In Jordan, two entrepreneurs are revolutionizing the architecture sector by bringing innovation in construction. We met one of them, Basma Uraiqat, founder of Konn Technologies.
Why did you decide to launch Konn? And what is special about it?
The main problem in construction which is not only in Jordan but shared globally is that most projects start with a certain design, budget and time, and more than 90% of them worldwide neither stick to the budget, time or quality expected. We even have a saying in construction that says that every building is a prototype. Imagine if every person who wants to buy a car, would ask for a new design! There would be a considerable amount of defects because none of them would have been tested, tried or approved upon. And the only way to do that is through modularisation and industrialisation. Bassem, my partner and I were working in our own architecture company UA when we started to explore the idea of modular homes. We started to experiment with it until we launched a new company called Konn technologies in 2020. We now do prefabricated and modular homes designed in Jordan to serve the country and also the MENA region.
What are the main characteristics of modularization?
With industrialisation, you can design a house like a product, so you test all components, prototype them, try them out, improve, before selling the product to consumers. Instead of working on site, we build houses offsite in factories as components and we transfer them to the site where we assemble it like a lego. In this way, I am confident that every component is done correctly. People do have different needs but 80% of them are quite standard and 20% only are about personalisation. At Konn, our homes are designed with typical designs that achieve the needs of people living in this part of the world, and allow some customization elements. We have 5 home models of different sizes and each one of them come with different themes and customization. You can see on the website that you can get your home delivered within 8 weeks in your land. They are also sustainable and green, designed according to green building standards, have more than 50% less waste of traditional constructions and consume 70% less energy ?
What are the biggest challenges in Jordan in construction?
The idea of offsite constructing and delivering onsite is very new here, even if it has been around the world for some time. Also, we use precast concrete which is an immature industry in the country, so we had to learn and teach our partner to do it. We had to develop the model and combine global experience with global know-how and capabilities. We also had to raise awareness about modular homes and to demonstrate that they save energy, time and resources because they are more sustainable.
I’ve also read on your linkedIn page that you are looking for non conventional architects. What does that mean?
The construction industry is a very traditional one in general, and can be very disconnected to other industries which are more technology advanced like finance, marketing or manufacturing.. What we try to build is a very multidisciplinary approach. We have to design homes like cars, to promote them like products and manufacture them like objects, before selling them online. This requires a lot of interdisciplinary work and architects who are very hands-on and understand how each component is manufactured and assembled so they can design it correctly.
Today, most architects are used to office work where they do beautiful things and produce fantastic joints, and contractors have to deal with reality but have no critical view on how to improve things so there is a big sillo between them. What we search for is a combination of design vision and experience hands-on and interest on how things work, how you put a pipe in the world, from the tiniest detail to the biggest one.
What are the main challenges of construction in the region for the future?
This part of the world is undergoing massive population growth, the need for housing is increasing day by day and there is a housing crisis that is in the formation. In the next 10 years, millions and millions of homes will be needed in our region, so the need for a good, quick, sustainable solution is important.The main challenge is that socio-economic actual conditions limit the purchasing power of people and their ability to move and make life choices freely. Which is a contradicting problem.
We want to come up with something good, affordable and that can be done fast.