How code could make multifamily construction more predictable

Social Construct aims to break down multifamily development into standardized parts. Just don't call it modular housing.

New York /
Jul.July 23, 2020 02:00 PM

When first looking to raise funds for their construction-tech startup in 2017, Ben Huh and Michael Yarne steered clear of investors from the industry they were hoping to shake up. Instead, the founders of Social Construct went the traditional venture route, believing that outsider money would let them be bolder.

“They [venture capitalists] don’t get worried when you quack or when you squeal or when you fly,” said Huh, CEO of the firm and the former head of meme empire I Can Has Cheezburger? “They’re like, ‘Well, should you be doing that? I don’t know.'”

Huh and Yarne caught up with The Real Deal’s Hiten Samtani for an extended conversation about their company and what they hope to do for multifamily construction: make it cheaper, faster, and more predictable, akin to an assembly line.

“We go in and say, ‘Okay, let’s eliminate 99 percent of the variation that has zero value,'” Huh said. “What would that system look like? Can we make a riser that goes straight up and down in a stud bay?”

The reason construction jobs are so expensive, according to Yarne, is that subcontractors price uncertainty into their labor estimates given that a job site is such an unpredictable, messy environment. Making it more predictable through technology, he argued, could provide some cost relief to developers, and make an opaque business a lot more accessible.

To read an extended version of this conversation, subscribers can click here.

For more of The REInterview, a series of in-depth conversations with real estate leaders and newsmakers hosted by Hiten Samtani, click here.


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
What will proptech look like in 2019 and beyond?
What will proptech look like in 2019 and beyond?
What will proptech look like in 2019 and beyond?
From left: Jeff Goldberg, CEO of Fairstead, and Will Blodgett, Founder of Tredway (Getty Images, Fairstead)
Fairstead fires back, alleges Blodgett threatened to go “torched earth”
Fairstead fires back, alleges Blodgett threatened to go “torched earth”
Durst Organization's Douglas Durst, Jamestown's Michael Phillips and One Times Square (Durst Organization, Jamestown, Getty, Bernt Rostad from Oslo, Norway edited by Yarl/CC BY 2.0/via Wikimedia Commons)
Durst sues Jamestown over Times Square scaffolding
Durst sues Jamestown over Times Square scaffolding
Photo illustration of Carlyle's David Rubenstein and Jason Hart (Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)
Watch: Uncovering Carlyle’s Brooklyn buying spree
Watch: Uncovering Carlyle’s Brooklyn buying spree
A photo illustration of the Broadway Spanish Baptist Church (Google Maps, Getty Images)
Harlem church seeks state approval for redevelopment plans
Harlem church seeks state approval for redevelopment plans
Watch: behind the wild and crazy housing market
Watch: What’s behind the wild and crazy housing market?
Watch: What’s behind the wild and crazy housing market?
A photo illustration of the national housing shortage (iStock)
Strapped supply turned housing shortages national before pandemic frenzy
Strapped supply turned housing shortages national before pandemic frenzy
Assembly OSM CEO Andrew Staniforth with an illustration of the building design (AOSM)
Modular startup raises $38M, says it’s “the opposite of Katerra”
Modular startup raises $38M, says it’s “the opposite of Katerra”
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...