Posts Tagged ‘berkeley’

U.K. Builders Eye Prefab in Anticipation of Brexit

March 14th, 2017 Comments off

A prefab home in progress on site. Credit: Reuters.

While the U.K. continues to struggle with an affordable housing crisis, a new concern for some of the larger homebuilders in the country has cropped up.

Those leading homebuilders, including Berkeley, Taylor Wimpey, and Persimmon have said they are either planning new developments of prefabricated homes or are considering doing so.

Their challenge is two fold – to solve the affordable housing crisis, and the potential for an even larger loss of skilled construction workers that could be brought on by Brexit.

According to Global Construction Review, a report by Dutch engineer Arcadis in February estimated that the homebuilding industry as a whole could see a reduction of as many as 214,000 workers by 2020 should the U.K exit the European Union.

The situation would be felt most in and around London, where 95,000 of London’s construction workers – more than a quarter of the total, have EU nationality.

Berkeley has said that they will produce their first factory built homes this year, beginning with 16 homes in London, but they have 50 more homes in the pipeline.

Taylor Wimpey is also exploring ways to ‘future proof’ our business and is considering offsite construction options,” said divisional managing director John Gainham.

Persimmon has maintained a factory in central England for a long time, which is part of a business called Space4, that makes prefabricated timber frames for about 40 percent of all its houses.

Space4 is now looking at proposals to either increase volumes at our existing factory or building another factory elsewhere in Britain,” said regional executive Richard Oldroyd.

We have a desire to reduce the company’s dependence on traditional labor like bricklayers.


The Persimmon factory. Credit: Reuters.

As regular Daily Business News readers are already aware, insurance giant Legal & General has said that they have the secret for modular and prefab lending, and they are setting up a 550,000-square-foot factory near Leeds, intended to be “the largest modular homes construction factory in the world.


Legal & General factory. Credit: Legal & General.

All of the various initiatives clearly have the large incumbents thinking about what’s next.

Fundamentally, the construction industry has been doing some things the same way for hundreds of years,” said Berkeley Chairman Tony Pidgley.

Historically, we had the labor … But the challenge is different now.

For more on modular and prefab housing in the U.K., including China National Building Material Company (CNBM), Barcelona Housing Systems and U.K. housing association Your Housing Group (YHG) joining forces to build six prefab factories that will deliver 25,000 energy efficient homes per year by 2022, click here. ##


(Image credits are as shown above.)



RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

Tiny Prefab Builder Takes His Show on the Road

January 27th, 2017 Comments off

Inside of a MicroPAD. Credit: Berkeley Side.

Patrick Kennedy, owner of Panoramic Interests, a San Francisco, California based developer specializing in prefab homes, believes he has a partial solution to the Bay Area’s chronic homelessness problem.

Now he’s invited the East Bay city of Berkeley to take a look at that solution with a prototype installed next to City Hall.

According to Berkeley Side, Kennedy, whom the Daily Business News covered recently in his quest to solve the homeless challenge in San Francisco, believes the answer lies in the MicroPAD — a fully furnished, 20 by eight foot steel box, reminiscent of a shipping container that’s designed to house one person, or possibly a couple.

The formula? Stack many of them on top of each other, and they become a building of small housing units.


Patrick Kennedy. Credit: Biz Journals.

Homelessness has reached a boiling point, and it’s going to get worse,” said Kennedy.

This is a way of creating fast and effective permanent housing for people without homes. And many people are just one paycheck away from being homeless.

Kennedy hopes to build micro housing in Berkeley and nearby Oakland, with an overall goal of providing housing for 5,000 Bay Area homeless people in the next five years.

The Berkeley city council appears to be open to the idea. Council members Ben Bartlett and Linda Maio put an item on the council meeting agenda recently to discuss the units.


Berkeley, in red. Credit: Google.

The recommendation is that the city identify public land where such housing could be erected, obtain zoning and permitting approval for a 4-story, 100-unit building, identify a housing nonprofit to manage and operate the property, and establish criteria to determine who would be eligible to live there.


Linda Maio and  Ben Bartlett. Credit: Official photos.

I ran across micro-units about a year ago and I was really excited,” said Bartlett.

Having people on the street is a huge concern for me and my constituents. The waiting time for housing for many of the homeless is over a decade and the funding sources for supportive housing is drying up. This could be a way to build housing rapidly and cheaply — it looks like a silver bullet.

As was the case in San Francisco, Kennedy is aware his proposals will be met with some scrutiny, and perhaps resistance, in Berkeley.

He also believes there is an urgency to address the ongoing housing crisis, and that there are options for funding.

Paying for housing city by city is problematic,” said Kennedy.

Why should Berkeley fund it all? Homeless people are not citizens of any city. It would make sense for the county, or even the state to fund it, to spread the burden, use some creative financing.


A view of the MicroPAD. Credit: Berkeley Side.

At least one member of the homeless community is already scrutinizing the idea.

Me and one of my friends have seen the MicroPAD and it doesn’t look very well built,” said Mike Zint, founder of First They Came for the Homeless.

Zint and other advocates support building “tiny homes” as a solution.

Homeless advocate Mike Lee said that he believes tiny homes can be built for $10,000 each.

As Daily Business News readers are already aware, the rules governing tiny homes vary greatly by county, as we covered in the case of a Washington State builder recently. ##

(Image credits are as shown above.)


RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

Tiny Homes Recommended for Princeton, New Jersey

September 4th, 2014 Comments off

tiny_homes__oregonlive_com__techdwell_the_builderWriting in, Anne Waldron Neumann tells MHProNews the Tiny House movement is attractive because it is off the grid—solar panels, recycled building materials, composting toilets, propane tanks—and it offers an anti-consumerism while still being community/neighborhood-friendly. She even suggests they could create more population density in Princeton, New Jersey by parking them in the driveways of affluent homes. She says, “Modular tiny houses, assembled inside factories, could provide steady construction jobs and disaster-relief housing. Tiny houses could form neighborhoods of market-rate and low-income homes. And they could easily be reconfigured as community centers, clinics, or daycare facilities.

We Princetonians can be as forward-thinking and socially conscious as Berkeley, Austin, or Portland residents. Our zoning laws don’t permit RVs parked in driveways but only in garages. But what about tiny houses? How quickly can we reconcile our ordinances with our cultural values and accommodate these eco-friendly, people-friendly, neighborhood-friendly, brave new tiny worlds? How quickly can Princeton accommodate anything new and good? ” MHProNews has posted previous stories about tiny homes. ##

(Image credit: the builder–tiny house)

Carol Galante leaving FHA Head Post

August 11th, 2014 Comments off

carol galante  hud govMHProNews has been informed Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Commissioner Carol Galante will be leaving her position at the end of the year to become an affordable housing professor at the University of California, Berkeley. With the agency for five years, the last two as commissioner, while the FHA has helped finance homebuyers of more modest means since the housing collapse in 2008, it took a lot of heat for the $1.7 billion taxpayer bailout last year to cover losses on loans that went bad since the collapse. According to, the agency has adjusted the premiums it charges for the loans it insures, and the White House has asserted the agency will not need another transfusion of taxpayer dollars this year. An informed source says, “This is a good example of why having a career person in the MH administrator’s job is good,” because the career person “…won’t be impacted by Carol’s departure.” ##

(Photo credit: Department of Housing and Urban Development)

Modular Construction Facilities Expanding in California

July 7th, 2014 Comments off

Jeff Luchetti Construction began JL Modular nine years ago and is now taking it to a higher level with a 45,000 square foot factory on tap to open this fall in Windsor, California to meet growing demand for modular facilities, especially schools that need more classroom space, according to Traditionally built classrooms can take up to 18 months for state approval and completion, while modular construction can be state approved and finished in ten to twelve weeks. MHProNews has learned JL Modular is also involved in modular multifamily and hospitality projects, as well as a contract for modular buildings for the University of California, Berkeley to begin this year and be completed in 2015. ##

(Photo credit: JLModular/