Monday, November 5, 2012

Modular Homes Not the Answer to Quick Disaster Relief

This morning I asked modular home factory owners and General Managers if they had a plan for disasters like Sandy that hit us last week. The answer came back as a resounding maybe, sort of and "not right now, we don't."

We all know that Clayton, Champion and Cavco has disaster teams in place to work with FEMA and get temporary shelters to people left homeless. In the east however, the types of homes these companies supply are not stacked up waiting for the call. There is not as great a market for HUD factory homes on the east coast as there is in other regions of the country. Thus, fewer factories means these temp homes will be coming from further away and take longer to get here.

FEMA's HUD shelters in a temporary setting
Now let's take a look at the modular home industry's response. When I first heard a couple of factory owners say that they really don't have a disaster plan in place, I started to wonder if this was just another example of them not being prepared. Turns out that they are absolutely right in not running to the production lines and cranking out homes.

The homes produced by the vast majority of east coast factories are for permanent situations. A family that is displaced by a natural disaster like Superstorm Sandy just wants shelter. They aren't concerned right away in replacing their home because the family needs shelter, food, toilets and heat...right now.

There are a couple of factories in the northeast that produce "park models" and already have the plans approved and can be producing them in short order. But here again, this is not a permanent replacement for the 3 bedroom, 2 bath house that was crushed by Sandy.

What many modular home factories have is a plan to contact all their builders and offer homes with special pricing and some factories even have a special link on their website to help expedite the homebuilding process for people needing a home quickly.

Bill Lake Homes, in NY was the only factory website I visited this morning that had anything about disaster relief and that was only a pdf file offering  sympathy for the victims of Sandy and a discount for a new home.

Express Modular, a builder that covers the entire area hit by Sandy, has a picture and link right on the first page directing visitors to a page about how to get a new home quickly by giving the families individual, personal attention.

So, going back to my question about modular home factories being prepared for major disasters, they really can't be as they don't build temp shelters. 

But when the families are ready to begin the rebuilding process, I would bet that every factory's builder base is ready to offer both their support and the factory's in delivering families a new home.

Go Modular Construction!!!!!

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