Developer builds modular homes in Vallejo, to truck to Oakland and San Francisco
By Tom Vacar
KTVU Fox 2
6 February 2018
College of Environmental Design alumnus Rick Holliday (MCP ‘77) is at the forefront of the modular construction movement, a construction style in which modular housing is built in off-site factories in order to cut costs and make production more efficient.
Currently, Holliday has occupied a 250,000 square foot building on Mare Island in Vallejo, California in order to build affordable, stackable, three-to-five story modular units. The building site, named Factory OS, was once the site in which the U.S. Navy built submarines for Word War II.
Once completed, the apartment units will be transported to locations such as Oakland and San Francisco where it is much more expensive to build. The apartment units will be assembled atop parking structures.
"We're setting 135 apartments and we're gonna put them up in about 30 days," Holliday said, referring to a recently concluded San Francisco project. "We're gonna build these and deliver them for less than half of what we think conventional building will be."
The whole San Francisco project took less than a year to complete. With such speed and efficiency, Holliday is on track to “turn out multi-family, stacked apartment buildings at a rate and volume not imagined by traditional builders”.
The modular units are also incredibly cost-efficient and could save even more money if the city lowered or eliminated the costs associated with permits and inspections for the units.
Factory OS has plans to construct 2,000 to 3,5000 apartment units this year. The quick construction is made possible by cranes, industrial air cushions, and roughly 250 union employees who will build the units from the inside out. The modules can get as large as 16 by 7 feet and will likely contain two or more living units.
"We will have it ready, finished and done in nine months, to ten at most, and most any other project will be a minimum of two years," Holliday said.
Factory OS has already planned three projects: two in West Oakland and a third in El Cerrito, all near BART stations. "To close California's housing gap, we'll need at least 3.5 million new units built 2025," Holliday said. "That's plenty of work to say the least."