Seattle startup Blokable plans to use modular units, called Bloks, for new construction with the goal of cutting 30 to 50 percent off build time and saving developers approximately 10 percent on costs, reports GeekWire.
Blokable will build just about everything. Single-family homes, accessory dwelling units that share property with existing homes, market-rate apartment buildings, and affordable housing are all part of the company’s offerings.
Customers can choose modular deck, stair, railing, and window systems as well as premium kitchens and bathrooms. The Bloks are constructed in Vancouver, then trucked to the construction site where they are craned onto the foundation, connected to utilities, and stacked up to five stories high.
Blokable’s CEO, Aaron Holm was a product manager for Amazon’s bookstores, of which there are now 13 planned or built. He also helped develop the checkout-less Amazon Go convenience concept, reports GeekWire.
“While I was working with Amazon on Amazon Go and Amazon Books I started to connect the inefficiencies of custom built architecture and construction with what I was seeing with homelessness and housing affordability in Seattle,” writes Holm on the Blokable blog. “There was a huge need for new housing but no way to place an order. Every build was a custom job that started from scratch and took many months or years to build even the simplest of projects. The process was incredibly inefficient; like hiring a team of people to take a year to build you a car in your driveway. It seemed obvious that someone needed to build a housing product that could be ordered, built just in time in a factory, delivered on a truck, and installed on site in a matter of months or weeks.”
Holm brought this innovative spirit to Blokable’s design. All Bloks will come equipped with smart home technology that includes a tablet on the wall with the ability to control temperature, lighting and other aspects of the unit. Residents can ‘set and forget’ scenes to bundle smart home functions and set the Blok into ‘Home,’ ‘Away,’ ‘Sleep,’ or ‘Vacation’ mode. The technology is even integrated with the social platform, Slack, giving residents the opportunity to chat with property managers.
The company is hoping to raise about $3 million for the project and has already brought in $1.36 million in funding.