In June 2021, China’s Broad Group showcased its innovative Living Building — a new type of modular building system — by erecting a 10-storey apartment building in Changsha City in only 28 hours and 45 minutes.
The concept sounds like it could truly revolutionize the construction industry, and the Chinese company’s recent feat was meant to emphasize just how disruptive its new system can be. Technically, the building was just assembled on a site in Changsha, by three cranes and a large workforce, as all the components were built in a local Broad Group factory and transported by truck.
The true innovation behind Broad Group’s product is the concept of building houses like cars. Everything is produced and assembled at a state-of-the-art factory in Changsha, and then transported to the desired location for assembly.
Built out of the Chinese company’s proprietary Bcore steel slabs, the pre-made modular components can be folded into a standard 40ft-high container that can easily be transported by land and sea, just like regular containers.
Once the containers arrive at the desired location, all that is required is an “extremely simple” installation process that involves tightening the modules together to form a building, and connecting the electricity and plumbing.
What’s more, the speed is just one of the many qualities of this building; its stainless steel structure is said to be 10 times lighter and 100 times stronger than conventional buildings, and is resistant to “mega earthquakes and typhoons”. It’s also considerably cheaper to make than traditional structures and carbon steel buildings, thanks in large part to the streamlined production process.
Furthermore, thanks to the 22cm-thick insulation, as well as 3 or 4-pane glass windows, and intelligent heat recovery system, the energy cost of the Living Building is reportedly 1/5 to 1/10 that of traditional buildings.
Broad Group claims Living Building can be used for luxury and public residential structures, as well as skyscrapers up to 200-storeys-high. Thanks to the modular design, the building can be disassembled and moved to new locations easily, and the position and number of walls, doors, windows and balconies can be changed after completion.
Finally, Broad Group claims that the 100% stainless steel structure of its Living Building is over 30 times more corrosion-resistant than carbon steel and has over 1,000 years of service life.
Dubbed Living Building, it was assembled from modular units based around stainless steel slabs. The 40-foot long by 8-foot wide units were transported to the building site with all the electric and internal finishes completed. The container-shaped modules were then lifted into place — one wall of each unit folded down to become a floor plate, while windows and balconies folded out to enclose the spaces.
The resulting structure, Broad Group claims, is 10 times lighter and 100-times stronger than conventional floor plates. The company also adds that the cost is "lower than that of a carbon steel building" and has very low energy consumption.
If you're looking to solve the affordable housing conundrum, you may want to consider contacting Broad Group and explore the options of bringing their technology to your municipality. Since this is a Chinese company, it may not be the best political move - but since it can actually make a dent - we think it's worth it. Even better, if they could bring manufacturing (and jobs) to your community, you can earn even more points down the road.
Most municipalities today are struggling with affordable housing. By bringing Broad Group's technology to the places your business serves, you can help them solve this rather hard and important issue. Just imagine Living Building in your city or town - even if it's not built as fast as Broad Group's demonstration, it could still make a dent in less than a month. And that's something you could easily sell to local representatives. Or so we think.