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Friday, December 14, 2018

What the Modular Housing Industry Really Wants in 2019

On Tuesday I hosted an informal “Breakfast with Modcoach” in Lewisburg, PA, the epicenter of modular housing in the Mid-Atlantic region of the US. The owners and top management from 6 modular home factories attended and shared their thoughts of what they are observing in our industry and what they want under the modular Christmas Tree for next year.


The attendees represent modular home factories that each have been in business for more than 40 years with a couple of them approaching 60 years turning out modular homes and commercial projects across the eastern half of the US.

For those not familiar with the East Coast/New England modular market here is a brief rundown. This market is the largest for custom modular construction. Some of the states in this region see almost 20% of new housing being modular/prefab. It is one of the country’s biggest commercial modular regions. It is considered by many to the birthplace of the modern modular housing industry.

Their factories have survived the 2008 housing recession and a couple have even weathered bankruptcy to come back stronger than ever. The people that shared their thoughts about our industry have the scars to prove they have battled through many problems.

The discussion focused around what they thought were the big issues facing the East Coast and New England modular home industry in the near future.

I had prepared a list of 20 things that everyone at housing conferences is currently talking about and asked them to pick 8 items from the list that included “Understanding BIM”, “Addiction in the Workplace”, “Solutions to Labor Shortage” and “Augmented Reality” and other hot topics the media and housing experts and consultants are running up the flagpole.

What I received back from the group didn’t really surprise me as much as it confirmed what I had suspected. The existing modular housing industry needs answers to some basic problems more than they need to hear about the newest and quite frankly, unproven technology.

Here are the top 10 things the East Coast modular industry wants for 2019:

1. Training for “new to modular” builders 2. Solutions to Labor Shortages 3. Understanding Millennials 4. High Freight costs 5. Recruiting new modular builders 6. Housing Trends in the East 7. New approaches to marketing 8. Set Crew training 9. Improving Quality 10. Improving Service to builders

Did you notice that automation, technology and BIM didn’t make the list?

Plans are now underway to address these issues. I am assembling a team to present builder training programs, recruiting programs for labor and new builders, set crew training and more.

This team has years of experience in all these areas and will soon begin offering live seminars, webinars, webcasts and Vlogging to everyone in the modular and prefab housing industry. Hoping to begin some of the programs in Spring of 2019.

Builder Breakfasts will begin in a few months throughout the East Coast and New England states.

To learn more about these new programs offered by Modular Home Builder contact me at modcoach@gmail.com.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

National Modular Home Builder Seeks Project Manager

Modular Project Manager Position. Dallas, PA.

Position will entail seeing modular projects through from initial plan development to the final stages of delivering and setting the projects. Projects will involve residential as well as light commercial, multi family and motels.


This position does not entail sales, but sales support and keeping the important details of each project in line and on time. Applicant must be organized and able to multitask. It is quite reasonable to have over 30 projects going at the same time, at different stages. The applicant will coordinate the pricing with factories, plan & blue print development with various engineering departments, as well as contract development and administration.

Service is handled by our National Service Manager, so it will not be the responsibility of the Project Manager. Any travel would be limited and rarely over night. Most travel if any will be daily travel to some factories for meetings or coordinating the decor and colors of a customer.

Initial hours will start at 28 hours or 4 days a week. Salary will be dependent on experience. Company principal strongly believes in rewarding the staff as the office productivity increases.

If you are looking for a rewarding opportunity that finally allows you to use your organizational skills and talents you need to check this out.

Contact bmerdavid@gmail.com for further information and to submit resume & experience.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

COCOON9 Latest Entry into Container Housing

Call it a movement or even a revolution; just don’t call it a fad, because that simply is not true. Companies like COCOON9, its contemporaries, and their innovative manufacturing partners like Sea Box Inc. will continue to push the needle on creative habitable design.


Construction utilizing containers has been evolving for several years. Early adopters of containerized buildings have included, among others, environmentalists interested in adaptive reuse and entrepreneurs seeking economies of scale. Modified containers along with other offsite and modular building systems are approaching an inflection point.
Changes to construction techniques and delivery methods are being driven by a global acceptance and desire for efficiency, sustainability, and profitability. Furthermore, transitioning workforce dynamics and improvements in technology are hastening the momentum towards new and better construction methods.


Enter the Cocoon9 by Sea Box. Each Cocoon9 habitat is manufactured to the highest standards within a controlled setting. This eliminates many of the inefficiencies and quality control issues inherent with onsite construction. It leverages the same positive attributes of other modular systems, including predictability and waste reduction. In addition, by utilizing shipping container technology, the Cocoon9 adds portability and durability to its sustainable benefits list.

Ellen gives away a COCOON9 on her show.

4 Steps Forward, One Step Back for British Modular Industry

The news in British media these days is the same as we’ve seen here. Modular, Modular and more Modular is needed as demand is high and output just doesn’t seem to be able to keep up.


However it's not from a lack of trying. Here are 4 new factories rushing in to fill the needs of England with projected numbers from one of these plants approaching 5,000 housing units. And sadly we have one factory that just couldn't keep their head above water.

Here is the latest news about those factories.

The Berkeley Group plans to start building modular homes from its factory in north Kent once the facility is operational in 2020.

The housebuilder said the core building of the factory is expected to be completed next year, with production to follow in 2020 once fit-out is complete.


The facility will employ more than 200 people and Berkeley said it planned to set up an apprenticeship scheme with a local college to help people get experience of working in modular manufacturing.

Ilke, which supplies housing associations, volume developers and small builders was the first to start production in Yorkshire. Its assembly line, which has 20 stations, aims to make 2,000 new homes a year within the next two years with plans to scale up to 5,000 homes a year by 2023.


It is also keen to support the local economy so the kitchens and windows are from Yorkshire, as are the steel frames, which are made in Scarborough.


Legal and General, which has a 550,000 sq ft modular housing factory in Sherburn-in-Elmet, recently delivered its first home to a site in the South East and has capacity to make 3,500 homes a year.


Meantime over in Leeds, developer Citu has opened a smaller-scale factory to make contemporary houses and flats for its Climate Innovation District development on Leeds’ South Bank.


It would seem it’s all bluebirds and sunshine for England’s modular home industry but there was a dark cloud as Carbon Dynamic, which specialized in the design and manufacture of low-energy pre-fabricated homes and commercial buildings, filed bankruptcy after running into cash flow problems.

All things considered, it hasn't been a bad year for modular housing in England. Can’t wait to see what the near future has in store for them.

CT Valley Homes Wins Two Year End Awards for Excellence

You would think winning one award from your peers in the new home construction business would be a great accomplishment but two in the same month is almost unheard of for a modular home builder.




The first award was the December “Home of the Month” by the Modular Home Builders Association (MHBA). Their beachfront custom modular home built by Ritz Craft Homes in Mifflinburg, PA features a third story deck with a fantastic view of the water.



Their second award was “Builder of the Year” from the Home Builders & Remodelers Association of Eastern CT.


A “tip of the hat” from Modcoach to Richard Wildermuth and Cathy Taylor of Connecticut Valley Homes and their experienced staff for being recognized as a great modular home builder...twice in one month!


Monday, December 10, 2018

New Modular Man Camp Factory Opens in Breckenridge, TX


The irony? That a newly-arrived business known for making modular homes could precipitate a local housing shortage.


“It is quite ironic, isn't it?” agreed Virgil Moore, the executive director of the Breckenridge Texas Economic Development Corporation. He spoke Nov. 28, during an open house for New Vision Manufacturing.

The company started operations in October, building six-bedroom modules to be used by oil field workers in the Permian Basin. The company has been on a hiring spree this fall, starting with less than 20 core workers and hoping to finish the year with nearly 100 builders.

And a year from now? General manager Andy Nauert predicted they could easily have 120 people working for them.

“I hope it's 150,” he said. “It just depends on how quickly we can train people and get production up. We try to not bring in more than ten a week, otherwise we can't supervise, train and evaluate them.”

The 136,000 square-foot facility is located in a building formerly used by modular home manufacturer Karsten Homes, which, Moore said, left town a few years back when operations were consolidated to Waco.

“In Breckenridge, we have a real history of several manufactured home builders,” he said. “So, we have a lot of skilled labor from which (New Vision) was able to hire for their initial round of employees.”

That explains one reason for the Oklahoma-based company to set up shop in Breckenridge. The other recalls the mythical First Rule of Real Estate – location, location, location.

“This was the closest plant available to West Texas,” Nauert said. “We're like 200 miles from Midland-Odessa. Most of the other manufacturers are in Fort Worth and Dallas at 400 miles away. If you start paying freight at seven, eight or nine dollars a mile, that puts us $2,000 more-competitive.”

CLICK HERE to read the entire Abilene Reporter News article

High Demand for These New Job Listings and Candidates

Even if the rumors are true that 2019 could see a slowdown in offsite and modular housing the factories still need to fill critical positions.


Below are LGA Recruiter’s latest list of both Candidates ready to begin a career at your factory and a list of Job Openings available in our industry throughout the US.

CLICK HERE to visit the LGA Recruiters website

Active Candidates
EXECUTIVE General Manager - 20 years HUD /MOD experience, prefers SE SALES Sales Rep - experience in Park Models, HUD / MOD, wants PA 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 PRODUCTION / OPERATIONS / PURCHASING Assistant Production Manager - 21+ years, wants East Coast VP of Manufacturing - 26 years Commercial MOD - no relo, will commute Production Manager - 26 years HUD / MOD - Northeast ENGINEERING / QUALITY 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 SERVICE Service Manager - 29 years HUD / MOD experience, PA, possible relo MATERIALS Materials Manager - HUD / MOD - 8 years industry experience, PA only Director of Materials - 40 years HUD / MOD - wants Midwest or Southeast Estimator / Project Manager - 3 years Commercial MOD - close to GA
Open Positions
EXECUTIVE CEO - Commercial MOD - South General Manager - HUD / MOD - Upper Midwest MATERIALS / PURCHASING Estimator - Multi-family MOD - Rocky Mountain Region Materials Manager - MOD - Pacific NW Materials Manager - Multi-family MOD - Rocky Mountain Region Materials Manager - MOD - Rocky Mountain Region Buyer - Commercial MOD - Southwest PRODUCTION / OPERATIONS Production Manager - HUD / MOD - South Production Manager - HUD / MOD - Midwest Production Manager - HUD / MOD - Southeast Production Manager - MOD - Rocky Mountain Region Production Manager - Commercial MOD - South Production Manager - Multifamily MOD - Rocky Mountain Region Production Supervisors - Commercial MOD - Northeast 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 / QUALITY Engineering Manager - MOD - Pacific NW Drafter - HUD / MOD - Midwest 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 SALES Sales Manager - HUD / MOD - Midwest Director of Business Development - Commercial MOD - South Sales Rep - MOD - South Sales Manager - Commercial MOD - Northeast Sales Rep - Commercial MOD - NYC Sales Rep - Residential MOD - Pacific NW


Friday, December 7, 2018

Millennials Aren't Killing Your Business, You Are!

Attention Baby Boomers, Millennials are here to stay. If you own a business in any of the following products you’ve probably seen your sales and profits falling. You try lots of different things to save what you can but it just isn’t working.


Canned Tuna American Cheese Homeownership
Motorcycles Beer Buffalo Wild Wings
Starter Homes Hooters Golf
Paper Napkins Breakfast Cereal Applebee’s Yogurt Bar Soap Diamonds
Designer Stuff Gyms Home Improvement Stores
Fabric Softener Traditional Banks Traditional Department Stores
Football Oil based products Coal

Baby Boomers try to blame the Millennial’s addiction to all things High Tech, Cell Phones and their love of the environment for why they aren’t buying your stuff. You simply don’t understand their political views and you still haven’t figured out what social platforms they’re using this week or who they follow. How many have heard of DamonAndJo? They have 750,000 Millennial followers!

The facts however show a different scenario why your business may be slowing down.

First, Millennials are cash strapped and burdened with college debt. Eating out at even mid priced casual restaurants is out of the question. Buy a home? With what?

Second, they want to be part of the solution to world pollution, world hunger and want a healthier world than they were born into.

And last but not least, your business sucks. Millennials can smell a dying business a mile off. Just like vultures, they will wait until the store files bankruptcy and the closing sales begin before they pick it clean. Techie stores like Circuit City, H H Gregg and Radio Shack simply couldn’t figure out how to sell them anything.

Meanwhile Best Buy, which at one time was heading down the same road, began actually asking Millennials what they wanted in an electronics store. Just a few years ago a Baby Boomer could walk into a Best Buy and be greeted by a sales clerk that was almost as dumb as they were when it came to new types of TVs, computers, cell phones and other Millennial toys.

Today when a Boomer goes into a Best Buy they see Millennials huddling around a sales associate their own age who doesn’t have to explain how Bluetooth works, the difference between and an I3 and I7 processor and have you noticed that the new Apple and Samsung phones don’t come with an instruction manual?


Now take another look at the list above and ask yourself why would a Millennial not buy these products. It’s not because the products lost real value in their lives.

They lost their appeal simply because Millennials really can’t afford them or see them as low tech and therefore unappealing or they see them as environmentally bad.

Now take a look at your customers. Are they mostly Boomers? And your sales force---Boomers? Your management---Boomers?

If you answered yes to two or three of these you just might be the next Radio Shack with good product but not knowing how to market and sell it to a Millennial.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Britain's Ilke Homes Opens Factory That Produces 6 Homes a Day

British modular home builder, ilke Homes, has officially opened the doors to its first modular housing factory in Knaresborough, Yorkshire.


The vertically integrated home builder aims to build 2,000 new homes a year within the next 24 months, and plans are already in place to scale up the operations to produce 5,000 homes per year in the next five years.


Modular housing is set to take off in the UK with experts saying that the ‘revolution’ in building could slash the usual 40 weeks it takes to build a home to just 10 days.


The state-of-the-art factory uses innovative, modern methods of construction to build eight modular homes every day and specializes in the latest off-site manufacturing techniques. The high-quality, energy-efficient homes are transported to developments across England and once on site, can be installed at a rate of six homes per day – significantly cutting the time to build a single family home to those who need it most.

Homes will have flexible layouts with over 100 possible variations, from two story terraced houses to three story semi-detached properties, and blocks of apartments of up to four stories.

Tiny House Factory Challenging Preconceived Notions

Every once in awhile I find a Tiny House on Wheels (THOW) that has me rethinking if I could live in one, at least for the Summer and this beaut from Sierra Tiny Houses, a California tiny house builder, is offering an entire collection of them.


The features of their homes is obvious from the pictures but taking a closer look at them shows a level of quality and ingenuity I haven’t seen in many THOWs before.


The exterior features lap siding with a 25 year warranty painted green to blend with the wooded space it will be delivered to.




The devastating wildfires in CA recently should give them quite a backlog of orders especially since the show pricing on their website. And even the prices are very reasonable.




Good Luck Sierra Homes from Modcoach!