He sees the modular and prefabricated sector as one which can lead to improved affordable housing and social housing, backed by the impact investing sector, but only if done right.
Geoff Gourley, who is one of the most informed people in the building, development and sustainability industry and founder of Impact Investment Fund, told The Fifth Estate that the industry is still very “young and immature,” in his judgement. And that means a rocky road with successes and failures.
At base is the fundamental question of price. You can get a volume built house for $900 a square metre, but a prefab modular home you will pay between $2500 as sq m and $3000.
Gourley says one of the best performers in the sector right now is Prebuilt, based at Kilsyth, in Melbourne’s East.
“They started around [10 years ago] and then got into commercial buildings like schools.
“Archiblox seem to be going okay. They have good marketing and no automation.”
Gourley says the ructions are a shame because prefab and modular is the “way to go to innovate and become more sustainable.”
His advice to the industry is “if you want to do it properly you need to be well backed financially. You need a big investment to do that. Need to be surrounded by the right people and the right advice and it needs to be designed right from the start.
“I’m now seeing architects coming to me and others saying, ‘can you convert this design into prefab modular?’ and the answer is you have to design it right from the start.”
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