BY SARAH MORENO EL NUEVO HERALD
Published JUN 08, 2023
A new development in Homestead, Alba, has some of the elements Miami-Dade needs to help alleviate the housing and homeowners insurance crisis, which costs three times the national average in Florida. Speed, resistance to hurricanes, cost savings and attractive finishes are the credentials presented by the developer ONX Homes, which builds 5,000 homes in Florida and Texas. “ONX Homes builds the houses that will make up Alba in a month, whereas it can take a regular contractor six months to a year,” says Melissa Pinto, vice president of marketing and communications for ONX Homes, in a presentation to the press. who first visit the factory where the bathrooms that are placed in the houses of Alba are made and then the land surrounding the urbanization, where the prefabricated cement walls that come from another factory in Pompano Beach are erected.
X+ Construction is the proprietary method of home fabrication, which allows the major elements of ONX Homes houses to be manufactured off-site and delivered job-site ready, where they are quickly installed, Pinto explains.
“The houses in Alba can resist winds of 175 miles per hour,” says Pinto, explaining that buyers always inspect the walls of the houses, tapping them, as if incredulous, because a fundamental concern for those who are going to put their entire savings a life is that your home resists hurricanes. In addition to the speed with which homes can be delivered, buyers have access to competitive pricing because Alba homes start at $500,000, a pocket-friendly advantage in a county where the median price for single-family homes is $ 600,000 . The commitment to the innovation of containers converted into homes and modular houses built by SteelHomes, an Opa-locka company, were the focus of attention at the Housing Summit organized by the mayor of Miami-Dade, Daniella Levine Cava, and the Department of Public Housing and Community Development of the county, in July of last year.
In this sense, ONX Homes also stands out, which builds communities in different areas of Florida, which are built following the X+ Construction method. The 142 houses that make up Aurora have already been completed in Florida City, and are in various phases of construction in Redlands Shores (175 townhomes), Grandville (165 townhomes), Villa Pass (200 single-family homes) and Burnt Store Lakes (200 single-family homes). THE MODULAR BATHROOM FACTORY Before taking a group of Miami journalists to see the land where Alba’s houses stand, on Southwest 344th Street, Pinto gave them a tour of the factory where the bathrooms that are going to be placed with a crane are built in the houses, already ready, with plumbing, electrical and porcelain finishes.
The executive affirms that ONX Homes wants to maintain the prices of the houses, it is not about making them cheaper, but they can save on the construction process, which is more effective and precise because the bathrooms are built in an assembly plant, using tools that they automate the process and make it more accurate. “Building a home traditionally requires the labor of 22 subcontractors, which can mean a lot of mistakes along the way,” says Charles Gilbert, manager of the ONX Homes Pod Factory.
Gilbert explains the manufacturing process for the toilets that begins on the outside of the factory, where the concrete walls are joined, which have a steel frame that makes them more resistant. Inside the factory, each station in the production process is occupied by a worker, who installs the plumbing, the porcelain tiles, the furniture. At the end, a computer checks and gives the go-ahead so that the capsule that constitutes the bathroom, Bathroom Pod, is ready to be transported to the construction site. 20 finished baths come out of the factory every day. FLORIDA FLOOD AND TERMITE RESISTANT HOMES One of the most interesting aspects of the process is that once on the construction site, the walls of the house are raised on high foundations, which prevent flooding. Then the stairs are placed, also made of precast concrete, and the bathrooms are mounted in each corresponding space in the house. The model that was shown to journalists has four and a half bathrooms and five bedrooms.
ONX Homes houses are also free from termite invasion , one of the most serious enemies of homes in humid South Florida, because no wood is used in their construction. “Putting up the tent can cost up to $10,000 on a large house,” says Gilbert, about the method used to eliminate or prevent termites in Florida, which must be repeated every three years, with the expense that this represents for the family budget. That is a concern that homeowners in Alba will not have, says Pinto, indicating that the houses have a guarantee, and that future owners are not obliged to make repairs with them, but can resort to any contractor in case it is necessary.
Although it was formed in 2021, ONX Homes executives bring experience of building in India, where many are from, and in other cities such as Dubai, which is experiencing an urban boom, points out Pinto, which shows one of the characteristics that most Hispanic families like them. Alba’s houses have a room with an independent entrance to the front, which can be used as an office or as an in law quarter , an option with its own bathroom for parents, in-laws or any family member who wants independence.
On the outside, the two-story residences have the characteristics of modern architecture, marked by the use of concrete and straight lines, but the facades are different.
On the other hand, all ONX homes incorporate a plug for electric vehicles, indicates the information brochure, reaffirming the company’s commitment to “a sustainable future”. “One of the advantages is that no noise is heard due to the insulation of the walls,” concludes Alé, pointing to the neighboring land where the houses are assembled, which in a regular construction would represent a constant noise that would bother the residents who already occupy the finished houses of Alba.