A US company launched in November 2020 to offer developers fast modular buildings has brought in heavyweight manufacturing executives, including from Tesla, to develop its engineering and automation capacity.
The company, called iBuilt, with head offices in New York and factories in Pennsylvania, grew out of long-established modular builder Deluxe Modular and claims to be able to deliver multi-storey buildings 20% cheaper and 50% faster than conventional construction can.
Kazim Aya was vice president of advanced automation at Corvac Composites, a supplier of airflow management and water-deflection systems to the automotive industry (iBuilt)
It says its proprietary BIM platform allows it to produce full designs and drawings in 30 days with a guaranteed price and construction schedule and the promise of no change orders.
On 6 January iBuilt announced that Gonzalo Gonzalez, former senior director of manufacturing engineering at Tesla, had joined as chief manufacturing officer, and on 22 February it said supply-chain automation veteran Kazim Aya had taken up the post of chief engineering and automation officer.Â
"iBuilt is disruptive. This company is reimagining the fundamentals of the construction industry by streamlining the design and build processes and making great strides towards efficiency," said Gonzalez. "Although the construction industry is one of the largest in the world, it’s the least digitised and has lacked innovation for decades. Joining the team presents an opportunity to be a changemaker and to create better and more efficient ways to build."
The company joins Silicon Valley start-up Katerra in attempting to lure developers to tech-driven modular construction. Katerra, however, has struggled with delays, cost overruns and layoffs. Earlier this year it emerged that its investor SoftBank had to inject another $200m into its coffers to prevent it from having to seek protection from creditors.Â
iBuilt says it has more than $150m in signed orders for buildings, and $600m of new deals in negotiation.
Kazim Aya joins iBuilt with 40 years of experience in supply chain management, manufacturing, automation technology and quality control systems. Before iBuilt, he was vice president of advanced automation at Corvac Composites, a supplier of airflow management and water-deflection systems to the automotive industry.
"I was instantly drawn to iBuilt because the company is on the front line of innovation in the construction industry," he said.
"No one in the industry does robotic-automated manufacturing and implementing this technology into our unique design-build-operate process will completely change the way buildings are built and enable us to deliver better buildings. Our new way of building will be as transformative as when the assembly line was introduced to automobile manufacturing 100 years ago."
Top image: In the iBuilt factory. The company says it can deliver multi-storey buildings 20% cheaper and 50% faster than conventional construction can (Photograph supplied by iBuilt)