Pre-fab buildings and its impact on society

Prefabricated building, a type of building that consists of several factory-built components or units that are then assembled on-site to complete the unit, has been growing in popularity.

Last year, a nine storey apartment building consisting of 34 one and two bedroom apartments, was constructed in Melbourne in only 120 hours. This year, the city of Amsterdam will be providing prefab pop-up rental houses on vacant city lots. I'm bringing this up to show that the full impact and possibilities of prefabs have not been fully considered.

Why rent a hotel room or a room on AirBnB when you can rent a rental house that will be ready by the time you arrive in the city? Prefab pop-up rental units should scare the hospitality sector. Housing policies and building ordinances will have to adjust to the rapid turnaround cycle of prefab buildings. Imagine a pop-up neighborhood that appears overnight. How will the city react to such a rapid development? 

Rendering of what a pop-up neighborhood of houses might look like as envisioned by the Dutch building company Hejimans.

Rendering of what a pop-up neighborhood of houses might look like as envisioned by the Dutch building company Hejimans.

Housing policies and building ordinances are generally slower to react due to the burden of bureaucracy. As governments adjust to the "sharing economy" of companies like AirBnB and Uber, they should also start planning on how to adjust to the "prefab economy" - where things are rapidly constructed to fulfill a users' need. So far, no one seems ready for the change that's on the horizon.