We reached out to Revolution Precrafted with questions yesterday. The company has replied saying it will require time till 28 February to respond. We will update this story if and when we receive its response.
Style versus substance
Antonio didn’t have a problem gaining the confidence of venture capitalists in Revolution Precrafted’s early days. After all, the 43-year-old has roots in property development and a high-profile network. He has brought big names from the worlds of fashion and real estate like Armani/Casa, Versace, Paris Hilton, and the Trump Group to collaborate with his family’s Century Properties, where he also serves as managing director.
Antonio has now brought that kind of celebrity dealmaking to Revolution. He has signed on architects and designers such as Zaha Hadid, Christian de Portzamparc, Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Jean Nouvel and David Salle to design his prefab homes.
But getting prominent names on board, while impressive, was just the first step. Building a supply chain and producing branded homes to make them accessible to a larger market is another story.
Revolution announced back-to-back agreements in 2018 to supply multimillion-dollar worth of homes to developers in at least 25 markets globally. However, some of those agreements are non-binding letters of intent, while others are in very early stages of negotiations and planning, according to former employees we interviewed.
Flavorscapes, too, has run into its fair share of problems. Online communities of disgruntled Flavorscapes home buyers have emerged. Some are even seeking refunds. “The model houses look so different than the rendered images they presented to us,” one buyer told us. “The houses are also not prefab like what they told us and initially advertised on Revolution’s site.”
As per the buyer, Revolution has since removed the details of the project from its website and now only links to The Lakeshore’s site. The only trace left of the original prefab premise is a quote from Antonio, where he refers to the homes as “carefully curated prefabricated homes”.
Revolution Precrafted’s conundrum
The chinks in the business are already showing. Previously, Antonio said a Revolution Precrafted home required a 50% down payment before production begins, with the remainder to be paid on delivery. The components were to be delivered in a container to the customer, whose contractor must prepare the land on site and assemble the home. For an additional fee, Revolution could also provide a local contractor.
But there are limitations to how and where designer prefab homes can be ordered and installed by ordinary homeseekers globally, according to property consultancy JLL Philippines. Trade barriers may be in place in certain countries that can make online ordering less attractive, especially for individual homebuyers. Building codes (regulations governing the design, construction, alteration and maintenance of structures) may also vary, with which the supplier must ensure that the models being sold are compliant with the specific country, JLL pointed out.
Prefab homes also require a number of tests before the production can begin. These include a boring test (to check the suitability of the soil), gathering ground water level, rainfall and wind velocity data.