Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Improving Modular Construction is a Joint Effort

For decades the single family modular factory and the modular new home builder have had a less than perfect relationship. Problems of every kind have caused quite a riff between them at times.

As a recent commenter to one of my articles pointed out, “modular isn’t an industry, it is a process - a better process by far - but a process no less.”

Assuming that person is right and I find it hard to argue with, then the process is the problem more than each blaming the other for problems with the modular home.

Before we tackle the “Process” we need to admit that there are plenty of areas in single family modular housing that can be improved. These include:
  • Order Processing
  • Quality Inspection
  • State Plan Reviews
  • Set Crews
  • Builder Knowledge

If each of these areas were improved by just 50% modular housing would become the construction method everyone would want to use.

Acted upon together, these areas could:
  • Reduce construction time by up to two-thirds compared to traditional site built homes.
  • Drastically cut down on service calls.
  • Give builders a more accurate timeline to receive their homes.
  • Improve both Energy and Sustainability requirements
  • Cut state code review time considerably.
  • Improve set crew efficiency with certified training
  • Give modular new home builders the tools to better serve the new home buyer.

Will these improvements come to fruition?

They will if the factories, builders, set crews and code officials simply begin taking real steps to first acknowledge their faults in the process and secondly agree to sit down and begin a series of meetings to talk over each of the points above and begin looking at the building of the single family modular home as one continuous process.

This is a big undertaking and one person or association can’t be expected to be the flag bearer for doing it alone. However, if you would like to use the Modcoach blog to begin the process, I would be happy to help you organize a place and time to hold the initial meeting(s).

This is something whose time is NOW!

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


MARK WILLE said...

I believe in improved synergies. The project and the client rely on the Manufacturer and Contractor. Defining and Billing for these roles is necessary. Discussions of Responsibilities and Expectations is also necessary. In the spirit of Ever EXPANDING Results we can share both our success and lessons learned.
Green Steps Forward.
- Mark Wille

Tom Hardiman said...

I'd disagree with the comment that "modular isn't an industry, its a process." Its both! Otherwise, I'm not sure who has been employing me all these years to be the director of the commercial modular industry trade association (MBI) and the residential modular trade association (MHBA).

When we talk to members, they say the states are taking too long to approve. When we talk to states, they say, your members are submitting incomplete or inaccurate info. When we look at it we say "why do you need all this info to begin with?"

Lots of opportunity for improvement for sure.