Thursday, October 30, 2014

Is Being a Site Builder a Better Choice?

The modular home factories are seeing more and more of their builders going back to site building and with good cause. What once was a promising way to build a home, modular construction has now become very complicated, regulated, costly and time intensive.

Here are some of the reasons that builders may be looking at site building as a better way to build:

1. Modular home builders are tired of fees being added to the pricing such as carrier maintenance fee, fuel surcharge, material surcharge, etc. If these fees are going to be charged then just put them into the price of the house so that they know the real price up front. Few, if any, of these charges are added to the site builder.

2. Site builders do not have to worry about crane placement and if they are doing infill lots in the city, they do not have to worry about getting street closures, police escorts, etc, all of which cost a lot of money that most of the time the modular builder just has to eat.

3. Modular builders are tired of the crane companies adding prices to the actual crane cost. For example, $250.00 and hour commencing from the time they leave the yard to when they return. This is fine with the builder but now the crane companies are beginning to add up to $1000.00 for the crane to be set up at the site and another $1000.00 for the crane to be buttoned up and returned to the yard. No crane if you site build.

4. Modular builders are tired of being remodelers. Many times, items are not completed in the factory and sent to the modular builder with a "get it out of the line and delivered and let the builder take care of these unfinished items on site" attitude.  This simply goes against why the builder would buy a modular to begin with.

If it is not complete before leaving the plant, then shame on the factory for letting it go. Modular builders are told that the modules have many inspections before it leaves the factory gates. If that is true, why are so many items incomplete or missing when the house gets to the builder? The modular builder then becomes a remodeler and they are tired of it because once they submit the bills for those repairs and completions, the factory wants to negotiate with them on the costs. Site builders don’t have to repair other people’s problems very often. If they make a mistake, they fix it.

5. The advantages of "time " in modular construction is lost when the builder submits an order and finds that his home will not hit the line until some 90 days later because the factory is running through some multi family projects which evidently takes priority. The factory needs to leave some slots available for the individual builder so that his unit can be completed in a reasonable time. Site builders, that in that same 90 day period can get their house framed, the utilities installed and most of the interior work performed so that the time advantage in modular is really no longer apparent to the modular builder.

Add in the extra scrutiny of state and local codes and regulations that tend to slow down getting floor plans 'stamped' so that they can be sent into the local planning office to get approved and you could add another 30-60 days to a modular home.

6. The modular builder’s factory rep no longer goes to the set because many of the companies, in trying to save money, have cut the expense account of their reps meaning that they will not be reimbursed for their gas and vehicle use. The factories that still encourage their rep go to sets want them to be there when the builder notes a problem and call the plant to report and perhaps solve the problem on the phone AT THE SET.

They save a penny on the expense account but lose a modular builder because of customer service. Speaking of customer service, modular builders tell me they used to be able to call the rep or customer service to report a problem. In this money saving phase at the plant, the rep is able to take the call and then submit the required paperwork but the customer service at the plant is now an "800" voice mail. Many of the calls are not returned and the builder simply gets fed up with the whole situation and quits using modular.

Simply switching factories in order to find a better one, the modular builder usually finds the same thing again.

I know I have put a lot of this on the factory side and everyone knows there are two sides to every story. Modular builders are not faultless in their relationship failures with their factories. But I will save that for another time.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Some Things Just Don't Add Up

It's raining here today and driving back from my meeting I noticed a site builder's crew working in the rain on a new home. I stopped and watched as the water poured off the lumber and the framers were walking through the first floor deck depositing big piles of mud where they stepped. None of the lumber was covered. There was also a 40 cubic yard dumpster on the site.

Then I wondered why new home buyers would prefer their homes being built in inclement weather. I asked myself what cruise ship passengers would think if the ship they would be sailing on were built at the same pier where they boarded. That would probably not very good. That is why they are usually built 'off-site'.

Then I wondered if airplane passengers would like to see their airplanes built at the airport in the rain and snow. Again that wouldn't be good. Boeing wants their planes safe and dry while they are building them.

So why do new home buyers think that a home built on their lot stick by stick by a subcontractor that probably is paying low wages and hiring anyone that can fog a mirror is superior to a modular home?

The answer to that continues to be a mystery.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Apex Homes Restart – Life After Hardship

Recently I met with Lynn Kuhns, President of Apex Homes, and toured the Middleburg, PA factory. I was anxious to learn how Apex was doing since coming out of bankruptcy. The company filed in January 2012.

What a wonderful surprise to see people working everywhere around the plant, the production line filled and lots of modules in the yard waiting for delivery. I had hoped to see a factory recovering from a bad spell but found a factory that looked like it never missed a beat.

Like most East Coast factories, Apex ships a lot of homes to NJ to help rebuild the shore.

Lynn, who has been with Apex for 22 years, was given the President’s position by the Bankruptcy Court and when it was offered up for sale, he put together the finances to purchase it on August 1st of this year. I asked Lynn if it felt any different the first day he walked into the plant knowing it was his. He simply smiled, reflected on what I asked and said “yes.” He told me he hadn’t noticed that until I asked him. That’s a sign of a good leader.

As he took me on a tour of plant we walked through the kitchen cabinet plant. I didn’t know that they built all the custom kitchens in-house. Beautiful workmanship and quality boxes make this one feature that most factories do not get using cabinets made by a supplier.

Another point he made about modular construction was the inherent green features achieved. At a typical site built home there is usually at least one or two 40 cubic yard dumpster to haul away to the dump all the extra building materials. He showed me that after a full week's production, they only have need for one small dumpster, everything is either sent to recyclers or used within the factory. 

When we finished up the tour, the last stop was to a typical small central PA restaurant where everything is made from scratch. I pigged out. I really don’t get back to PA enough.

Just like the restaurant, Apex Homes is a PA ‘made from scratch’ treasure. 

NAHB BSC's Disappointing Turnout for Modular Home Industry

Yesterday I attended the first of the two day BSC Showcase 24 at the NAHB's headquarters in Washington DC. This is my first time experiencing any BSC event that showcased all the non-site built methods; Panels, Concrete, Log and Modular.

To say I was disappointed with the turnout for the only thing that dedicated to modular, a 9:00 - 10:00 AM meeting around a table that wouldn't fit all the industry folks that regularly attend one of my monthly Builder Breakfast, would be an understatement.

Yes, there several factories (4) and builders (4) there but the rest of the approximately 20+ people were suppliers, sponsors, NAHB people and me. Tom Arnold spoke about the importance of factories getting behind RESNET's effort for industry wide acceptance but that was met with mostly blank stares and an agreement to right a letter of support for RESNET. You would think with the 2015 Energy codes hitting the housing industry soon that everyone would be worried and trying to get ahead of it but we wrote a letter of support and to whom it will be sent is still a mystery to little old me.

That was the extent of this once a year meeting for modular housing and it was dismal.

Then from 10:00 AM to noon there was absolutely nothing of interest for the modular people to listen to or attend. Some of us went to the Peet's Coffee Shop across the street and had our own meeting. I forgot to mention, there was no coffee served by the NAHB until the luncheon. What is that all about? Maybe a coffee shortage.

This was what the modular folks had to do for almost two hours before the luncheon
The rest of the afternoon was filled with speakers, including Dr. David Crowe NAHB's chief economist, and Jim Tobin, Senior Vice President and Chief Lobbyist, NAHB, talking about very interesting things that have nothing to do with furthering any of our systems industries.

Dr. David Crowe talking about.......
The highlight of the afternoon was the Opening Keynote speaker, Lt General Rick Lynch, that we all knew wouldn't talk about our industry but was so darn interesting that everyone was glued to his every word.

Then we had the S.A. Walters Systems-Built Achievement Award. Kevin Flaherty, a long time supporter of the modular industry and the BSC was given this prestigious award. A big thank you to Kevin.

Kevin Flaherty (left) accepting the S.A. Walter Award
Next came the Jerry Rouleau Awards for Excellence in Marketing and Home Design. This year saw Ritz-Craft Homes kick butt and take just about every modular home building award. The winning entries from them were fantastic. Their website, phone app and homes they designed and built were deserving of these accolades. Jerry Rouleau would be pleased.

Reed Dillon (in the center) accepting another award for Ritz-Craft Homes
Then the best part of the day happened; the networking reception. Good food and good conversation. Turns out that many of the modular people attending Monday's session were as disappointed as I was.

The Networking Reception
Modular housing should be the big dog in the BSC but it seems to be treated like something to be tolerated instead of what could be the future of housing in the US. Too bad that the NAHB doesn't get it.

The log home industry was hitting on all cylinders with their own separate seminar and council meeting and a table of magazines all featuring log homes. I looked for the modular home table with all its magazines but there was none. Maybe the log home folks hid them......

All Logs, no Modular
By the way, Modcoach was busy changing all the NAHB public computers to show the Modular Home Builder blog website. My little victory for modular. Will I be invited back to Showcase 25...probably not but I will certainly try.
My contribution to modular housing

Sunday, October 26, 2014

My Interview with Anthony Zarrilli, President of Zarrilli Homes in NJ

This week I interviewed Anthony Zarrilli, the President and CEO of Zarrilli Homes in Brick, NJ. Anthony is one of the biggest custom modular home builders in the east.

Anthony Zarrilli
Modcoach (Gary Fleisher): Let's start off with an easy question. How did you get started in the modular housing industry? 

Anthony: My father constructed a modular over 41 years ago but it was basically a glorified double wide that rolled off the truck onto the foundation.  He vowed to never do one again.  Then about 18 years ago I started investigating the industry and after two years of due diligence set my first modular approximately 16 years ago.
I grew up in a family of builders and proud to say I am a third generation builder. 

My career started at a very early age taking rides to job sites along side my father in his truck.  At age 4-5 years old he would bring me on job sites and I would pick up nails to reuse and watch all the workers perform their duties.  From that point as I matured I worked up to pushing a broom and cleaning up sites, then masonry, carpentry-framing and finish work, electrical work, HVAC, tile, hardwood, plumbing, siding, roofing, etc.  I performed ALL facets of construction hands on for many years prior to running the jobs as a supervisor.  I went to college at the University of Florida in Gainesville and obtained a degree in Economics with a minor in Finance.  I also obtained my MBA from Georgian Court University in NJ.  The Zarrilli family has been building at the Jersey Shore for well over 75 years.  I can go much further into my experiences and education (reading blueprints, using survey equipment, operating machinery (heavy and light equipment), schooling, etc. but I am not sure how much you would like to hear or know.

Modcoach: That is one awesome background.  Now on the some questions about modular construction today. How has Hurricane Sandy or other natural disasters, like floods or forest fires, impacted your business? 

Anthony: Sandy is noted as one of the worst natural disasters to hit the continental US ever.  Obviously it created more physically work in our area but has caused many other problems as well.  I will focus on a few that directly affect the modular industry.  Before Sandy Zarrilli Homes was growing at a double digit percentage year after year with 2012 being our best year.  We were steadily growing and building homes for our customers that “wanted” to build a new home.  Now after the storm almost all customers that are building are for the fact that they “have” to rebuild their home.  This starts the process of on a completely different mindset and stress level; coupled with the fact that they are not obtaining the necessary money from their insurance company, SBA, FEMA, Government Agencies, etc. Add that to the permit process is much more complicated and lengthy, everyone became a contractor or located themselves here to be one, and we went from having approximately a half dozen modular builders in our area to 3-4 dozen. 

Their lies the main problems that need to be dealt with that’s directly hurting the modular industry not only in NJ but throughout many parts of the US:

  • Modular homes are being sold by inexperienced and unqualified “salesmen” and I use the term loosely.  How is someone supposed to correctly sell a product that they know nothing or little about and has no experience within the industry.  Right here alone it is a situation set up to fail.
  • Unqualified builders have become attached to a or several factories to build modular homes.  I drive around every day seeing homes set that have or proceeding with MANY problems.  (boxes don’t line up, roof lines are off, set in wrong locations and must be moved, and the worst one homes are sitting for 6-12 months before being worked on for completion.  There are two main reasons that are industry is looked at as the “advantage” to build modular- one time and two cost savings.  Well when a project is sold by someone who doesn’t know what they are talking about and then built by an inexperience modular builder you just took the only two items presently keeping our industry alive.  I know we offer many more advantages but these are the two that are perceived presently by the public as the main reasons to build modular.  If you take them away due to the reasons stated above we are at a much more disadvantage than we deal with presently.
  • A lot of out of town or state contractors have come to our area and besides the problems above causing other legal problems.  They are under or not insured at all.  They are offering unrealistic expectations and taking large deposits then under delivering and/or leaving without doing work with the only money that the customer has to work.  By the time they get to me, again, the stress and frustration levels are at a boiling point.  Modular manufactures, at the least, should be “interviewing” properly their customer base and just don’t sell to anyone who comes along-this is EXTREMELY bad for our industry’s reputation.
  • We are also assisting our customers from day one after the storm from the ICC, insurance, RREM, bank financing, etc. paperwork to obtain the necessary funds to complete the project through variances, lot consolidation and other documentation.  We also are doing a lot of volunteering work to assist the public with a lot of the paperwork stated and also remediation of job sites, demolitions, clothes and furniture drives, etc. to also get people back on their feet.  There is so much more I can go into but for the mere fact of time and space will end with these three.  If anyone would like to discuss further I can be contacted at my office anytime.

Here is a house we are finishing up in Long Beach Township for a Sandy victim-NOT your “typical” modular  home.

Modcoach: Are you doing commercial projects like hotels, apartment buildings, etc?

Anthony: We are currently in the process of building a few commercial projects with the one that will come first is the Shellilegh Club in Belmar, NJ.  This is a private club that is sole purpose is to raise money and help the community.  I am proud to be a member as well be the company chosen to lead this project into becoming a reality.  It is a 40’ x 90’ structure that is going to have a prefabricated basement, Superior Walls, and twelve boxes that make up the modular structure.  We helped the Club in obtaining necessary variances, demolition, plans, engineering, site work, etc.  We are going to build this structure behind the existing one and finish it prior to knocking down the old one.  We will obtain Certificate of Occupancy on new then knock down the old one so that the Club does not skip a beat in their fund raising activities.  We are constantly trying to accommodate all of our customers in their each unique situations.  Once done the club will continue working on fundraising to help so many less fortunate throughout our community.  I cannot wait to see what this new building will help them do in the future!

Modcoach: Is the size of today’s homes different from the boom times before 2008?

Anthony: The homes we are constructing today are much more filled with amenities than square footage. Although we still are doing homes presently from 6000-11000, we are not choosing to do them as frequently.  Our resources are much better used to assist in getting people back in their homes and having them obtain some sense of normalcy in their lives.  Our home sizes are typically falling between 1800 sq. ft and 2800 sq. ft packed with items such as pot fillers, elevators, IT smart homes, high efficiency products, Gourmet kitchens and spa style baths, master bedrooms with sitting/reading areas, large balconies and entertainment areas, etc.  People want to be pampered when they come home and these types of features are what they are looking to enjoy when coming home after a long day at work or from the beach.  Customers are not looking to have large rooms that are un/partially furnished and not used but more modest but extremely “comfortable.

Modcoach: I’ve written quite a bit lately about stricter codes and regs for modular housing. Have state and local code regulations been hurting your business?

Anthony: New Jersey’s local municipalities regulations differ from township to township.  Zoning, Engineering, Building codes, etc.  Townships in our area understaffed with an extreme workload.  Lost permit packages, high frustration and stress levels, long approval times are common place every day.  It has been extremely difficult obtaining any type of updates on permits during the process from any township department.  This was always a problem prior to the storm but manageable, presently it has become a huge bottleneck in the process stifling the entire building process.  Typically a permit once submitted would take 6 weeks for approval now are taking 3-4 months… We are trying to work closely with the townships, having meetings to discuss ways that each party can improve their part of the process to assist in becoming more efficient.  A lot of work is ahead of us but we are making progress slowly.  If we all work together this process can be streamlined but all parties must be willing participants; and quite frankly some townships choose to ‘participate” some others not.

Modcoach: The cost of shipping homes is continuing to rise. How is that impacting your  home sales?

Anthony: Any increase in cost has an impact on each and every home sale.  Shipping happens to be a major cost that has continuously been on the rise.  The factories as well as the their trucking services need to be more sensitive of their costs and how it is affecting the number of homes being delivered.  This cost is one of the largest disadvantages we, as an industry, have in comparison to the  “ on-site stick built” market.  I am not sure of a solution to this problem but I am sure if we all work together we can come up with a more efficient and cost effective solution to not price modular homes out of the market.

Modcoach: Are you getting more involved in social media such as Facebook and Pinterest?

Anthony: We have always found social media as a great tool for advertising, branding, and getting information out to the public at an inexpensive cost.  For example: we will post pictures and videos on Facebook the day of the house set. We start with delivery and take it box by box through raising the roof and the crane leaving the site-all time stamped. We then do weekly pictures with job progress.  You can’t imagine the feedback we get from the customers as well as the general public. They are amazed and ask a lot of questions as well as share the information with their friends, family and colleagues.  Twitter, Pinterst, YouTube, etc. are inexpensive powerful tools to get your presence known and distribute information.  If you are not on social media and using it as much as possible you behind the curve. 

Modcoach: Until last week I used 3% as the modular share of the new home market but I have downgraded that to only 1.3% since seeing the second quarter of 2014 report. Why do you think that the modular home industry has such a low % of the total new home market?

Anthony: There is no easy answer to that question but here is what I have observed.
The industry in of itself is its own worst enemy.  There is lack of knowledge, experience, training, etc. from the factory to the retail sales teams.  Everyone just wants to sell homes but are not really sure how to do it.  Our industry, and not by choice, is under the microscope and everyone is always looking for a reason for us to fail.  This is not the case in the “stick built” world.  We have a great product but need to move it from factory to families as seamless as possible.  I find that Zarrilli Homes’ biggest obstacle is time.  For some reason, whether it be tv shows, books, paper ads, etc. stating an unreasonable time to be in your new home from day of set, is really setting us up for failure as well. We ALL need to be more conscience of the information being distributed to the public.  Inaccurate information, as minute as it may seem, can have long lasting ripple effect for years to come throughout the industry.

State and local regulatory agencies, (most the permit agencies), need to be educated on modular process.  They seem to require MUCH more information on a modular home for the permit process than for the conventional stick built home.  This deters many customers and builders from going that route due to the shear amount of paperwork and assistance required to get through the process.  I compiled a permit package for a stick built home and a modular home side by side and send a picture in the your blog-the stick built home package was about 2” thick while the modular home was over 14+” thick.  I think this is a sign of just how tedious the modular permit process can be.  I am confused on why it has to be this way for we are all building homes just one method is building more off site and trucking in to the lot (much more efficiently and higher quality as well) than the other. Why is SO MUCH more information required?

Educating, Educating, Educating-I can’t stress this enough. We must educate everyone from the factories, builders, permitting agencies, to the customer or final end user, about the modular home industry.  There are too many misconceptions, misinformation and miscommunication going on every day.  Homes can be made in any style, size, or layout that a homeowner wants-there isn’t any modular home we cannot build-it is just a matter of how much work will be done on site.  We have built homes from 500 sq. ft. through 12,000 and the process is the same it is just how much work is left to do on site. 
  • For example most people think that a modular home can only have rooms the size of the “boxes” transported on the trucks and the specifications shown on websites of factories is all you can choose when this is just not the case.  You can have rooms 30’ x 30’ without a wall in the room but a piece of steel will be installed on site to accommodate and any cabinet, plumbing fixture, elevator or fireplace, etc. installed in your home.. 
  • We cannot let builders who are not qualified or don’t have the proper knowledge build modular homes without training.  Factories have to be more prepared to do more than sell a home to someone who has never built a modular successfully. This can be devastating to our industry when a modular home is set and problems start from day one-from the home not fitting properly, to sitting for long lengths of time without work being done, etc. all ending with a very dissatisfied customer.  I see this going on every day and if we want to raise the bar in our industry we must raise the bar on the “players” involved.

Anthony: Gary, you ALWAYS do a wonderful job with highlighting both the good that is going on in our industry as well as the “not so good”.  The best part is when we see you go above and beyond to showcase the reasons for our struggles and what we can do to correct them. I can literally write a book on this industry, including the processes from sales to certificate of occupancy as well as warranty and customer relations but hope the few points I've made is enough for now.   I am optimistic the information I shared will in some way help in the process of educating, if only one more person, a builder, factory, vendor or customer, so that they can see how great our industry and the product is that we offer.  I truly love what I do but just wish that so many facets of it weren’t made so unnecessarily difficult so that we may complete our homes and see families enjoying more of them every day.  

Modcoach: As always it is a good experience talking with you. The issues you have mentioned are what every modular home builder faces. Thank you so much for taking the time to share with everyone your thoughts about improving our industry.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Is Modular Housing Circling the Drain?

The second quarter of 2014 should be the best time period for factories to build and ship modular homes. Winter has ended, spring has sprung and both homeowners and modular home builders are chomping at the bit to get started.

But something happened this year in the modular housing industry that should send chills up the spine of every factory owner and modular home builder especially on the East Coast. Hurricane Sandy hit New York and New Jersey destroying thousands of homes that is about the only thing that is keeping many east coast factories alive this year.

Over the past few years I have been reporting that the modular industry has had a 3% share of the single and multi-family new home market. Starts have hovered in the mid to upper six digits for a couple of years now and I was using 24,000 as the number of new modular homes (SFH and MFamily) produced. The modular home industry can survive on that but it needs to find ways to get to 4% which would mean opening the equivalent of 32 new factories.

If the second quarter of 2014 is any indication of what is ahead for modular housing, we really need to begin gearing up for either a battle to reclaim our place in the housing industry or a way to at least stop circling the drain.

The second quarter shows that only the Middle Atlantic region of the US saw positive growth over the same quarter in 2013 and it was entirely attributable to the modular houses being shipping into NJ. 128 homes were shipped there in 2013 and 286 shipped in the second quarter of 2014; a 158 home (123.4%) increase. Wow! But every other state in the Middle Atlantic region dropped with PA losing 48.6% and MD seeing an almost 50% drop in modular home shipments.

EVERY other region of the US is down in modular home shipments.

Now here comes the bad news. The modular housing industry is no longer hovering around a 3% market share. It has dropped to 1.3%. Let me say that again for the people that think I made a mistake…..1.3% Market Share.

Why is this happening? I believe there are several major reasons for this:

  • Lack of identity. Each factory and builder tries to explain to their customer why a modular home is a better way to build but we, as an industry, have yet to come together and market ourselves to the new home buyer.
  • Huge tract builders. When the housing recession hit in 2008, the huge tract builders hunkered down, sold off thousands and thousands of building lots, stockpiling cash and then rebuying those lots a few years later for pennies on the dollar. Then the giants awoke from their sleep and started building again with added gusto. Modular home factories have never been able to break into supplying the huge tract builders.
  • Codes and Regulations. If you are in the modular home business, you are acutely aware of what both state and local code regulators and inspectors think of modular housing. Even though modular housing has proven itself to be greener and better built than site built homes, they continue to kill is with the death of a thousand cuts. Most states equate us with HUD manufactured homes and some state regulatory administrations have modular housing lumped in with amusement parks. Huh!
  • Engineering delays. A site builder is at a real advantage here. Everyone has to have their plans approved and/or stamped by the appropriate state and local offices but modular housing has an even harder battle to fight because of additional engineering delays brought about because in most instances the factory is building the home in one state and shipping to another. Enter third party inspectors, a necessary process that ensures that the house will meet a particular state and local building codes, unlike the local site builder that lives with a more relaxed code enforcement and can usually get the house permit quicker and with a lot less paperwork. This one thing has slowed down one of modular housing’s big advantages….TIME.
  • A lack of a national voice. Only recently has someone started putting together a coordinated effort to be the voice of Modular Housing. That is the MHBA. They are trying to get every factory and modular home builder in the US to join with them to help be that voice. Only two years out of the gate and already they are making a difference for the modular housing industry. If you haven’t joined the MHBA, you are missing one of the best things going for modular housing.
  • No organized training. For years this blog has been working to get the factories and the builders to begin putting together marketing plans, business plans and training programs for builders and factory sales reps. That has to start and it has to start now!

Let’s begin to find ways to plug the drain and begin to fill the sink with modular homes until we become a housing force to be reckoned with.

Join Margo and I as we begin hosting “Modular Builders Only” Round Tables throughout the New England and Middle Atlantic regions to listen to what you, the builder, want to see happen to begin changing our industry for the better. We will be announcing the schedule for the Round Tables shortly.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Just Some Random Pictures in a West Coast Prefab Factory

Recently I was sent some stills from a video produced by a well known West Coast prefab factory. I would like to share them with you only to show how a steel built home differs from an East Coast wood built home.

The first screen shot has 3 guys up on ladders working while 6 guys stand in a circle and appear to be making gestures over a set of blue prints (one has a cup of coffee) and another is bending over looking for a screw. In PA we call this a PennDOT work crew; 6 supervisors and 3 workers.

Here is another shot from below with 3 guys balanced on two ladders while a supervisor looks on. I really don’t think this is the way the ladder manufacturer wanted his ladders used.

The third picture appears to be a guy, again on a ladder, using an angle grinder above his head.

My friends keep telling me not to point out these obvious funny things until they get blue in the face. It doesn’t stop me.