May 24, 2019
ADL Seminar Showcases Potential Market Impact of US Pre-Fab Consortium
ADL Ventures and some of its key public and private sector collaborators brought together a unique cross-section of building technology stakeholders on May 16th for a special seminar on the critical need for a unified consortium approach to driving US economic competitiveness in off-site / pre-fab construction .
Hosted by Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, the seminar “A New Paradigm for Building Technology Development & Commercialization” (presentation link), featured ADL Managing Director Nolan Browne and panelists from 3 distinct sectors of the construction industry – Tyson Kindstrom of Sto Corp (building enclosure technologies), Dr. Arthur J. Yang of ISTN / Liatris Inc. (advanced insulation materials), and Bob Simmons of ConXTech (mass-produced modular framing). 30+ attendees from the lab and another 30+ dial-in attendees covering various public and private sector organizations attended.
ADL’s Browne expanded upon a key theme first introduced in a January talk at LBNL – the unique and urgent opportunity for the US government to help drive a broad-based consortium to advance off-site / pre-fab construction, a sector with potential GDP impact of $350 billion per year. As assembly-line manufacturing practices disrupt traditional “stick-built” construction, the US faces tremendous opportunities as well as risks.
“The pre-fab industry IS the construction industry,” said Browne, citing advanced construction markets like Sweden where up to 90% of buildings are produced using off-site techniques. “Customers are increasingly seeking a solution for the entire building… today the entire building can often be shipped cost-effectively from somewhere like China or Poland.”
Browne highlighted ADL’s existing initiatives funded by the US Dept. of Energy (DOE) to create viable domestic supply in the pre-fab market, including the recent Building Materials Challenge (“BMC”) supported by DOE’s Pathways program for market acceleration. As part of BMC, ADL helped Sto, a $1B mid-cap construction player seeking to tap into pre-fab related growth markets, in evaluating 400+ potential start-up technologies geared toward addressing key customer / end-user needs.
“Mid-cap and small-cap companies make up the majority of our economy, but often lack the resources and time for internal innovation,” said Browne. “Conversely, start-ups with cutting-edge technology need to identify customer interest and product-market fit to raise adequate scale-up funding. The BMC was our initial effort in pulling these pieces together, and serves as an important example for how we could further encourage domestic competitiveness and market growth in pre-fab construction”
“The pre-fab market is a significant priority for Sto,” added Kindstrom. “Our new products must serve existing markets as well as tap into growth markets as consolidation and integration becomes more prevalent in the construction world. The BMC was the ideal mechanism for identifying the appropriate innovation channels.”
SPECIAL THANKS TO ALL OF OUR SPEAKERS (Sto Corp, Liatris Inc, ConXTech) AND VENDORS (SF Gelateria, La Val’s Pizza) FOR THEIR PARTICIPATION. CHECK BACK SOON FOR FURTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS ON THE BMC RESULTS AND OTHER ADL BUILDING TECHNOLOGY INITIATIVES…