Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Will New Disruptive CLT-Focused Modular Home Factories Kill Construction Trades?

Over the past week I have received no less than 20 emails about this article posted on the ProSales website. Some of the emails wanted to sound an alarm about the coming wave of CLT-based modular homes in America while others asked “what is it?” and a few questioned if it will ever be a threat to modular home building.

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In my humble opinion, CLT-focused wall panels may indeed show up in some site built custom homes over the next decade but the cost to retool, retrain the production people and builders and the higher overall costs will deter it from making any real inroads into modular housing, with the possible exception of pioneers like Tedd Benson’s Bensonwood Timber Homes and Jerry Smalley’s Blueprint Robotics.

Here is the ProSales article:

Legal & General, a British manufacturer and developer which aims to be one of the U.K.'s largest homebuilders, thinks it's possible

In the face of worldwide housing shortages and a lack of skilled construction labor, Eric Dean wants to disrupt home building—and make construction trades all but obsolete.

Dean, the innovation and production director for Legal & General, a British insurer that aim to be one of that nation’s largest homebuilders, presented a new, CLT-focused manufacturing process at the FEA 2016 Forest Products Forum this week. His solution: to “deskill” single and multifamily home construction into a modular home factory assembly line.

“A house is a very simple thing. But every time we build a house, we seem to reinvent the wheel,” Dean told the audience. “So we’ve done a seamless design process linked into a seamless manufacturing process. All through the process what we’re doing is cutting out layers of people we don’t need.”

That means rather than a whole construction crew, along with subs for plumbing, electrical, and the other specialties, two workers can build half a house in five hours, Dean said. “It becomes a logistics exercise. We’ve got exactly the right process and the right tools. And we can work really efficiently. There’s no skill in any of it. This process is all about mass production. It doesn’t matter if we’re making 100 houses of the same type or different. As long as the process is the same, we can deliver it efficiently.”

CLICK HERE to read the entire ProSales article

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

CLT's may have a role in increasing modular production for multi-family and commercial projects but not so much in the SFR arena. When you view CLT's as SIP's in another form they may increase the market share for this construction method.