Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Modular Home Builder blog Expanding into the International Modular Scene

I would like to welcome Professor Smith as the newest contributor to this blog.


Some of you might have read Professor Ryan E. Smith’s writing from the University of Utah.  He performs market and product research for the off-site construction sector.  Among his publications are Prefab Architecture (Wiley, 2010), Building Systems (Routledge, 2012), and he reports that he is working on a third book titled OFFSITE: fabricating the 21st century to be published by Routledge next year.  

Smith directs a research center that performs industry related research and publishes findings that support the use of off-site prefabrication and modular construction.  Earlier this year his group published a study that demonstrated the added value of offsite construction for cost, schedule, worker safety and quality to construction projects.  Nadine Post recently reviewed the research report and wrote about it in Engineering News Record a few days ago.  

The findings of Professor Smith’s research review in depth 17 permanent modular construction case study projects.  The study found that these modular projects’ schedules can be slashed 45% and costs cut 16% over onsite construction. Of the completed projects reviewed, there was on average 0.25 safety incidents.  Good news for modular.  For the full report visit modular.org.


Now he has asked me to help get the word out to the modular construction industry about two exciting things he is working on.

First, he and his team have recently been collecting data in connection to a research project on the effective and less effective operations of offsite manufacturer businesses including residential modular.  This data will serve to help existing companies and start-ups understand the barriers and challenges to the modular business.  It will reveal the successes of thriving companies.  The researchers have interviewed a number of companies across North America and the UK.  Some of you have participated. In addition, an international online survey is being conducted of offsite manufacturing companies.  The survey takes 5-10 minutes to fill out. Visit the survey HEREYou participation is needed and valuable in progressing this industry.

Secondly, Professor Smith is also planning an event in November on the east coast, a workshop focused on the same topic of the survey, business strategies and practices in the off-site sector.  The workshop will be host to prefab housing companies from Scotland, Sweden, Canada and the US who are working on wood panelized and modular construction.  It will feature speakers, interactive discussions and key findings from Professor Smiths and other academic researchers’ findings on offsite construction.  The goal is to foster international partnerships between companies and their employees, industry and education.  

Should you want to join the longer program, the event will host a factory tour and trip to Greenbuild.  Visit the Offsite Construction International website for more information and to register for one or more of the components of this international event.

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