XiGESIT, A South Korean Prefabrication Builder Aims High With Wood Construction

By: Tai Jeong

Country Director, Canada Wood Korea

GS E&C, one of the top 5 construction builders in South Korea is a firm believer that factories can build houses faster, cheaper, and better than traditional homebuilders. The conditions are also right for prefab construction to take off, driven by a worsening shortage of construction workers and a long-existing housing affordability crisis.

The company has already made inroads into the prefabrication construction market through the acquisition of some of the key modular home companies in Poland, Britain and USA over the past few years. The company’s recent move is the establishment of a subsidiary XiGESIT, a business that currently operates a newly opened automated wood prefabrication plant in South Korea, which it hopes to achieve a 30% reduction in construction time by prefabrication.

The term “factory-built housing”, to many South Koreans, conjure the image associated with the keywords of boxy, cheap, temporary and short-lived buildings, an image that GS E&C aims to alter. The company’s products target both developer clients and home buyers. The company has set up two sample houses near Seoul and Busan to demonstrate its housing products for B2B market. The products have gained high scores from an anonymous survey from prospective clients who gave rates to its performances including airtightness, soundproofing and energy efficiency. This house model targets the high-end market.

To tap into the consumer market, the company will also reveal its first custom-ordered detached home product in early 2023. The demo home in Changwon, Gyeongsangnam-do falls in the affordable price range accessible to general home buyers. The promo video of this house has garnered over 210k viewership within a month.

Huh Yoon-hong, CEO of GS E&C’s new business division, said, “XiGEIST’s eco-friendly prefabricated wooden houses can provide opportunities to create new business for developers of complex-type detached houses, and deliver the value of a differentiated detached house lifestyle to customers, thereby contributing to the development of domestic housing culture. We expect it to lead a new paradigm.”

Canada Wood Korea Office has been providing technical and training supports to XiGESIT’s business and driving the use of Canadian wood in XiGESIT’s prefab business.