Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Saratoga Modular Homes Shows Why Customization is Very Much Alive and Growing

When I was sent an email from Saratoga Modular Homes containing pictures of this beautiful modular home they recently finished I knew I had to share them with everyone. Custom modular homes are alive and thriving in New England and along the East Coast.

Saratoga Modular Homes specializes in the design and construction of custom modular homes, multifamily and commercial projects.

CLICK HERE to see a beautiful custom modular home.

They are a sister company to Saratoga Construction LLC, one of the leading custom home builders in Upstate New York, and offer complete turn-key construction packages in the Capital Region, Adirondacks, and the Mohawk Valley.

MHBA Announces Modular Home of the Year at Yearly Summit

Located lakefront in Cassopolis, MI, the two-story system-built Stone Lake Manor from Heritage Custom Builders and manufacturer Ritz-Craft has been named the 2018 Modular Home of the Year.

The sprawling 4,312 home uses every inch of its half-acre lot on the shore of Stone Lake. The six-bedroom and 4.5-bathroom home features an alluring 1,850 square feet walk-out lower level. Living, family and recreation spaces are ample, and the custom kitchen exudes luxury living. Mike Coeling of Heritage Custom Builders in Paw Paw, MI and Marshal Erb of Marshal Erb Design in Chicago, IL collaborated to create the original design. All seven sections were delivered on the same day. Construction was completed roughly 19 weeks after groundbreaking, not including the landscaping and pool.

The magnificent Stone Lake Manor represents the very best of the modular home industry for the year. “All the parties involved in this project displayed a high level of collaboration, you could not ask for better homeowners to work with, and our onsite team of craftsmen pulled all the finishes and details together,” said Tim Cassidy or Heritage Custom Builders. “The fluidity of our Chief Architect design system and the efficiency of Ritz Craft modular construction, paired with the willingness and creativity of Marshal Erb Design, allowed us to make this beautiful home a reality.”

The Modular Home of the Year is voted on by the public selected from the twelve prior Home of the Month winners. For more information on these awards and previous winners, check out: http://www.modularhome.org

New Job Listings for October

The Active Candidates section below represents candidates looking for new career opportunities.
The Open Positions section represents companies, who are looking for candidates to fill their open positions.
Contact Lynn Gromann at 888-831-0327 or Lynn.Gromann@LGARecruiters.com 
if you would like further information on an available candidate or on an open position.

Active Candidates

People puzzle piece


General Manager - 20 years HUD /MOD experience, prefers SE
Operations / General Manager - 10 years industry experience, with diverse background, prefer in or around TN
General Manager / VP Sales - 20 + years HUD / MOD, prefer South


Sales Rep - experience in Park Models, HUD / MOD, wants PA
Sales Rep - 20 years MOD / Commercial MOD, Midwest, no relo
Sales Rep - 16 years Commercial MOD / MOD - Prefer PA
Sales Rep - 27 years MOD - New England only
Sales Rep - 21 years MOD and Commercial - New England only
Sales Rep - 20 years HUD / MOD - only PA
Sales Rep - 8+ years Commercial MOD - prefers SE or West
Sales Rep - 27+ years Residential MOD - wants northeast
Sales Manager - 25 years MOD / HUD / wants SE or close
Director of Sales & Marketing - 28 years MOD experience, wants SE, S, SW


VP of Manufacturing - 26 years Commercial MOD - no relo, will commute
Production Manager - 26 years HUD / MOD, wants TX
Production Manager - 26 years HUD / MOD - Northeast


Engineering Manager - 11 years HUD / MOD, wants PA or commute
Design Manager - 3 years industry experience, wants West Coast
Engineering Manager - 17+ years HUD / MOD - wants DFW area only
Manufacturing Engineer - 13+ years MOD / HUD experience, AZ, CA
Engineering Manager - 20 years MOD experience, NE and wants Mid-Atlantic


Service Manager - 36 years HUD / MOD - wants East Coast
Service Manager - 29 years HUD / MOD experience, PA, possible relo


Director of Materials - 40 years HUD / MOD - wants Midwest or Southeast
Estimator / Project Manager - 3 years Commercial MOD - close to GA

Open Positions



Division Controller - MOD / HUD - Southeast


Materials Manager - MOD - Rocky Mountain Region
Materials Manager - Commercial MOD - Northeast
Materials Manager - MOD - Northeast
Buyer - Commercial MOD - Southwest


Production Manager - HUD / MOD - Southeast
Production Manager - MOD - Rocky Mountain Region
Plant Manager - MOD - Southeast
Production Manager - Commercial MOD - South
Production Manager - Multifamily MOD - Rocky Mountain Region
Production Supervisors - Commercial MOD - Northeast
Process Improvement Manager - Commercial MOD - Southwest
Project Manager - Commercial MOD - Southwest
Project Manager - Commercial MOD - Northeast
Production Manager - Commercial MOD - New England
Plant Manager - Residential MOD - Upper Midwest
Production Supervisor - Commercial MOD - Northeast


Engineering Manager - HUD / MOD - Southeast
Drafters - HUD / MOD - Southeast
Quality Assurance Manager - Commercial MOD - Southwest
Quality Assurance Manager - MOD - South
Quality Assurance Manager - Commercial MOD - Northeast
Quality Assurance Manager - Commercial MOD - South
Revit Designer - Commercial MOD - West
Asst. Structural Engineer (EIT or PE) - Northeast
Team Lead Drafter - HUD / MOD - Northeast


VP of Business Development - Commercial MOD - South
Sales Rep - MOD - South
Sales Rep - HUD / MOD - Upper Midwest
Sales Manager - Commercial MOD - Northeast
Sales Rep - Commercial MOD - NYC
Sales Rep - Residential MOD - Pacific NW
Sales Rep - Commercial MOD - Northeast
Sales Rep - Commercial MOD - New England

Friday, October 12, 2018

Code Compliance Depts vs Modular Housing Industry

Heading into the MHBA Summit this week and reading that Plan Review people were going to speak about the Current Regulatory Landscape I wasn’t going to miss another session of them blaming the modular industry for massive delays in getting submitted plans reviewed and approved.

Photo Courtesy of Prince George's County.MD

As I sat there with my coffee and bowl of free Hershey Miniatures I waited for NY’s Dept of State speaker to once again defend their slow approval times.

For the first 15 minutes I began formulating another article about there being no improvement since last year. Then Don Thomas started telling us that plan approvals had dropped to a manageable 2 weeks. What! Did I hear that correctly?

He told everyone, both factory attendees and builders, that once a plan is received and logged in it should take about 2 weeks +/- to return it approved. Even though they are still shorthanded they have improved things that much on their end.

So why are so many factories and builders still complaining about their process.

As Don Thomas continued speaking about the process he began giving example after example of Third Party agencies missing key information on the plans, checks not being received with plan submissions, required notations missing, wrong IRC reference numbers used, PE’s submitting wrong calculations, mail sent to the Dept of State’s main address instead of Plan Review’s address and so much more.

It was at this point that I began to realize that even though both the factory and Third Party agency did their jobs it might not be enough. It simply makes no sense to have to pay someone to review other’s work and then have that work reviewed again just to make sure everything is correct on the plan submitted to the state.

Now I began wondering why so much required information is submitted either incorrectly or missing entirely.

It’s not like the state people are finding major building code violations making the project unsafe. Rather it’s the submitted plans are redlined and returned because of basic clerical errors, sometimes up to 80 on a single house plan.

Builders ask "why did the state hold up my plans for 8 weeks before they approved them?” but should they really be asking their factory to see their returned plans listing clerical error after clerical error that caused the delay in the first place.

Screaming at the state isn’t the answer. Yelling at the factory isn’t either. It appears a vast majority of the time it’s just plan old human error or omission that is the culprit.

Atlanta’s Cortland Partners Ready to Buy European Modular Factory

Atlanta-based Cortland Partners — which owns more than 49,000 apartment homes in the U.S. and has offices in Shanghai and the U.K. — is in talks to buy a stake in an undisclosed European modular homebuilder, Cortland CEO Steven DeFrancis told the audience Wednesday during the Bisnow Multifamily Annual Conference Southeast at the W Hotel – Midtown.

“We are looking at modular development,” DeFrancis said. “It is much more accepted in the U.K. than it is in the States, but we do think that's the way the world is going.”

When asked after his speech, DeFrancis said the decision on the investment is imminent.

“It's either going to happen or die in the next 10 days,” he said.

Modular construction in Europe is not a new phenomenon. But unlike in the U.S., where it is relatively uncommon and focused more on stick-framed apartment projects, modular developers in Europe use concrete and metal frame construction. Each unit is assembled in a factory, brought to the development site where a concrete core is erected and the units are stacked around it to create a residential tower, DeFrancis said.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

MHBA Summit Attracts Great Lineup of Vendors

This year’s Modular Home Builder's Association Annual Summit in Hershey saw the largest crowd ever with many of those attending wanting learn more about the advantages of modular home construction. Lots of networking, great presentations and of course lots of chocolate including a delicious Chocolate bread pudding and even chocolate shampoo in the hotel rooms.

Jonny Walker with BlueLinx

The other thing I was so impressed with were all the vendors, both repeat sponsors and new ones showcasing their products. If I were still a builder instead of a blogger, I would have spent so much more time at each of them.

Here are just a few of the people that helped make this year's Summit a success.

Jeff Hunt with Heister House Millworks

Stephan Constant with Lifebreath

Bob Mariotti (left) with Mariotti Building Products

Mike from Qoora Cladding

Peter Jones from Citizens Bank

I’ll have more news very soon of what happened at the MHBA Summit including the House of the Year, the new slate of officers and the presentations.

The UK Desperately Needs New Ways to Build Offsite Homes

The percentage of homes built offsite remains low due to concerns from housebuilders, but with new government thinking MMC could provide urgently needed housing.

We all know there is a severe housing shortage in the UK and the number of homes we require to meet the needs of the nation seems to change daily, especially since the Office for National Statistics has just revealed that it may have overestimated the country’s requirements for accommodation.

Nevertheless, around 300,000 new homes per year is the current consensus and it is just not going to happen. To put that into perspective, the latest planning pipeline report by the Home Builders Federation shows that 391,000 homes were granted planning permission last year, more than double the 183,570 actually built.


Colorado Developer Using Modular to Battle Affordability Housing Problem

Some Colorado developers are showing a growing interest in factory-built modular housing amid the affordability crisis in the Denver Metro Area. Developer Adam Berger is currently working on a duplex project in Aurora on North Alton Street with completion set in a few weeks, leaving the total time for construction at around two months.

"Part of the reason why we can do it so quickly is because essentially everything in the unit is finished,” said Berger.

The home segments are built out of state with surfaces in place and shipped in to install on site. A crane lifts the modulars up and puts them in place for workers to make connections to the foundation.


Monday, October 8, 2018

Labor Shortage Isn’t the Only Shortage in Housing

The world's third oldest profession, home building, hasn’t changed much over the past 2 Milleniums. Find land, dig a footer, bring in raw materials, add workers and within a span of time the new occupants move in. Some of those structures are still standing in the Middle East.

I live on the East Coast near some of the oldest settlements in the US. Anyone that drives through my area will see homes built 200 years ago still being occupied. Log cabins from America’s Revolution and the Civil War eras still stand in testimony to the craftsmen’s work of those days.

Today not a single one of those homes could pass even the most relaxed building codes. OSHA would have shut down every single one of those construction sites for violations and injury. Environment regulators would not allow any of those homes to be built next to fresh water streams which was the perfect place to dispose of human and animal waste.

What we had back in those days were workers that took pride in their talent for building homes. It was almost inherent that men and some women could build their own home. Some of the cabins, built by pioneers traveling west on wagon trains, are not only still standing but generations of people have lived in them.

200 years ago men and women that built homes and entire towns were not looked upon as menial labor lucky to find work. They were craftsmen sought out by both the rich and not so rich to build their homes. Over the years these workers honed their skills by adding many new trades like glazing, wrought iron, fancy interior trim and many others.