Haley & Aldrich facilitators and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo convene to find solutions for student housing crisis
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (SLO) has only about half as many places to live as it has students. Housing rates — driven by construction and design costs — contribute substantially to the total cost of education. The issue is not unique to Cal Poly: A similar crisis affects the entire California State University system.
Facing a statewide push to control costs, facilities leaders at Cal Poly SLO needed to transform campus housing development. They knew that the status quo industry project delivery methods would not move the needle on the cost or pace of delivery of their aggressive 10-year master plan for housing.
The team engaged Haley & Aldrich to design and facilitate a one-day summit involving more than 80 architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) partners from more than 40 organizations. Our facilitators not only led the workshop but also leveraged insights from our industrialized construction efforts that have helped many contractors and trades begin to realize the efficiencies of “productizing” building elements and shifting to a production vs. a construction model.
With our help, the Cal Poly SLO team developed a vision for transformation and concrete first steps, including standard design shaped by a “kit of parts” mindset to build high-quality, lower-cost, mass-customized housing.
This vision could provide a model for the whole California State University system and lead the way for transformation in the building industry.
Cal Poly SLO draws top students from around the world to California’s Central Coast. But when those students arrive, they encounter a housing crisis — there are only about half as many places to live as there are students, at increasingly expensive rents. Housing rates contribute substantially to the total cost of education, an issue that is not unique to Cal Poly: A similar crisis affects the entire California State University system.
The main drivers for the cost of housing are the costs of design and construction. Facing a statewide push to control housing costs, facilities leaders at Cal Poly SLO needed to fundamentally change the model for housing development on campus.
They knew that the status quo industry project delivery methods would not move the needle on the cost or pace of delivery of their aggressive 10-year master plan for housing, which included driving the phase-one cost of new construction below $279,000 per bed, driving the annualized lifecycle costs to the lowest possible level, and reducing the cost to renovate 1,300 beds to meet the financial model performance.
To begin their transformation, the Cal Poly SLO team engaged our facilitators — who are also experts in Lean and industrialized construction — to design and run a one-day housing summit with AEC industry partners. The summit brought together more than 80 individuals from more than 40 organizations, including architects, builders, financiers, campus housing professionals, modular builders, and academics, who could bring insight into activating the systems needed for a new model for delivery.
In addition to facilitating, our team leveraged perspectives gained from helping construction clients and trade contractors begin to realize the efficiencies of “productizing” building elements and shifting to a model of production vs. construction.
With our help, the Cal Poly SLO team came away with a vision for transformative change, as well as concrete first steps. This vision calls for standardizing design and defining an interchangeable “kit of parts” that enables high-quality, lower-cost mass customization of student housing. Additionally, the university will explore regional production and prefabrication facilities.
Cal Poly SLO’s embrace of an industrialized construction model will not only help address the housing crisis on its campus; it could also provide a model for the whole Cal State system, helping it move away from a project-by-project, campus-by-campus approach, with each team working independently. A coordinated approach designed to maximize off-site construction and standardized design would make project delivery more predictable and decrease the cost per bed — ultimately saving money for students and leading the way for the continued transformation of the building industry.
Designed and ran a housing summit with experts from more than 40 organizations, producing a vision for transforming Cal Poly SLO’s approach to student housing as well as concrete steps toward realizing it
With the robust plan, helped develop a model that can transform housing not just at Cal Poly SLO but also across the Cal State system — potentially benefiting hundreds of thousands of students
“The facilitation is one of the most important parts. We had people working through these problems, collaborating, trying to solve them, and that’s largely because of the work that Haley & Aldrich did designing and leading this event. We’re going to move the industry with this.”
Mike McCormick, Associate Vice President for Facilities Management and Development, Cal Poly SLO
“There is great flexibility to customize across a set of [housing] models. We don’t have to design the base model from scratch every time. This opens up a world of financial benefits.”
Attendee at the Haley & Aldrich–facilitated conference