Where is the R&D in Home Building?
Tiny Homes are testing the market every day to see what customers want. Home Builders are constantly experimenting with design, function, and affordability. Then you have every dog and their brother building homes—some know what their doing and some don’t. The point is that a home is a big widget with a lot of parts that make up the whole. There are building codes to be met and engineering requirements to be adhered to and all those things vary from region to region and from country to country. Then there’s always the cost which for most people is a defining moment in their decision making. So where’s the value? Well at the lowest common denominator the value is in the fact that a home provides shelter.
What is R&D in home building?
Research and Development ALWAYS pushes an entity to redefine themselves every day in order to meet the changing needs in society. Where you buy your Corn Flakes isn’t as important as to whether you got your Corn Flakes when you wanted them, at a fair price and they were actually the Corn Flakes you’ve grown to love. There is nothing more disappointing to a customer then to find out that the entity forgot to do their research and didn’t meet the three needs of all customers, quality, price and lead-time. Granted one size doesn’t fit all, but maybe 5 -10 home designs will satisfy 80% of the market need, so that we aren’t turning our day into trying to satisfy where momma wants to place the mud room. In reality the placement of objects in a space is totally subjective—not that function or feature isn’t merited but the knowing of where to place it so that it functions well is a design constraint, and not something taken on a whim.
Builders claim that design (R&D), costs—and it does, custom design that is!
Well designed features and form don’t cost extra if you don’t have to change them constantly. In using “good” design we mean using design tools that make it easier, turning a complex widget into manageable parts. For decades home builders operated on the premise that you could reduce design down into one common denominator for calculating costs—square footage, or the costs per square foot. Seems like a reasonable approach—who cares what the design entails! Under that umbrella builders have been able to get away with housing that looks like your three year old designed it, but they still charge the home owner the going rate by the square foot—does that make any sense at all?
Because its what drives innovation even in the housing industry. The housing industry has evolved into something in between doing renos on existing structures to building a structure on the back of a trailer and calling it a “tiny home”. New construction goes with whatever the latest fades are in home building, but as soon as it’s built something just has to be changed because it doesn’t meet the new home owners expectations so the swirl continues. Bottom line—there is no end to researching and developing newer and better ways to meet a home owners expectations.
When is R&D useful?
It always is! When home builders stagnate its because they have become complacent in their designing and their laziness sidelines them as being anything but innovative. Their path of least resistance can include things like blaming the economy, the lenders, even the home owners themselves! People can learn to like or get used to even poorly designed spaces—spaces that are plain and void of form and function. That’s why there’s Pinterest to help open up the vista of opportunities to inform and educate people on what’s out there and what the potentials are. As a Cottage Builder, Gingerbread Homes tries to keep an open mind into the possibilities and the avenues that are open for discovery through continuing research and development.