Solving the Housing Crisis with Tech
VR is being used to design most cost effective homes and developments.
The U.K. is in the midst of a brutal housing crisis, and the issue of slow supply of housing to meet demand will be further exacerbated by the reduction in labour that will surely follow Brexit.
If the country is to meet its target of building 300,000 new homes each year, the industry cannot rely on government initiatives alone. This presents an opportunity for technology to bring some much-needed disruption to the construction sector, says Oliver Lowrie of architectural practice Ackroyd Lowrie, which recently published a whitepaper, setting out how the housing crisis challenge can be met through innovative applications of technology such as virtual reality and offsite, volumetric construction.
“If there was any political will to solve the housing crisis, it would be by building faster. Offsite construction is objectively the fastest way to build and results in properties with fewer defects. Innovations in the industry mean that developers can create completely bespoke solutions for sites of all sizes, for clients with virtually any preferences.”
Offsite volumetric construction allows high quality, bespoke housing projects to be delivered 30–60% quicker by building them in factories. In this method, windows, kitchens and even brickwork can be pre-installed on a production line, meaning that there is significantly less time and labour required on site.
To ensure that these factory-made buildings arrive on site exactly as intended, Ackroyd Lowrie have also pioneered a Virtual Reality sign-off process that allows their clients to walk around different versions of their future home using a VR headset. This allows the architects and designers to make changes to the design long before the 3D model is sent to the factory for production.
Liz Peace CBE, Chair of the Old Oak and Park Development Corporation, one of London’s key regeneration bodies, said of the research:
“The house building industry is not renowned for being particularly innovative but in offsite, volumetric housing we are confronted with something that could revolutionise the way we build homes and make a significant dent in the housing numbers we so desperately need. As an industry, we cannot let this opportunity pass us by.
Prefabricated homes gained a reputation for being repetitive and low quality due to those produced in the post-war period. However, nowadays modern factories can achieve bespoke designs using high quality materials, producing bespoke homes at a fraction or the cost.
That means construction can be completed in a matter of days instead of months. These buildings also tend to have fewer defects as they are built under factory conditions, keeping quality more consistent by removing variables such as the effect of weather on materials.
The bottom line is that by leveraging technology such as offsite construction builders can save a substantial amount of time on site, which translates into significant financial savings for the client.
This article was originally published on Forbes
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Alice Bonasio is a VR and Digital Transformation Consultant and Tech Trends’ Editor in Chief. She also regularly writes for Fast Company, Ars Technica, Quartz, Wired and others. Connect with her on LinkedIn and follow @alicebonasio on Twitter.
Originally published at Tech Trends.