UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Industrialized housing in British Columbia Parghi, Bhargav Narendra


This study, comprised of three major sections, reviews the concept of industrialization and its present application and future potential for the production of housing in the industrialized parts of the world, with a focus on the Province of British Columbia. The discussion presented in the first two sections is based largely on the study of the available literature on the subject. The discussion in the third section is based on visits to selected factories, interviews and available references. The first section describes the basic characteristics of industrialization, that is, (a) mass production, (b) assembly line arid centralized work and (c) organization and planning of production. It is noted that standardization, co-ordination of work and dynamic approach to marketing are essential elements of industrialization. The second section examines the relationship between the basic characteristics of industrialization and those of housing. The characteristics of housing, (such as demand for individualization, its complexity and bulkiness, cost of its production and purchase and its fluctuating market) make organization and comprehensive planning imperative for its mass production and efficient distribution. In addition to the characteristics of housing, local factors such as geography, market distribution and capital availability need to be considered in a comprehensive planning for industrialized housing. Housing, being a complex, a bulky and an expensive product, the efficiency of its factory production (off-site production) must be extended to its on-site assembly through a co-ordinated approach to both off-site and on-site works. The third section is a review of industrialized housing in British Columbia. The local geography, market distribution, availability of capital and government's role in housing are examined. The production method and the organizational approach of the "modular" and "package" housing industry are analysed. Four manufacturing firms are chosen for the analysis. It is concluded that at present the industry of factory-produced housing does not compare favourably with the site-built housing industry. The current trends of industrialization of housing are likely to remain unchanged unless an initiative is taken for a comprehensive planning of industrialized housing. This planning must consider: the need for standardization and co-ordinated off-site and on-site works; the unevenly distributed and fluctuating market; the economics of large-distance transportation on a mountainous terrain; the task of providing environmentally appropriate housing; and the characteristics of housing. Individual manufacturers are less likely to take such an initiative because of their commercial motives. Therefore, the initiative should come from the government through their housing policies, guidelines and, perhaps, financial incentives. In the absence of this initiative, the desirable development of industrialized housing benefitting the ultimate users of these housing—the dwellers, would continue to be a difficult task.

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