Interview with Owner of Norges Hus – Andreas Reineberg.
What kind of materials do you typically use in your prefab structures, and how do you ensure they are of high quality and durability?
Our prefab wooden houses benefit from many advantages of wood. We use finger-jointed C24 wood and glue laminated wood in our houses, which are strong, stable, sustainable, and versatile products, well-suited to a wide range of applications.
The finger-jointing and glue-lamination techniques used to join the pieces of wood together create a strong and stable product that is ideal for construction and other applications where strength is important. It is less prone to warping, twisting, or splitting than solid wood. This means that it is less likely to develop cracks or other defects over time, which can help to extend its lifespan.
Wooden construction can offer a range of health benefits, from improved air quality and reduced exposure to harmful chemicals, to stress reduction and improved acoustics. Incorporating natural materials like wood into the built environment can help to create a healthier and more sustainable living and working environment.
Because of its flexible nature, it’s well-suited for regions with high earthquake risk. With proper management in place, wood is also a sustainable and renewable natural resource.
Wood fibre boards on the external façade offer excellent thermal characteristics both in the summer and winter. It significantly reduces the thermal bridging through the structure.
Thanks to its high heat storage capacity, wood fibre insulation can buffer heat over a long period. Overheating is delayed and reduced, thus saving energy in cold and warm climates.
How do you balance the need for customization and individuality with the efficiencies of prefab construction?
Although standardization would be much easier for a producer of wooden prefabricated houses, we have always insisted on offering our customers customized and individual solutions. Our customers are free to choose a suitable house type from our website and then change the plan according to their plot requirements and their individual needs.
Our designers are happy to help with the changes. Should one not find a suitable house from our website, it’s also possible to draw it and send it to us for a feasibility study and price calculation.
What is your company’s experience with international projects, and how do you navigate the complexities of cross-border construction? How do you handle the logistics of transportation and installation of prefab structures, particularly in remote or challenging locations?
Our idea has been international from the beginning. By offering prefab house elements, we are not tied to our production location. Our houses can be loaded on trucks and delivered all over Europe.
We still produce traditional Scandinavian wooden houses in Northern and Central Europe, such as Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Germany, and Austria. But at the same time, we have customized our prefabricated houses successfully to warmer climates in the Mediterranean region such as Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Greece and even Cyprus.
Although transport to islands is more complex, through careful planning, we can reach distant areas by placing the elements into sea containers.
A quick overview is found on the map https://www.norgeshus.eu/prefabricated-houses-map/
Our planning process, production, delivery, and assembly remain the same with a customer 10 km from the production as with a customer 3000 km from the production. Communication with customers, architects, foundation layers etc. is conducted through emails and virtual meetings.
A list of materials is prepared before loading the house, which includes all the wall and roof elements, windows, and materials needed for the assembly of the house. When the house is delivered and the assembly team arrives, everything will be present for smooth and fast construction.
What role do you see prefab construction playing in addressing the current affordable housing crisis?
Prefab construction has the potential to play a significant role in addressing the current affordable housing crisis. Here are a few reasons:
- Cost effectiveness: Prefab construction is typically more cost effective than traditional on-site construction methods. This is because prefab construction takes place in a controlled factory setting, which allows for greater efficiency and lower costs.
- Speed: Prefab construction is typically faster than traditional construction methods. This is because much of the construction takes place off-site, which allows for concurrent site preparation and foundation work. This can help to reduce construction time and enable the delivery of affordable housing units more quickly.
- Quality: Prefab construction can help to ensure consistent quality in the construction process. The controlled factory setting allows for better quality control, and the use of standardized components can help to ensure that each unit meets the same standards of quality.
- Sustainability: Prefab construction can be more sustainable than traditional construction methods. This is because it generates less waste and uses renewable, energy-efficient natural materials.
In addition, we urge our customers to be engaged in the building process. There are two things to consider in terms of affordability.
First, when contracting one company to do everything turn-key, the customer will be expected to prepay a significant amount from the whole contract. By building step-by-step, one can spend the budget step-by-step.
Second, turn-key solutions include subcontracts and outsourcing. There will be margins and commission fees at every step. Whereas by building a prefab house step-by-step, the customer can choose the best bidder and the best quality for each service.
How do you stay competitive in an industry that is rapidly evolving and growing more crowded with new entrants?
- Quality: First and foremost, we do not give discounts on quality. Our materials will remain of high quality, from certified producers. Quality and sustainability are important considerations for us. We will not dilute our product to compete with cheaper solutions and materials. Instead, we will focus on smoothening the production process, making it faster and more cost-efficient.
- Flexibility and innovation: A way to stay competitive is to continuously innovate and develop new products and services that meet customers’ changing needs. This could involve investing in new technology, materials, and construction techniques that offer unique features and benefits. As wood is a flexible material, so do we intend to be flexible towards the ideas, wishes and needs of our customers.
- Individuality: Building a home realizes a dream. For most of us, it’s once in a lifetime. Therefore, we at Norges Hus do our best to offer customised solutions. According to customers’ individual requests—we will move the windows or walls, we can make the same model smaller or taller or bigger, we can mirror the floor plans from left to right or top to bottom, we can open up the ceilings to create open spaces, etc. The individual approach sets us apart from large standardized competitors.
Featured image: Prefabricated House 175