Monday, October 5, 2015

Bankrupt Modular Home Builder Goes on the Auction Block Oct 6

Woodworking machinery at Demtec, the Princeville, Quebec, modular home builder that struggled through insolvency  in 2013, will be auctioned October 6. Their website is no longer up.

Automated systems flooring and wall component firm said to be Canada's largest, will be auctioned October 6. Equipment placed in service in 2008, including a complete Weinmann automated production wall line machining system at an original investment of $3.3 million will be sold.

Used for about 3.5 years, the system wa regularly serviced by Homag and had a capacity of 1 meter of wall per minute.

The seller is willing to break the line into component parts as well. These include: a framing station (model WEM 150/12); Saw Centre Profiline 5 Axis Optimizing Saw, (model WBS 120/06); and a Component Nailer Optimat production line.

Also being sold is a 2002 Holz-Her Sprint 1310-1 edgebander, a machine shop, miscellaneous trucks, 40-foot sea containers, modules for apartments 16' x 45' long, and large quantities of wood and wood components.

California Wants to Force Fido to Stay Indoors

I knew it wouldn’t be long before California Energy Czars would look at the pet door as a major breech in their requirements for a Net Zero home. Very soon site builders will have to build near Net Zero homes and as we all know, this will add thousands of dollars to the home owner’s mortgage without that much of a return.

Meanwhile the modular home industry doesn’t have to gear up that much more to achieve and pass CA’s coming energy regulations because of the inherent way we build our homes. I can’t imagine modular construction not being the way to build homes in CA after the Net Zero people get their way.

That pesky pet door problem has been a thorn in the sides of every builder needing to get their HERS ratings to near zero. No more will your Doggie need to be stuck in the house looking for a place to do their duty. Then can now be part of the solution.

Freedom PetPass has announced that it has achieved default label approval from the California Energy Commission (CEC) for its line of pet doors. The CEC label indicates that the product meets the stringent energy-efficiency standards outlined in California's Title 24 rules for residential construction. Freedom Pet Pass dog and cat doors are the first and only pet doors to receive this approval.

To qualify for the CEC label, Freedom Pet Pass cat and dog doors underwent a series of official tests at Architectural Testing Incorporated, an independent third-party laboratory that tested the doors for air leakage and resistance to heat transfer. The test results are documented on the CEC label and show that Freedom Pet Pass doors are 10 times more energy-efficient than the CEC requirements for pet doors.

Can we say that CA has finally gone over the edge?

Friday, October 2, 2015

NY Developer Considers Modular for Next Commercial Project

Commercial real estate developer Prime Cos. is considering an unconventional approach for building a large, upscale apartment complex in the Albany, New York, area: Modular construction.

The firm might rely on a Canadian manufacturer to assemble and ship the buildings that will make up the new, 165-unit Hudson Square apartments near the Van Schaick Country Club in Cohoes, NY.

The apartment buildings would be unloaded by crane, set in place, and then furnished. The process is similar to how modular homes are delivered and installed.

"Once the building is up, no one would ever know it's a modular unit," said Todd Curley, vice president and principal at Prime Cos.

There are two reasons why Curley and Prime Cos. President Ken Raymond are seriously considering modular instead of traditional, stick-built construction:

1. The value of the U.S. dollar vs. the Canadian dollar is higher than it has been in at least five years (today's exchange rate: $1 U.S. equals $1.33 Canadian). That would save on purchasing costs.

2. Labor costs would be higher for conventional construction, especially if Prime Cos. seeks a federal loan guarantee for Hudson Square apartments from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The prevailing wages required under the federal Davis-Bacon Act increased "sizably" over the summer, Raymond said. "We can't really afford to pay the new wages that came out," Raymond said.

The percentage increase in the federal prevailing wage for projects in the Albany area was not immediately available. The rate is periodically revised by the U.S. Labor Department based on a survey of employers.
A Davis-Bacon rate sheet released in August by the Labor Department shows bricklayers doing residential construction in Albany County are paid $34.75 per hour in salary and benefits; electricians, $35.48; and structural ironworkers, $49.64.

From an article in the Albany Business Review

New Home for Your Yard Dogs

Every year one or more factories has a home they completed sitting in the yard ready for delivery but nobody wants it. The builder who originally ordered it had to cancel the order or it was built and completed without a deposit or worse case scenario, it was delivered and the builder couldn't pay for it and it was brought back to the factory staging area. 

A yard dog is born and every day that it is not sold the factory owners and management can hear it howling.

I've worked for several factories that had yard dogs and every sales rep would tour the house, write to all their builders hoping to sell it quickly and make a commission only to learn that spec houses are just about a dead issue or that the house is such a unique design that no builder wants to take the time trying to help out their factory with a dying yard dog.

Factories usually try everything to unload these dogs but given the limited number of builders each factory has, the chore of getting them sold seems to take forever.

Help is on the way. Modcoach will allow you to list your yard dogs on this blog at NO COST for 90 days. This is give you access to hundreds of new modular home builders that just might want to give your yard dog a good home.

All you have to do is send in the floorplan along with the states that you will ship to and a list of the top options. You can mention the name of the factory but that is optional. 

Once we receive your yard dog information, we will publish it and include "our" email address or we can use yours if you wish.

All inquiries will be forwarded to the factory. No Fee or Commission is due us. However if you do find a home for your yard dog through us, we would like you to buy us a cup of coffee and a Danish. It's the least you can do. Send your Yard Dogs to Modcoach


We will ship this home to the following states:
PA, MD, OH, IN, NY and NJ
Options include:
Whirlpool Tub.
4 skylights
marble countertops
hardwood flooring in the LR, DR and FR
9/12 roof pitch
Andersen 400 windows
Contact Yard Dog 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Rise of the Mobile Internet

Did you hear about it? Something remarkable happened last year, a revolution per se’ and it probably passed you right by. Don’t worry about it, I didn’t know about it either. The remarkable thing that happened around July of 2014 is that mobile took over as the predominant way in which people were attaining fixed Internet access. That was the huge headline in the tech world but was lost on most of us. 

This was originally a forward thinking prediction from 2008 by Mary Meeker, an analyst at Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers a company that monitors technology trends. What all this means is that for the first time in the digital era more connections to the internet happened via mobile devices than in all desktop computing.  This is a revolution that you probably participated in.
Why should you care? Because this is how your customers are behaving. Tablets and mobile phones are how people are searching and accessing information. The lesson is if your website hasn’t either been built or updated within the last couple of years it might not have a responsive design or in other words it hasn’t been optimized to adjust to be viewed on smaller screen sizes.  If that is the case you and your business are losing out valuable leads.
In addition, this past spring Google changed their search algorithm, which impacts customers mobile query results. In a nutshell the new algorithm enhances the search rankings of sites that are mobile-optimized and as a consequence demotes sites that that do not have a responsive.
As said, this only applies to results from mobile searches on smartphones and tablets, not those on a desktop or laptop computers.
Further when people search on a smaller devise and they run across a non-responsive site, they are much more likely to move on. For many of you who monitor your website analytics that is why you have maybe noticed your bounce rate inching up. People on mobile phones are nomadic searchers and gatherers that go from site to site looking for nourishment and are more likely to bounce off sites without exploring links.
Originally most websites were designed in a horizontal format and don’t adjust to be seen very well in smaller vertical formats. Phones obviously have much smaller screens and are viewed in a vertical format so as a result information is harder to read and links are harder to click on and the whole experience can become frustrating.
To learn more, I ran across a great website that gives some incredible in-depth stats on mobile usage: http://www.smartinsights.com/mobile-marketing/mobile-marketing-analytics/mobile-marketing-statistics/  if you would like to delve deeper into it.
I welcome hearing your insights regarding mobile optimization. Feel free to post your questions and thoughts in the comments section below.
ABOUT Reed Dillon - After nearly two decades of experience heading the marketing departments of some of the industry’s leading modular manufacturers and earning numerous national awards, Reed Dillon is the owner of Creative Brand Content - a marketing consulting company. 
You can contact Reed at reed@creativebrandcontent.com or by phone at 540-488-2978.  

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Modular Housing Could be the Right Choice for the World's Most Vulnerable

The US isn’t the only country facing a shortage of housing for the poor. Ireland, especially in Dublin, is facing an even tougher situation.

One group, the Peter McVerry Trust, is putting pressure on the Irish legislature to relax their stringent building codes to allow modular housing be used for the homeless.

This follows the same scenario facing Germany where pressure is being put on their code officials to relax tough building codes to allow modular housing for Syrian refugees.

In Dublin the situation isn’t just for the homeless, it extends to people living at or below the poverty level that are having extreme difficulties finding adequate housing.

The Trust said it was necessary to get people who were ready for housing out of emergency accommodations to make sure there are beds for the most vulnerable.

This situation isn’t going away anytime soon for Germany or Ireland or for the rest of the world for that matter. Modular housing can and should be the answer to this crisis.

We as an industry need to take a look at this market, put some plans together, present them to each state’s legislature and push for relaxing the stringent building codes we have all been forced to follow which costs thousands of dollars and as far as most people can tell, isn’t really helping build better homes, just more expensive and less affordable ones.

Modular can make the difference.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Make Your Reservation for October's Builder Breakfast

I've been very successful inviting interesting people to the monthly Modular Builder Breakfasts and this time is no exception.

The October Breakfast will be a little different. The main speaker will be, Steve Kennealy, Director of the Manufactured Buildings Program, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Public Safety, talking about the problems he faces with untrained, unqualified set crews in his state.

Then Mark Conte, PA Department of Community Economic Development, Factory Housing Building Standards, and Stan Weaver, Modular Home Erectors, Inc, will join with Mr Kennealy in an Open Forum where you can ask questions and get answers to some of the biggest problems facing the modular home industry including the future of licensing set crews.

If you build homes or work for a modular home factory, this is one Builder Breakfast you can’t afford to miss.

Join us on Wednesday, October 21st from 8:00 AM to 10:30 AM for a great breakfast buffet followed by an Open Forum.

It will be held at The Country Cupboard, 101 Hafer Road in Lewisburg, PA, 17837, one of the most unique venues in the entire state with two large hotels on the grounds for those needing rooms.

The cost is only $25 per person which includes the breakfast buffet.

CLICK HERE to make your reservation as seating is limited.