Construction News

Sat November 28 2020

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Arup partners with start-up to drive offsite construction

20 Nov Arup has teamed up with a tech start-up with the aim of making offsite construction more affordable and greener.

WoHo was founded by a group of engineers, designers and architects with ties to Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Georgia Tech. The start-up, which is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has raised US$4.5m (£3.4m) in seed funding to advance pilot projects in the USA.

A multidisciplinary team from Arup is working with WoHo and its energy and environmental consultants to develop energy-efficient and scalable solutions in structural, mechanical, electrical and public health engineering. The team is providing consulting services for compliance with building codes and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

A pilot project is slated to kick off in Boston in 2021, aimed at putting the team a step closer to achieving its goal of revolutionising the way prefabricated buildings are designed and constructed.

Arup principal and project director Mark Walsh-Cooke said: “Arup is committed to sustainable development and we are proud to collaborate with clients like WoHo who are aiming to provide housing which both is affordable and has a low carbon footprint. By making prefabricated construction more economical, sustainable and scalable, the WoHo system could help urban planners and developers address some of the most pressing challenges faced by today’s cities.”

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WoHo aims to create a single, streamlined platform that supports the design, manufacture and construction of high-quality buildings with unprecedented precision and efficiency. The WoHo system uses a series of discrete components that can be scaled and configured to span residential and commercial buildings such as multi-family housing, hotels, dormitories, labs and offices. The team said that the design and engineering behind the components can be reused, driving efficiency and consistency and offering a high level of customisation to each project.

“While modular construction has existed for decades, it has suffered from an association with low-end, low-quality materials,” said WoHo CEO and co-founder Israel Ruiz. “[WoHo] will disrupt home and multi-use buildings, as developers and suppliers can more quickly and efficiently meet sustainability standards to address affordability and the housing shortage.”

The ultimate objective is bring about radical improvements in construction time, affordability and sustainability of high-quality buildings.

“At WoHo we are front-loading the building design and engineering process for architectural and environmental benefit,” said president and co-founder Debora Mesa. “We are bringing the insight and knowledge of respected experts to collaborate with our in-house team assessing our products and crafting a successful path from factory to market.”

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