Time for a Change — How Construction Technologies Will Finally Revolutionize the Homebuilding Industry
It’s National Homeownership Month at a moment when, for most, the prospects of owning a home are challenged by unprecedented factors. The most obvious challenge is simply supply: there are more buyers than homes for sale. And for the mad-dash of developers seeking to meet the ever-increasing demand, the industry also lacks sufficient skilled trades willing and able to build at scale.
The future is bright.
Still, we see a future of greater access; enabled by greater supply, empowered by greater technology. A third age of homebuilding that is dawning through this dark time of supply chain issues, recession, and continued threat of pandemic. A total revolution of how communities are conceived and homes are built.
But we must change some of our ways.
It all begins by solving for one of the greatest issues in modern homebuilding and construction: data deficiency. Insights driven by data are critical in supporting scaling efforts, hurdling known challenges, and navigating the unpredictable. Yet, by the measure of one industry-leading consultancy, 96% of all industry data goes unused.
In fairness, it is somewhat justifiable that such a large and integral industry is still operating on yellow pads of lined paper. For the last several decades, the promise of technology has been overshadowed by the reality of salesmanship. Some sold integrated solutions, while looking past how achieving such nirvana was too costly or simply unattainable for most. Some sold larger scale capabilities, having not once built an actual home. Some sold futuristic building-method or supply-chain approaches, without the means to meet mass production.
The impossible is becoming possible.
“Fool us twice…” say the developers, as they peer skeptically at today’s new class of construction technology offerings. But the truly foolish thing right now, in a market that increasingly demands every drop of efficiency, would be to reject tomorrow on account of yesterday.
Tomorrow’s homebuilding process must utilize comprehensive, accessible data in order to make every step more predictable: infusing insight into decision-making, network dynamics into bidding, smart scheduling into management and reporting, and consistency in how vendors get paid.
Data accessibility further supports an elastic, dis-integrated model for construction where critical information is shared in real time across arms-length stakeholders. Where process solutions are effectively custom-fit across the spectrum of developers, projects, and scale, yet platformed in a way that makes them accessible to all. Imagine being able to change almost any part of the process midstream in reaction to any event, whether it’s a customer request, a market fluctuation, or dictated by conditions on the ground.
From greater predictability comes greater creativity.
Tomorrow’s developers will have the capacity to think about alternative materials, alternative methods of manufacturing, sustainability, and equity in ways they couldn’t have before.
Ultimately, more data also means more elasticity; the ability for all key stakeholders — the developer, the general contractor, and the trades — to scale up or down depending on the project.
If today is characterized by data-deficiency, then tomorrow must be defined by data-efficiency.
And it’s already happening.
This isn’t another promise or an altruistic imperative, but a reality that is already well underway. We know because Mosaic is already at its forefront, already elastic and dis-integrated, and already national.
Operational in Arizona, Texas, Colorado, and Idaho, with at least five more states to be added next year, we’re increasing our footprint – and, as such, our access to data – so as to increase the impact of our innovation. As no other tech platform has the expertise in also building homes that we do.
Today it’s hard to get faster and cheaper. But we can get better.
The promise of “faster, cheaper, better” thinned amongst pandemic and supply-chain woes, and was eventually laid to rest by rising construction costs and interest rates.
All of which are very much part of creating the challenges we face this National Homeownership Month. And all of which have accelerated the breakdown of centuries of vertical integration. Managing all stages of production under one roof constricts the entire supply chain. It does not actually streamline anything. Generations of trades then struggle under the pressure to work “faster, cheaper, and better,” while developers find margins increasingly difficult to maintain.
Fewer trades. Stalled projects. And a construction process that is predictably not much faster, not much cheaper, and no better today than it was before. But with greater data, the homebuilding and construction process will be better. Technology must and will address the many uncertainties in modern homebuilding and construction in order to make the process elastic, dis-integrated, predictable, and ultimately, more creative.