Friday, December 13, 2019

Who and What to Watch in 2020

I receive a lot of calls and emails all asking the same general question, “What do see happening in the modular housing industry next year?”
There are so many ‘things’ that can and will affect our industry in 2020 ranging from an increasing need for affordable and homeless housing to stricter building codes as well as new factories opening while others shuttered the doors but all those things are simply what will happen anyway. So I started looking at the “Who” and “Where” side of 2020 and these people and places quickly rose to the top. My list is in no particular order along with an article or two to support my choosing them.
Colorado Building Systems

If I had to pick one state that will be the true hotbed of new modular factories and innovation in 2020, it would have to be Colorado. Colorado is One Step Closer to Having a New Modular Home Manufacturing Plant

VBC factory
Volumetric Building Companies
All the way from Australia came Vaughan Buckley who in a very short period of time has gone from building modular apartment buildings in Philly to owning his own modular factory. His commercial modular apartments and affordable housing projects along with his personal consulting will make him one of the biggest movers and shakers in our industry

HUD’s Dr Ben Carson
Good old Ben shook up housing last year with his statements about integrating HUD manufactured homes into R1 neighborhoods and hosting a Modular Expo on the National Mall in DC that featured HUD product almost exclusively. We have to believe he is working on ways to make HUD manufactured homes acceptable in every neighborhood in 2020. HUD's Dr Ben Carson Has Good News and Not So Good News for the Modular Housing Industry

Building Systems Council
The past couple of years has seen the BSC begin to look like the BSC of old by taking the lead in bringing top systems built people together with NAHB’s housing experts culminating in two great events, the BSC Annual Summit and the BSC lounge at 2020’s IBS in Vegas. Talking with Building Systems Council’s Director, Devin Perry

Express Modular Franchise
Nothing anything Ken Semler, President of Express Modular, does in 2020 should surprise anyone. His growing modular housing business, which covers most of the United States, is entering a world that has never been tapped before; franchising! If you haven’t met Ken yet, just give it a few days and you will. Express Modular Launches Franchise Program

West Coast Affordable Housing
One of the most volatile housing markets in the US is Northern California north to Seattle, Washington. Not only is affordable housing a major issue in those states, there is the homeless crisis. With a huge labor shortage, these states will put enormous pressure on both the prefab and modular industries to feed the beast.

Dave Cooper
If you attended any type of housing conference, seminar or simply had breakfast with a modular industry colleague, you’ve probably had Dave walk up and ask you if you’d like to be interviewed on camera about what you do. He is doing something that has never been done before. He is recording our industry's history. If you see him at an event in 2020, be sure to say hello and thank him!

Amazon's DC H2 
DC Metro/Northern VA
Where the West Coast and Colorado are the hungry beasts devouring housing as fast as it can be produced, the East Coast, especially the DC Metro and Northern Virginia housing market is the silent predator just waiting to pounce on housing in 2020. With Amazon and Microsoft expanding their East Coast presence bringing along with them a rumored need for at least 100,000 affordable housing units, this beast will awaken in 2020. Will Amazon and Google Find Housing in Their Push Toward the East Coast?

Pop-Up Factories
Developers and housing investors will continue to build their own modular and prefab factories serving only their needs but 2020 may be the year they begin building 100,000 sq ft factories designed to serve their needs only for the duration of their nearby projects before moving those factories to another area. Is the Pop-Up Factory the Future of Modular Housing?

Small Builder Presence Will Decline
2020 is the make or break year for the small modular or prefab single family home builder. The modular factories currently operating are facing their own challenges of building projects for developers or building single family homes for a dwindling number of modular home builders. A factory’s choice may not bode well for small builders.

Gary Fleisher is a housing veteran,
editor/writer of Modular Home Builder blog
and industry speaker/consultant. 
Contact him @


Anonymous said...


Colorado seems to be the current epi-center for changes and adaption of off site process and will likely be the leader in thru 2021.

Vaughan Buckley truly has vision and drive needed to advance the discussions re: modular construction but I wonder what his single family builder base is experiencing with the plant focus on off site. Scuttlebutt is deliveries to some single family builders is 20 plus weeks.

Ben Carson has helped open the discussions but it will be interesting to see the future impact after the 2020 elections

Ken Semler truly is an advocate and thought leader and perhaps the franchise concept will be an answer to recruitment and training of future MOD Builders but he does face several headwinds and resistance. Wish him the best.

Small builders will continue to decline as there is no appetite for the younger generations to engage in the stress and personal commitment that home building requires. Financial and regulatory constraints make entry perilous to many.

Bill Hart said...

The evolution continues. if you choose to learn from the past, contact me anytime.