Who doesn't wish to live in one-of-a-kind house?
Every year, hundreds of thousands of new homes are built in Europe. Many of them are custom-made, unique works of fine architecture and engineering.
Despite the number of successes, building a prefab wooden house is not as easy as it could be. Many give up just because they cannot find the right information from the start.
Can automation help the Prefab Wooden Houses Industry to run faster and better?
Often, the professionals hired for the job (architects/engineers) are not familiar enough with prefab technologies and they propose overly complex solutions. In most cases, these solutions end up to be impractical to manufacture and expensive to build.
Wouldn't it be more convenient for everyone if we had an easy way to choose and customize a prefab home?
What does a prefab house cost?
This is the one question everyone asks.
No matter how much one values design and quality, in the end the price comes into play… and it is usually the moment that makes or breaks the project.
Wouldn’t it be easier if we could talk about prices right from the start?
Yes, indeed it would.
The problem with custom-made homes is that dozens of tiny details have to be defined and each one of them has its own incidence on the final price. Some details have a big impact on costs while others move the needle a tiny bit. Yet, everything sums up and it must end up in the final count.
A typical Customer’s story goes through a never-ending ping-pong of variations between the home-buyer and the Producer… until a suitable price is found or one of the two gets tired of making changes.
Wouldn't it be easier if we could automatize this painful and time-consuming process?
A complex challenge
In 2015 Creatomus took the challenge of finding a solution to this problem. The Team of three founders (Kaiko Kivi - CEO, Renee Puusepp - COO, Martins Untals - CTO) began to work on a configurator that would allow home-buyers to customize models of houses and get a price estimate on the spot.
The Project was not easy and many turned down Creatomus from the very start. Yet, the brave Team kept working on the software solution until they were able to release a working prototype.
This was happening about a year ago.
The first house to be customizable was the Tube. We covered the Tube story in a previous article.
Creatomus configurator - Tube house.
Range of Tube houses created with Creatomus.
In November 2017, Creatomus released a new version of the configurator which brings A-frame houses in the hands of home-buyers. To make this happen, Creatomus partnered up with Avrame. Together they fine-tuned the configurator to get a good set of options and, at the same time, reliable prices.
Manufacturing houses like cars
The end goal of Creatomus and Avrame is to give anyone the possibility to entertain the idea of building a customized prefab wooden house. They wanted to make it so easy that one wants just to give it try.
It is much like the process we go through when buying a car: you start with a basic model and you add options.
Renee Puusepp explains the idea behind Creatomus:
“today no one would even think of building a car by themselves. We make cars in factories and everyone is cool with that. Factory production is proven to be faster, cost-effective and to deliver higher and more consistent quality”.
“Why should we build houses in a different way?”
Once a suitable configuration is found for the A-frame house, Creatomus puts the buyer in contact with the Producer (or with an Architect). The buyer can then receive professional help to refine his choice.
Everyone benefits from this.
Home-buyers can play with the configurator until they get a version that works well for them. They can change it and refine it until it comes to a suitable price.
This saves time and avoids the frustrations of the classic trial-and-error house-buying process.
Architects are involved when a buyer needs help to refine the architectural concept. At this stage, the buyer has already a clear idea of what he/she wants and he already has a reference price. This makes the work of the Architect much easier and faster.
Manufacturers receive very clear requests for price offers. This results in less time spent on discussing details.
In the ideal scenario, the buyer reaches the Manufacturer only after an Architect has reviewed the project. This way, the project is well qualified to go to production and the Manufacturer has all the interest to make a good price offer for it.
Besides providing 3D models and a price, Creatomus creates better-informed Customers and better projects... and this is exactly what the Prefab Wooden Homes Industry needs to evolve.
If this works, is it really possible to scale it up to build any kind of house?
At the moment the answer is NO.
At present Creatomus works only with pre-made architectural models. Those models can be modified and adjusted within certain limits. So one cannot really build a dream home designed from scratch.
At the moment, the limitation of this technology is that the design has to be simple enough to be modeled in a parametric form.
In the future, more choices will be available to buyers.
When more manufacturers and more architects join the Creatomus project, more house modelswill be added to the system.
Today, Creatomus is perfect for pricing prefabricated home kits and we look forward to seeing more manufacturers acknowledging that and jumping onboard with their own models.
Also , the prices returned by Creatomus do not include transport and any eventual special customizations required by the buyer. To include those in the price offer the buyer must contact the Manufacturer directly.
Creatomus is determined to become a widely adopted solution among Architects and Manufacturers, with the common intent to strengthen and grow the Prefab Wooden Houses Industry.
You can try Creatomus configurators here: