Inside the Veev factory in Union City, rolls of recycled steel and stacks of white composite material are slowly turned into a most basic building block — walls.
Company CEO Amit Haller says the customization of these simple structures offers a nearly endless supply of design choices for creating new homes and apartments.
On a construction site, workers assemble the walls like a snap-together model, complete with plumbing, electrical systems, insulation and finished siding. The home or apartment is built in a fraction of the time it traditionally takes.
In a state with new housing laws knocking down single-family home restrictions in an effort to boost supply, is this what new home construction will look like?
“We need to shorten the time to construct a home. That’s where we can help,” said Haller, a supporter of California’s new regulations. “We see the home as a product.”
Making small, infill housing faster and cheaper to build is the bottom line for new construction in the ultra-expensive Bay Area, where land and construction costs top nearly every developed region in the world.
The Union City factory still has the capacity to ramp up production. Workers and machines piece together walls made of two simple materials — steel andhigh-performance surface panels made of a composite, non-porous material that can be shaped and designed into wall paneling, custom closets, sinks, bathtubs and any number of other household necessities.
The company has completed projects in San Jose, Menlo Park and Palo Alto, and is working on a collection of townhomes in San Carlos. Four of the new homes have already been sold for a little over $2 million each. And Haller said panel construction can be scaled up from small backyard units to six-story apartment complexes.
Big developers are already betting on factory-builds. Veev received a $97 million investment from home building giant Lennar. “It’s really,” Haller said, “a plug-and-play system.”