A new prefabricated construction firm is hoping to bring home building to uncharted territory—the assembly line.
Boxabl, a Las Vegas-based home construction startup, is hoping to use its patented technologies to manufacture affordable, prefabricated, and transportable homes on a large scale. Its box units will be built and finished in the Boxabl factory and then shipped to the construction site, where they will fit together to create customizable home designs.
Each prefabricated box is 42 feet long by 18 feet 9 inches wide and can be folded down, even when fully finished, to an 8-foot-6 width. Bolted to Boxabl’s patented space-saving wheel technology, the packed units can be moved within existing transport regulations and are not considered oversized loads. One unit—weighing between 8,000 to 12,000 pounds depending on its finish—can be transported using a modern pickup truck to save time and money, the company says.
With this system, the company, founded by Paolo Tiramani of 500 Group, Inc., aims to bring assembly-line efficiency to the construction industry, a transition it believes is long overdue.
“Several hundred years late, the biggest product in the world, with one of the biggest markets, finally meets the biggest innovation in manufacturing: the assembly line,” the company says.
In the Boxabl factory, units will pass through six stations where home building specialists like plumbers and electricians will perform specialized tasks to create the end product. Boxabl claims the system can bring down the time it takes to construct a two-bedroom home to 90 percent completion from six months to six hours.
“Boxabl will create a dramatic societal shift in housing accessibility by creating something the world has never seen before: true mass production of buildings, in a factory, on a large scale,” says Galiano Tiramani, chief strategy officer of Boxabl.
The 750-square-foot units are designed on a grid system with consistent placement of doors and windows, ensuring that they can be matched together to create large configurations. They come in a number of different floorplans and finishes and can be stacked as high as 7 stories. Customers will be able to design homes online, and inventoried boxes will be available for shipment as early as the next day, the company claims.
The rooms' sealed composite walls forego traditional wall studs in favor of a single support beam spanning the wall’s length, which houses power wiring and other utilities. This also allows insulation to run uninterrupted throughout the wall, improving the building’s envelope, the company says.
With its cost-saving manufacturing, packing, and shipping technology, Boxabl hopes to address issues of housing access. According to the 2017 State of the Nation’s Housing report from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, one-third of American households spend more than 30 percent of their incomes on housing, and nearly 39 million households cannot afford their housing. Boxabl’s efficient and affordable units could alleviate this burden.
“When we are talking about access to suitable living conditions on an international scale, cutting costs and increasing access to financing options means less human suffering,” Boxabl CEO Paolo Tiramani says. “The innovations of the Boxabl mission means the possibility for a societal transformation to become a reality.”
The company also plans to use its next-day shipping ability to aid in international disasters. In addition to developers, general contractors, and big box retailers, the Boxabl team is marketing their product to disaster relief agencies as a temporary, reusable, and quickly deployed housing solution for crisis situations.
“Imagine if the day after hurricane Harvey hit Texas, Boxabl shipped thousands of rooms that could be set up in a day,” the company hypothesizes. “Once the emergency passed they are easily moved and reassembled into finished buildings, providing not only shelter, but useful jobs and new communities.”
Boxable is currently in phase two—the second prototype phase—of its 12-phase development plan, which goes as far as international expansion and AI-automated factories. If they successfully raise the necessary funds, Tirmani expects 6-9 months before the first Boxabl units are ready to be sold.