Monday, February 16, 2015

Beracah Homes Scores a Victory with Habitat for Humanity

Demand for quality housing remains at a premium, which is why Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County is tweaking its formula for building homes.

For decades, the nonprofit's construction arsenal consisted of three pillars: new construction, rehabs and recycles. But the New Castle County chapter is adding a fourth pillar – pre-fabricated modular homes.

"When we sit down to plan our construction process for the year, we consider the areas where we have obligations to build, and we certainly are looking at dollars," said Michael Synczyszyn, Habitat's director of construction. "Adding the modular piece to our overall construction skill-set allows us to maximize every dollar that comes into our organization and to stretch it."


Habitat has built 22 homes in Middletown, which is about an hour from its Wilmington headquarters depending on traffic. CEO Kevin Smith said the majority of his volunteers are in northern New Castle County, and given Middletown's location, it was not only tough to find volunteers on a regular basis to build homes from scratch, but it was also not cost effective from a staffing standpoint.


According to Smith, it can cost upwards of $165,000 to build a single Habitat townhome on site. Smith said implementing modular as an option will save anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 per home.

"We are trying to save every penny we can because the bottom end for us is that we need to build an affordable house for the families that we serve. So every dollar that we save makes the house more affordable to the families that we're looking to put into these homes," Smith said.

Sussex County-based Beracah Homes won the contract through a competitive bid process. The modular home builder is creating three homes for Habitat to start; a 1,456 square foot ranch that will be delivered to Newark and two duplexes that will be set up in Middletown.

Beracah manufactures their homes inside its Greenwood plant. Shielded from the elements, homes are framed, insulated, shingled and weather-proofed in a matter of weeks.

Because these are the first modular builds for Habitat, Synczyszyn said the nonprofit will be looking at how the cost savings match up against its preliminary projections. But ideally, Habitat would like to build four to five modular homes a year.
The lesson, boys and girls, is that since Beracah Homes has opened Habitat's door, more factories should take this example of "Modulars for Habitat" and begin a marketing campaign to get more chapters to take another look at modular home construction.
Of course, there is one problem with this scenario, most modular home factories don't have a Marketing Department or even a Marketing Plan. Too bad, this could be the next big thing.


1 comment:

Anthony Zarrilli said...

I love to see yet another benefit for a great organization stemming from modular construction. GREAT JOB!!!