Start-up in real estate in crisis | Предприниматель

Start-up in real estate in crisis

You can, if the creator has introduced a brand new market for the business model.

Bill Haney and Maura McCarthy took the decision to create a company for the production of prefabricated houses during the 2008 crisis, when the destruction befell many construction companies in the U.S., and it looked like an unexpected, and perhaps folly. They gathered to sell manufactured in a factory, designed by architect homes, corresponding to the “green” standards, designed for one family. Their homes were energy efficient appliances, and construction retains heat well. It was planned to reach an audience of buyers of upper-middle income, with environmental consciousness. Haney says that “since I had the courage to open a new business during a recession, this thing must be really unusual.”

Bill Haney, the owner of forty percent of the company, wears jeans, sport jacket and baseball cap, and free from the production house spends time shooting documentaries. (In his last film “Last Mountain”, he showed how coal is mined by open, which cut off the mountain. This film starred Robert F. Kennedy Jr.). From Maura McCarthy, capitalist, engaged in venture investment, Haney made the acquaintance in 2005 event, World Connect, a nonprofit organization of public health problems of developing countries. McCarthy and provided funds for the production of prefabricated houses.

These prefabricated (modular) design houses have been a popular topic for discussion in architectural journals during the rise in real estate. But the mass production of “green” buildings – in housing construction is an analogue of Toyota Prius – there was no economic effect. Difficult was the task of engineers – to construct a house that can fit on a truck platform, moreover, quite comfortable. In addition, buyers who care about the environment, many individuals are making adjustments. According to a former editor of Dwell magazine Eyrif Ellison, who wrote a book about modular homes in 2002, “the number of options to flow, which prevented the achievement of economic benefit from mass production. In the end, most projects are getting personal, which led to the ruin of some manufacturers. ”

The company Blu Homes, founded by Bill Haney and Maura McCarthy, headquartered in Uolteme, Mass., uses a completely different business model. Their advantage is the use of steel and special software. Their original software improves the automation of the design, production and order houses. A huge steel frames with hinges to help in the placement of the modules of houses on a standard Blu Homes, a width of 260 cm, and a trailer. These solutions enable companies to provide more options to customers and receive a profit. Preparation houses to be sent to the factory and build it in place are going to deliver the same work.

At the start of Blu Homes have managed to attract $ 25 million, as their business plan was realistic enough for a variety of investors, such as Abby Disney, great-niece of Walt Disney. A certain amount of investment has been directed to purchase mkDesigns, well-known manufacturer of prefabricated houses, which was founded by Michelle Kaufmann, San Francisco, and this acquisition provided the company a reputation for Blu Homes ‘green’ profile, and several awards for their architectural projects.

The company Blu Homes from its inception in 2008, managed to build 28 houses in the price range of $ 125,000 – $ 500,000 (this price does not include the price of land) and has received orders for 42 houses. Maura McCarthy hopes that his company supported by Blu Homes on the East Coast of the USA in 2013 to build 50 homes a year and be profitable. In 2011 it was planned to open a factory north of San Francisco. And what will happen again unless the decline in real estate? “Society tends to become more” green “, people try to save energy and maintain a healthier lifestyle – it was a cultural trend, and the economic difficulties will not change it” – says Haney.

In Massachusetts the factory Blu Homes, an area of ​​11,000 square meters. m, collected by the house Glidehouse, an area of ​​150 sq. km. m It is made to order from a retired senior engineer at Boeing in Seattle. The process takes about six weeks. When complete all the work, lay down their walls and floors, like a cardboard box, and the whole house – from the toilets with reduced water flow and ending with the kitchen sink – will fit on the loading platform. The dimensions of each wing of the building in the unfolded state – 5.5 m wide and 14.5 meters in length. When delivered to the construction of an assembly plant for its consolidation and connection of sections of leaves per day, and the other finishing work – about a week.

The system of CATIA, with which architects Blu Homes are constructed folding at home, developed by Dassault Systemes.Eta same program is used by Boeing to design and load testing aircraft. When you need to make changes to the project, the system determines the engineering parameters to calculate the cost estimate and sends for the costs of materials to the factory. Now the company Blu Homes is preparing a new interface with which customers will be able to look at the three-dimensional model of the building in virtual mode and go through thousands of options, starting with the location of the kitchen and finishing trims mark on the windows. The fact that Blu Homes uses steel frames instead of wooden, allows them to build resistance to strong winds and heavy snowfalls homes. Besides steel, the project gives the opportunity to place doors and windows almost anywhere due to lack of load-bearing walls. According to McCarthy, “it’s more like the way cars are constructed than to build houses.”

Indeed, the factory Blu Homes is associated with a large container assembly, and not to the construction site. With the loading area metal structures are sent directly to the shop where the cars are collected into separate parts, which are then welded to produce a framework. After a hitch in the exterior walls of the house rolls are rolled into the next shop, where workers install interior partitions, roof and insulation. Then work with drywall, cabinets and bathrooms. The house is fully assembled at the factory, and then build on the foundation carried out only minor painting and carpentry work. When working with two-story houses set the second floor with a crane.

Customers folding houses Blu Homes – is usually the inhabitants of the West and East coasts of the United States. To increase the speed Haney and McCarthy will have to reach a wider audience, attracting customers like Sandra Beer of the Albany, New York, growers own daughter and working at a regional television channel PBS fund-raising specialist. In 2010 she bought a house Blu Element, an area of ​​94 square meters. m Select the company, it explains the lack of work with many contractors. «Blu Homes just named my price, and I can cope with this” – she said.

Favorable factors for Haney and McCarthy is the patience of investors. “Now the terrible economic situation – said Abby Disney, which invested $ 3 million project – but Bill convinced that in the long run everything will fit properly. You just need to wait, and eventually things will change. “

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