projects has grown by 50% from 2015 to 2018.

Another boost comes from technology: 5D building information modelling (BIM) is enabling more precision and less mistakes during construction planning and implementation. BIM is vital as we licence the production of KODA from Estonia, the 4th largest exporter of factory-made timber houses in the world, out to other countries and continents. BIM enables communicating the essence of our design patent much more efficiently, ensuring the look, feel and touch of KODAs are maintained even when production facilities vary.

Changes to construction need to happen on both big and small scale: urban planning also needs to evolve. In the UK, car parks in shopping centres and near railway stations can obtain dual purpose –allowing parking cars and enabling elevated KODA houses above. This solves many problems the councils are facing, the biggest being relieving the housing shortage, but also reducing commuting need and time, as well as related pollution. Significant energy is saved avoiding commuting and with more home office video-conferencing.

When entire homes and offices can be transported volumetrically and installed within hours on the final site, efficiency is automatically increased, with minimum disruption to the surrounding communities. Speed of lead times as well as minimal work on location are increasingly important criteria for home-owners, developers as well as the public sector – for quick and easy housing solutions.

Building technologies today need to consider the overall sustainability of the building, planning and permitting procedures as well as the carbon footprint. One of the aspects is using more lightweight materials, such as replacing concrete with timber or other modern methods of construction (MMC). This allows more flexibility in transport and prefabricated housing solutions delivered to more remote or complex locations, as well as volumetric deliveries to rural or urban areas.

We’ve taken all this into account when developing the KODA range of houses, from stackable to floating to micro-scale. So when you buy a KODA, you’ll be contributing positive changes in the construction industry, too.

We recommend reading McKinsey & Company’s report 2020: The next normal in construction. How disruption is reshaping the world’s largest ecosystem – see if you’ll find it as inspirational as we at Kodasema did!