Tuesday, January 5, 2016

4 Predictions for Modular Housing in 2016

2015 has come and gone and 2016 is shaping up to be a good year for the housing industry with a 6% projected growth in single family homes.


The trends for 2016 seem to be continuations of what began in 2015.

1. Skilled Labor Shortage:
Labor shortages for site builders will continue as a significant number of employees that left the housing industry during the recession have never returned and the pool of undocumented immigrants is drying up faster than cheap wet paint.

Modular home builders on the other hand have not seen the impact on their business as their site building peers have thanks to a good pool of skilled factory labor. Score one for modular housing.

2. BIM will become a necessity:
Building Information Modeling has been a growing trend for years, as it is no longer relegated to just the largest firms. Experts have said BIM provides tangible business benefits, no matter the level of implementation. Many have cited BIM's ability to provide more consistent, more accurate and less time-consuming project document generation. In addition, BIM users can expect better collaboration and coordination among the different parties involved in a project, according to industry users.

3. Green Building will grow:
In the residential sector, green building currently accounts for 26-33% of the total residential market and has helped contribute to the industry's recovery after the recession.
The aging in place movement as a driving force for that demand, as baby boomers are remodeling their current homes and seeking out ways to increase energy efficiency and reduce utility bills and new home buyers are opting for solar energy.

4. OSHA will up investigations and fines:
Last year, authorities across the U.S. pumped up efforts to seek out contractor misconduct and dish out severe punishment, including criminal charges, for violations and offenses from worker safety issues to corruption.

Experts predict this heightened focus on industry wrongdoing will continue into 2016, especially as OSHA will increase its fines this year for the first time since 1990.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sorry but "good pool of skilled factory labor"? Sorry, once again, but you couldn't be further from the truth. Factories are struggling more than ever to get skilled labor. Some are desperate to the point of hiring virtually anyone who applies and can pass the post employment drug screening. Turnover is ridiculously high. A handful of the remaining skilled employees are faced with the task of watching over a huge number of unskilled coworkers, all the while expected to produce top quality, extremely complicated products.

Anonymous said...

Work force development takes an effort that our industry is not willing to make. I know of only 2 factories in PA that actually have relationships with their area Vo-tech schools.
These same factories pay a decent wage and treat their workers as a valuable resource. As a result, they don't have work force problems.

Our factories need to "develop" skilled labor and make the modular housing a life long career option.

Expecting skilled labor to just walk in the front door is silly!

Tom Hardiman said...

Thanks for the article Gary. My two cents: I don't think BIM will have a huge impact on the single family residential side of the industry. More so with multifamily and commercial.

Shortage of labor will hurt stick built more than modular, but I agree with others - that's no reason to sit back and expect that we don't need to address this issue. One of the big advances I have seen is the creation of a new training program called “Smart and Sustainable Manufactured Buildings." We are endorsing this program that is being developed by the University of Florida and others with potential backing from the US Dept of Labor. Seeing a LOT more interest from academia and I hope that will start to pay dividends soon.

As far as OSHA being more aggressive, I think this ties in with the workforce issue. A better trained and more professional workforce should help mitigate this problem.

The interesting thing about all these trends is that the modular industry is in a much better position with regard to all of them!

Anonymous said...

Interesting post by the NAHB on BIM; labor shortages; modular and panelization; and 3D modeling

http://nahbnow.com/2016/01/residential-builders-adopt-commercial-building-tools-to-increase-sales/

Faced with these shortages and an aging workforce, many U.S. home builders are now looking to manufacturing processes and automation to overcome these hurdles. An increase in modularization and panelization in home construction is an indicator of these changes.

For a home builder, project visualization is one of the greatest benefits of using the BIM process. The most popular 3D construction design platform on the market, Autodesk Revit®, allows builders to create life-like 3D projects, 2D documentation and quantity lists in real time as the project is drafted, which eventually reduces time spent on drafting and design.


The trend to manufacture homes in a controlled environment contributes to greater workforce performance, and energy efficiency in the home. Paired with efficient drafting and data rich building documents provided through software such as MWF and Revit®, many home builders are able to maximize output while minimizing material and time waste.


Anonymous said...

It would be an interesting experiment of a factory and its largest builder engaged in the use of BIM for 3D modeling; materials take-offs; and communication of custom specs between the builder and the factory. Of course that would require some training and integration of efforts by both parties.

Even standard homes plans could be developed as 3D models with specs so the client can add their personal selections.