HPN members from around the country tour Denver-based industrialized multifamily building construction factory
Industrialized construction is a type of Advanced Building Construction (ABC) that can create energy-efficient, low-carbon buildings at scale. As part of HPN’s Green and Healthy Communities agenda, it has been a priority to explore emerging opportunities that ABC can bring to the affordable housing sector, and is a growing area of interest to mission-driven affordable housing developers.
During HPN’s Fall Member Meeting in Denver, twenty-four HPN members learned more about Prescient Co. an innovative company working to bring industrialized construction to multifamily housing.
Prescient’s digital design-build system creates an exact digital replica of the complete building to increase efficiencies and reduce risks. Manufacturing involves crafting recycled galvanized steel into uniform and standardized components that are assembled on-site in the final phase much more quickly than comparable stick-built structures. Recycled steel results in buildings that have very limited settlement, are non-combustible, able to withstand seismic shakes and high winds, and resistant to mold and termites.
The visit began with a bus tour of three Prescient projects in downtown Denver -- one affordable housing and supportive housing project (Renaissance Downtown Lofts developed by Colorado Coalition for the Homeless) and two market-rate projects (Alexan 20th Street Station and Denargo Market III). Magued Eldaief, Prescient CEO and Chris Hirst, Senior Vice President of CBG Building Company were able to give insight to the construction process using the Prescient method.
At the factory, HPN members observed the machinery involved in creating manufactured building components (which included laser cutters and mechanical robotic arms), witnessed the precise work of the factory team, and examined a life-sized mockup of the early phases of construction using assembled recycled galvanized steel components. Members asked insightful questions about such topics as transportation costs associated with getting elements from the factory to the construction site; differences in development financing and; and the complexities of insuring the different stages of industrialized construction projects.
“It was intriguing to experience first-hand the environmental rationale and tailored manufacturing of Prescient’s unique design-build approach using recycled steel structural systems. While the overall development costs are similar to traditional stick construction, there is measurable reduction in human error, the building’s carbon footprint and project delivery time. All of those benefits help to reduce the total project budget and deliver a healthier, affordable product sooner to families in need.”Greta J. Harris President & CEO, Better Housing Coalition
Industrialized construction has the potential to create numerous green jobs and allow the US housing market to see higher performance, faster deployment, limited disruptions to the construction schedule, better quality control, advanced usage of technology, and workforce benefits. Its application to multi-family housing is a nascent industry in the United States and there are significant learnings to be had as the industry matures. With a substantial pipeline/growth plan for multifamily homes built by our network, HPN’s Green and Healthy Communities team continues to bring opportunities like this and find more ways to tap into more sustainable, cost-efficient and beneficial housing solutions for our members.