When we last checked in with Katerra, it was a company with lots of cash and big plans for disrupting the construction industry. They recently held their Katerra Take Off event in Las Vegas as a sort of coming-out party and status update on how they are doing. Here’s what they presented that is most germane to the multifamily housing industry.
Changing the game
Katerra was founded 3 ½ years ago to revolutionize the construction industry. Their mantra is “better, faster, cheaper”.
Construction is one of the few industries in the country which is still doing things basically the same way that they have been done for 50 years. Katerra aims to disrupt this industry by moving more of the construction process into factories, offering standardized designs optimized for factory construction, pursuing vertical integration and leveraging their proprietary technology throughout the design and construction processes. Ordering a building from Katerra could come to be like ordering a car from the factory. You choose the base model you want and then you have the ability to customize it through the selection of a variety of options.
Simplicity and options
At the Katerra Take Off event, Katerra introduced two base model buildings. The first is a market rate garden style apartment building. They chose this as their introductory product because 125,000 units of this class of product are being built in the United States every year.
The product is three story walk up building which can be configured with 12 different floor plans. The plans include a studio plan, 5 different one-bedroom plans, 4 different two-bedroom plans and 2 different three-bedroom plans. The building can be built with wood or light steel framing. The unit interiors can be built with a variety of finish levels. There are roof configuration and exterior cladding options to choose from. The product can also be built with a solar-ready roof and it offers a path to net-zero.
The other product Katerra introduced is targeted at workforce housing. It is available in 3 building types with 4 floor plans. It is also available with wood or light steel framing and comes with 3 balcony options and 6 finish packages.
Both the market rate and workforce housing products are designed for building code, energy code, accessibility, structural and HVAC compliance in the 48 contiguous states. The designs will be available in June 2019 for feasibility studies and product will begin shipping from Katerra’s factories in Q4 2019.
Katerra has always had big plans. At the Katerra Take Off event, they let the world know that 2019 is the year when those plans will come to fruition. Look for more coverage of this innovative company from Multihousing Pro.