‘Revolution’ in housing: DOST taps firm for new prefab technology
Houses that can be built in days, not years.
The government has partnered with a $1-billion local company in a bid to turn the country into a leader in prefabricated houses.
The partnership was sealed on Friday between the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the private firm Revolution Precrafted which aims to develop new technology that would make the Philippines a hub for prefabricated houses, especially in Southeast Asia.
Carlos Primo David, executive director of the DOST’s Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development, said since Revolution is a Filipino brand, science officials want to help provide the technological know-how in the prefab industry that would bring not only economic benefits, but also “create a positive societal impact.”
David said Revolution may yet disrupt “the entire construction and housing industry” in a positive way so DOST researchers “would figure out what we can do and how we can help.”
“We want this global brand to be truly Filipino, not only in terms of concept but also in the materials used and the research and development that go with it,” David said.
Founded by Robbie Antonio in 2015, Revolution is the Philippines’ first unicorn startup, which means that it was already valued at over $1 billion. The company specializes in providing prefabricated designer houses that can be shipped to anywhere in the world in 90 days.
Despite the company’s achievements, David said there’s still room to grow for the prefab industry, like materials that can be used for prefab, low-cost houses.
Research on these materials are essential to Revolution, according to Antonio. He said his company is looking at how to help the government rebuild communities ruined by storms, like Tacloban City, or wars, like Marawi City, with the use of prefab technology.
In the coming months, David said the DOST would either fund or cofund projects to create products which the industry could use. One of the projects in the pipeline is the curved fiber cement board that is currently available only in straight slabs in the market.
Asked about Revolution’s plans since it currently gets its materials from India and Malaysia, Antonio said the company would soon put up a plant in the Philippines which would use technology developed by DOST scientists and university researchers.
With the help of the DOST, Antonio said his company hopes to build a “plant that is so advanced.”
David said although the Philippines “missed the boat for so many technologies in the past,” the DOST was making sure it was part of Revolution’s concept.
He, however, warned of imitation products in the future. “If this catches on, there would be copycats everywhere. Since this is a Filipino brand let’s do our part to protect it,” David said.
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