Interview: Smart containers offer affordable housing solutions Special

Posted Feb 7, 2018 by Tim Sandle
Paul Galvin is a designer, innovator and fabricator of container-based structures, and he has hit upon an idea for using container technology as an affordable housing solution. To find out how the idea is progressing, read our exclusive interview.
A greener and more sustainable approach go housing construction.
A greener and more sustainable approach go housing construction.
Paul Galvin
Paul Galvin is Chairman and CEO of SG Blocks. Paul has proposes that his method of construction, using container-based structures, is an ideal solution for affordable housing.
SG Blocks, a Nasdaq listed company, utilizes code-engineered cargo shipping containers to construct and provide safe, strong and green structures and environments. Clients included Lacoste, Puma, Mini Cooper, Aman, Taco Bell, Marriott, Starbucks, Equinox and several branches of the military, among other organizations and corporations.
To understand more about the greener and more sustainable approach go housing construction, Digital Journal caught up with Paul Galvin.
Paul Galvin is Chairman and CEO of SG Blocks
Paul Galvin is Chairman and CEO of SG Blocks
Paul Galvin
Digital Journal: Thanks for the interview. What are the main trends facing construction?
Paul Galvin: In response to inflation on prices and labor shortages, we see increased interest in modular construction. There is also a growing focus on sustainability and environmentalism and developers are looking for more effective and economical methods of construction.
DJ: What are the key selling points about your container-based structures?
Galvin: Container-based structures are a better product overall that are delivered in half the time as traditional construction. They are environmentally friendly, sustainable and offer a better economic proposition to customers.
SG Blocks is also the only container construction company with an exclusive ESR number, granted by the International Code Council (ICC), which validates our ability to meet and exceed all international building codes. Containers are also extremely durable, built to endure maritime conditions, and able to withstand hurricanes and meet or exceed seismic building standards.
DJ: How important is it to consider environmental impact?
Galvin: Environmental impact is extremely important for developers and communities during construction. The fact that our product is manufactured at an offsite location and delivered to the site almost complete abates the impact at the local site and results in a structure that has a significantly reduced carbon footprint.
DJ: Are the structures compatible with geolocation technology?
Galvin: SG Blocks ESR-approved containers for the construction of buildings, in short, are compatible with geolocation technology (such as the location of a device within the building). The opportunity and challenges will be similar to those with any other building incorporating the use of steel in its framework.
DJ: Do the containers affect insurance costs?
Galvin: Over time, with wide adoption and the ability of container based construction structures to withstand earthquakes and hurricanes, we believe that our products will carry lower premiums as the carriers recognize the safety of our product.
DJ: Which clients do you work with?
Galvin: Our clients are among the most well-known companies in the world. We have worked with Starbucks, Marriott, Taco Bell, Lacoste, Puma, Mini Cooper, Aman, Equinox and several branches of the military, among many other organizations and corporations.
DJ: Which countries have you sold products to?
Galvin: We have worked with the United States, Bermuda, Mexico, Panama and Russia. We also have delivered military products to various locations around the world and have projects in the pipeline for Africa as well.
A greener and more sustainable approach go housing construction.
A greener and more sustainable approach go housing construction.
Paul Galvin
DJ: How is container-based construction a solution for affordable housing?
Galvin: Traditional affordable housing development is rife with paperwork, delays and administrative burdens which add time and costs to the project. In contrast, by using shipping container-based technology, which is approved with SG Blocks’ ESR, developers now have an option to develop affordable housing without government subsidy, at a competitive price and delivered in half the amount of time. The compression in time allows for faster realization of income and helps the developers to recover their investment faster. We are working with agencies to develop a special mortgage product that recognizes the unique features of container based construction and improve the affordability of our product to a broader audience.
DJ: What other projects are you working on?
Galvin: We have many significant projects that we are currently working on, including:
SG Blocks is collaborating on a new 23,715 square-foot three-story community Performing Arts and Enrichment Center in Los Angeles to be delivered during the first quarter of 2018. We are also working on two low income housing development projects in New York State representing the largest project awards in company history. SG Blocks has been commissioned to design and build a 310,000-square foot low-rise workforce housing development in New York State and an 80,000-square foot mid-rise workforce housing development in New York City. Both multi-story, multi-family projects will be fully modular, prefabricated and constructed as an ‘as-of-right’ development that already complies with all applicable zoning regulations.