Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Michigan's Housing Problem Could Benefit From Modular Construction

Michigan has a serious labor shortage in home construction which will slow the pace of new home building for at least the next six years.

Usually some 28,000 new homes are built each year in Michigan. This past year, there were just 13,000. Bob Filka, CEO of the Homebuilders Association of Michigan, says this is in part because of a workforce shortage.

That shortage of labor include framers, carpenters, plumbers, and electricians. According to Filka, Michigan lost approximately 60,000 workers in the industry during the downturn. They left the state, retired, or changed careers, and many of them are not coming back to the job in the sector.

Modular Home Construction to the Rescue

Modular home construction could help solve this problem but not one word of it was mentioned by Filka. One can only assume that he and the vast majority of the local HBA chapters are site builders that have never looked to modular and if they have, you can bet they did not see the inherent advantages to their business. 

It is not only natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy that makes builders appreciate modular construction, it could also be a extreme labor shortages.

“As a result, [the labor shortage] is going to put pressure on how long it takes to get a new home built, and how long it takes to get someone to come out and check your house if you have a problem with plumbing or electrical systems,” says Filka.

To ease the challenge, the governor just signed into law changes to the core curriculum that will provide greater flexibility for students to start enrolling in vocational education programs again.

On the other hand, Filka is partnering with other associations and hoping to change the perceptions toward construction jobs in general.


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