International Conference on Factory Built Housing: Innovation in Home Manufacturing
The idea of building homes in factories has taken hold in many parts of the world. Factory building is an emerging or growing part of the housing markets in many of the most industrialized nations and often for the same reasons, including: cost efficiency, increased quality and speed of site assembly. In these and other areas, factory building is one of the most promising approaches for meeting the global need for quality, affordable shelter.
While the factors that spur industrialization of housing may be the same across borders, the resulting form of the technology, the market entry point, home design and other aspects that characterize the local form of factory built housing are far from uniform. Worldwide, factory building is differentiated by a rich variety of building methods, materials and degree of automation. Factory building practices have evolved in areas such as Asia, the EU and North America with surprisingly little cross fertilization, despite in some cases, similarities in building practices (for example, the pervasive use of wood framing in both Scandinavia and the US/Canada).
The objective of the work which this report describes was to evaluate the opportunity and need for, and potential benefits of, an international conference on factory built housing. An additional objective was to begin to characterize the content and structure of such a conference. The method used was to conduct a planning summit, bringing together delegations representing a range of countries, to debate the merits and content of a potential conference or other means of achieving the goal of sharing information on factory building globally.
The Summit participants concluded that the best means of exchange for learning about international innovations in factory building would be a conference with a dual technical and business orientation.