TOWN has launched its prototype custom build house configurator, a design platform that enables individual customers to customise their homes online.
TOWN’s newly-launched house configurator allows customers to configure their home online, using 3D technology to view changes as they are made. Users are able to select their customisation choices from a menu of options, such as floorplans, roof types and external finishing, and to explore these from 360 degrees from both inside and outside. And in doing so, they are able to keep track of the size of the home, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and the cost.
TOWN’s custom build approach draws on the principles of mass customisation – using some of the techniques of mass production (in this case, flexible, off-site housing manufacturing) to give customers a variety of personalisation options, all configured through an online platform. Our housing configurator will feel familiar to anyone who’s configured a car, computer or other product on a manufacturer’s website to meet their individual requirement. But while this approach is commonplace among the automotive and IT industries, it has been relatively slow to reach the housing market.
Director Jonny Anstead commented:
“We intend to develop and use this prototype platform to give our future customers the opportunity to shape their homes before they buy them. Buying a new home is one of the largest financial investments any of us will make – it’s high time people were given the chance to make real and considered choices about the form and function of their living space, away from the pressure of a sales suite. We’ll be investing further in future to add further functionality to our configurator, and to integrate it more closely with the manufacturing process.”
TOWN is one of a number of custom build developers seeking to provide a customer-centred approach to designing and delivering new homes. Custom build housing is a way of giving home owners more choice over the way their home looks, feels and functions. Unlike self-build, custom build involves a developer taking on part or all of the responsibility for building the home, and even financing it. And unlike most new-build housing developments, where choice is usually constrained to superficial decisions about kitchen colours or carpets, custom build allows more meaningful decisions to be made by the customer – such as the size of the home, the number of bedrooms, the flow of the spaces and also what it looks like from the outside.
The house configurator builds on the custom build model developed at Marmalade Lane Cohousing, TOWN’s 42-home Cambridge custom build development that is being constructed in joint venture with Swedish manufacturer Trivselhus, and which is due for completion in mid-2018.