Monday, January 18, 2021

3 Post COVID-19 Trends in Off-Site and Modular Construction

2021 will see some of the precautions associated with COVID-19 become opportunities for the off-site and modular home industries. The changes will be subtle but will probably become standard fare in construction even after the pandemic has passed.


The Home Office

In the past, the home office was an option that was seldom chosen by new home buyers but COVID-19 forced many to work from home. Many businesses saw little or no drop in output from the ‘work from home’ employee and have decided this is a viable way to work. It eliminates the homeowners’ commute and allows the employee more freedom. 

Several modular home factories and their authorized builders have designed new floorplans with space for an office. In the past, these offices would required Internet and cable connections hardwired into the design but WiFi has eliminated that. 

Converting an area into an office is different today than yesterday in another unique way. Today’s office will have more of an open feel and probably without an interior door as many of those working from home will now save money by not having to hire baby sitters for their young children while they worked in a remote office. These offices may find half walls being utilized allowing the worker to watch their children’s activities instead of having their desk face a solid wall. 

Expect to see an increase in modular housing as many new homeowners now want to live “in the country” since they no longer have to commute. As an added benefit, they won’t have to buy a house in a tract builder development simply because it’s close to their workplace.

Air Quality

COVID-19 has us thinking about air quality more than ever before. Poor air quality in buildings has many contributors; paints with volatile organic compounds, poor air filtration and ventilation, building materials containing certain types of plastics, and mold prevention.

The modular housing industry has always been at the forefront of green and sustainable building materials. The process of building homes inside a protected environment helps make modular construction inherently better.

Tiny Homes

Another change that the modular industry will need to address is the tiny home movement. Every family that chooses to move into a tiny house is one less than a traditional modular factory has the opportunity to build.

Recently I’ve been hearing that many in Real Estate are beginning to classify any home under 1,100 sq ft as a “Tiny Home”. That new designation could benefit the modular industry as we can pop them out faster than eggs from a sea turtle. The economy of scale, more liberal zoning, eased building codes and favorable financing could team up to see many new modular factories open and older ones to become even more productive.

The only downside for the modular construction industry for this type of housing is the HUD industry, which is already better at building large single-wides and if their “Cross Mod” is resurrected in 2021, allowing them to build in non-HUD neighborhoods, they could beat modular factories to the endzone. 

2021 will be a great year for new single-family housing and modular can play a huge role in it. We just need to step up to the plate and hit it out of the park.

Gary Fleisher, the Modcoach, writes Modcoach News and Modular Home Coach blogs as well as the best site for off-site consultants, Modcoach Connects


Contact Gary at modcoach@gmail.com

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