Archive for the ‘Modular’ Category

Vanguard’s Carl Bennett Honored by Modular Building Institute as 2018 Hall of Fame Inductee

March 28th, 2018 Comments off


The Modular Building Institute (MBI) has announced the induction of Mr. Carl Bennett, into its Hall of Fame at World of Modular 2018 in Hollywood, Florida.


Strong support for this public recognition of Mr. Bennett, and the celebration of his achievements for more than 35 years, comes from prominent industry peers, his colleagues at Vanguard Modular Building Systems, as well as from the MBI’s board.

In a release do the Daily Business News, Vanguard said that broad support within Vanguard Modular Building Systems, support from industry peers, and ultimate induction into the Hall of Fame are a true testament to Carl Bennett’s contributions and dedication to the modular building industry, ethical business practices, ability to achieve success, and desire to improve the industry for future growth and achievement.”

To be considered as an inductee into the Modular Building Institute’s Hall of Fame a nominee must meet four specific criteria:

Longevity – Lifetime of dedication to or achievement in commercial modular construction with a minimum of 30 years in the industry.

Corporate Citizenship – Service to others in the industry or making significant achievements in the areas of social concern or outstanding and consistent product quality.

Success – Business or financial success that has the respect of those in the nominating process and selection.

Pioneer/Innovator – Clear and original ideas advancing the industry and adopted by others in areas of product design and engineering, financial management, marketing concepts, production methods and efficiency, or other areas adding significantly to industry competitiveness or success,” stated their release.

The Modular Building Institute makes substantial contributions to advance and grow the modular building industry, states industry sources. Vanguard Modular is a supporter of the MBI and extended their appreciation for the consideration and induction of Mr. Bennett into the Hall of Fame.


Carl Bennett, Vice President, Construction and Contract Services  – Bio

Formerly President of Bennett’s Trailer Company, Inc., and Bennett’s Construction Company, Carl Bennett brought with him 40 years of construction experience when he joined Vanguard Modular Building Systems, LLC in 2007. He has proven skills in all areas of sales, transportation, installation, modular building design, construction management, and contract negotiations. Carl Bennett has been responsible for the design and management of award winning modular building projects, and has successfully negotiated several multi-million dollar contracts. Although his primary role at Vanguard Modular Building Systems is that of Contract Manager, Mr. Bennett also serves as an adviser to management, including the construction teams. His expertise in successfully handling modular construction projects with complex requirements is a considerable asset to Vanguard Modular.

Carl Bennett is a graduate of Villanova University. He is distinguished as a charter member of the Mobile Modular Office Association (MMOA), later known as the Modular Building Institute (MBI). Mr. Bennett served as a member of the Board of Directors of Elm Towne Village, a retirement community in Atco, NJ, and Operation Stand Down, a military veterans support organization. Additionally, he is recognized for his military service, having been awarded the Vietnam service and campaign ribbons while a member of the U.S. Army.

The nomination by fellow employees, broad support within Vanguard Modular Building Systems, support from industry peers, and ultimate induction into the Hall of Fame are a true testament to Carl Bennett’s contributions and dedication to the modular building industry, ethical business practices, ability to achieve success, and desire to improve the industry for future growth and achievement,” per the release.


About Vanguard

Vanguard Modular Building Systems, LLC is a modular building dealer that leases temporary buildings and sells custom permanent modular classrooms, offices, and specialty buildings to industries including: education, commercial, industrial, healthcare, energy, oil & gas, corrections, government, and more.

MHProNews congratulates Bennett and Vanguard for this honor and distinction. ## (News, analysis and commentary.)

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State Grants for Businesses Attracting New Modular Builder, Tech Companies

November 8th, 2017 Comments off

TruHomesMontanaModularHomeExteriorManufacturedModularHomeIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsTechnology companies and a new modular home builder are among those that have obtained grants, or applied, to create more high-paying jobs over the next two years in, per the Missoulan, in Montana.

Nicole Rush, the grants manager for the Missoula Economic Partnership, spoke to the Missoula City Council last week and detailed a long list of companies in town that have applied for the grants,” said the Missoulan. “The money comes from the state’s coal severance tax, and the businesses can get reimbursed for up to $7,500 for each job created, as long as they pay at least 170 percent of the state minimum wage. To get the top award, each job has to pay the Missoula County median wage, which is $18.50 per hour.”

Since the program was created in 2005, Missoula has leveraged more job creation funds (than other Montana city),” Rush said.

Besides some tech companies, there is “Tru-Home Montana, a manufacturing company that is proposing to build sustainably-built, manufactured homes indoors, was awarded a grant to create six jobs,” per the Montana publication.


But the homes – per the Tru-Homes Montana website – states the homes are modular homes, as opposed to HUD Code manufactured homes.


According to the Tru-Homes Montana website, “Whether this is you first home, or your last, we’re here to help you create your dream home. We love to build Tru. Tell us your story. We’ll tell you ours.”

The modular firm says they expect to save about 20 percent off the cost of a conventional house, per their website. ##   (News, announcement, commentary.)

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“Every Day has been a Fight,” Comparing Conventional with Modular Homes in New York City’s Build it Back, Post-Superstorm Sandy

October 30th, 2017 Comments off

HomeCollapsesUnderBuildItBackProgramMarineParkNewYorkCityNewYorkBuildItBackProgramDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedModularPrefabhomeBuildlingNewsThe New York Times, and others like the Sarasota Herald Tribune carried a recent news story about using modular construction in NYC’s “Build It Back” program.  The story provided an opportunity to highlight the pros and cons of off-site construction in a storm surge prone zone.

We are excited to see NYC embrace modular construction for this much needed rebuilding effort.  Those in the industry have long known that modular homes are higher quality and more durable than site built homes,” Tom Hardiman, Executive Director of the Modular Building Institute (MBI) told MHProNews.  

Hardiman’s comments were made in the context of his broader media commentary on what’s taking place in metro New York City.


NYC Build it Back logo provided under fair use guidelines.

That sort of superior building system dialogue may strike skeptical outsiders as ‘just industry talk.’  But the video below of a conventional house that was constructed under New York City’s “Build it Back” program highlights some differences that favor modular building.

The first video is about a conventionally built house under the Build it Back program that collapsed.

Among those interviewed in this first video are the neighbors, who noted in their own words that the building materials used in the conventional house were not adequate for the rebuilding task.

The next video features an interview with Lisa Palma McSherry, whose whom was badly damaged and eventually rebuilt, and later raised under the NYC Build it Back program.

Near the end of the video below she sums up her experiences by saying, “Every day has been a fight.”

McSherry walks through that fight to rebuild her damaged conventional home. Compare this to the modular home photos, further below, installed under this same program.

This third video, by an MBI member, visually demonstrates in a generic way the modular building process. While the process would be somewhat different under the Build it Back guidelines, the basic concepts are the same.

The NYTimes reported that, — “Nancy Fisher’s replacement home arrived on a truck. In four big pieces.”

WinnieHuNewYorkTimesPostedDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedModularPreFabHomeProfessionalMHProNewsEach one was lifted by crane and set atop concrete pillars in Midland Beach, a neighborhood on Staten Island that was swamped by Hurricane Sandy. Then the pieces were strapped and bolted together like giant toy blocks and utility lines were connected to make an elevated Cape Cod-style house,” said Winnie Hu, for the NYTimes.

Inside, the rooms were larger than she [Fisher] expected,” wrote Hu, “with gleaming hardwood floors, freshly painted walls and wide open views beyond the neighborhood to the One World Trade Center skyscraper in Lower Manhattan.”

It has taken five years after Superstorm Sandy struck the region, but New York City began turning to modular homes as a faster and lower cost option to onsite construction. “The replacement houses are part of the city’s controversial $2.2 billion Hurricane Sandy rebuilding program for homeowners, which is funded through federal aid,” per Hu.

Only 189 out of a total of 500 houses that will be rebuilt through the program are completed so far this month.

City Councilman Mark Treyger, a Democrat said, “Yes, progress has been made but it should not be celebrated because we have a long way to go.” Treyger, wants the city to reopen the program to more applicants.



Tom Hardiman, Modular Building Institute, credit, Bisnow.

The Herald Tribune stated that, “City officials said that more than 20,000 people initially registered for Build It Back, most of whom lived in Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island. Of those, about half never finished the application process and program workers were later dispatched to reach out to them. In 2015, they contacted 4,000 homeowners, 599 of whom returned to the program.”

While noting power lines or other challenges may not allow for a modular to be the solution in every case, nevertheless “Across the country, homeowners have increasingly turned to modular units to rebuild after a disaster,” said Hardiman.

Modular homes are more durable than traditional homes,” Hardiman said per Hu, “because the individual units, when stacked together, reinforce one another with, say, two layers of interior walls instead of one.”


Award winning retailer Stan Dye noted to MHLivingNews that with factory built homes, you can often pick them up with ‘two pickup points,’ and move them into position. That is only possible, said Dye, because factory home building is inherently stronger than conventional construction.

Hu walks through some modular history.

Modular units have existed, in one form or another, for more than a century, and include early kit homes sold by Sears, Roebuck and Co. and ready-made homes for World War I munitions workers in Nitro, West Virginia,” according to the Herald Tribune.

Today, modular units are increasingly sought for large-scale housing, ranging from Marriott hotels to apartments for Google employees,” noted Hu.

In New York City, “modular homes are expected to improve the rebuilding process,” Hu stated, according to Lou Mendes, chief operating officer of the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery Operations.


Previously, “there have been delays because the extent of damage to an existing house was not known until it was already elevated, requiring major structural repairs to be made in the air,” the NY Times reported.

Modular homes eliminate such surprises, as factory built home industry professionals know.


In a heavily regulated jurisdiction such as NYC, the time line for conventional building can be longer, which means that the time savings for modular building can be proportionately shorter.

They are also time saving, because they are based on designs that allow the foundation and the home to be built at the same time, vs. sequentially.  Instead of the long, long build times, Mendes said he aims to have a homeowner in a modular home in four to six months.

It’s avoiding the “Every day has been a fight,” that off-site building with modular, prefab and manufactured homes offers the public, as veteran industry professionals know. ## (News, analysis, commentary.)

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“Controversial Modular Home” Will Be Removed From Development, Industry Reactions

October 14th, 2017 Comments off

The factory-built home, as many industry professionals observed, once finished is residential in appearance and set over a basement; yet the neighbors pushed back. The builder will remove the home, and site build a house in its place.

Social media lit up with comments from factory-built housing professionals.

They were commenting on what local media claimed was a nearly completed modular home that was being forced out off its home site and out of a reportedly hostile neighborhood.

A new home erected in an Allendale Township neighborhood less than a month ago will be removed following complaints by neighbors, according to developer Merwyn Koster,” wrote Sherry Kuyt for MLive.

Bill Sheffer, with the Michigan Manufactured Housing Association, told MHProNews that he believes that Kuyt seemed to understands the terminology, and meant “modular” home, per the report.

The 1,387-square-foot ranch is located at 5367 Crestfield Lane in the Springfields III development, north of Pierce Street and east of 56th Avenue,” Kuyt stated.


SherryKuytMLiveDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsThe three-bedroom home is of modular construction,” Kuyt wrote, “which means it was built in a factory and shipped in sections to the site, according to Kirk Scharphorn Jr., the township’s zoning administrator.”

I believe from my read, that he seems to understand what a modular home is,“ Sheffer told the Daily Business WilliamBillShefferExecDirectorMichiganManufacturedHousingAssociationDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsNews.

The Modular Building Institute’s Executive Director,  Tom Hardiman, told MHProNews that, “Hard to say from looking at it. If it has a HUD label, its HUD. If it has a Michigan state industrialized building label its mod. Its either built to the IRC or not.”



Tom Hardiman, Modular Building Institute, credit, Bisnow.


What seems certain is that regardless of the code, neighbors raised such a ruckus that the “nearly completed” home would be removed.


We have received complaints … it is apparent that the neighbors do not want to see a non-traditional home go up in the neighborhood,” said Allendale Township Supervisor Adam Elenbaas.

That angle drew complaints on LinkedIn from industry professionals, who said it was a clear case of “NIMBY,” Not in My Back Yard.


NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard). Credit, The Left Hook.

Elenbaas “said the foundation had been constructed with an appropriate permit, but the permit request for the building was not submitted until the day the sections were brought in. The township issued a stop work order while the situation was being investigated, but a few days later, a permit was issued.”


Elenbaas said the township has no restrictions against modular homes, as long as they meet building codes,” stated Kuyt’s narrative.

I had to issue a permit … it met all the criteria,” Scharphorn said.

KirkScharphornJrBuildingPlanningZoningJamestownCharterTownshipMIDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsThis NIMBY tale took place not far from Grand Rapids, MI, where Darren Krolewski Executive Vice President of MHVillage is based.


Darren Krolewski, MHV.

Krolewski told the Daily Business News, “but if the home meets the building requirements of the township and the community standards of the developer there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be allowed in the neighborhood. It looks comparable to the other homes and the people complaining about it would probably find that it’s built better than their own site-built home at a lower cost.”

Per MLive, the developer reportedly had a say, and decided belatedly against the placement.

Scharphorn said a newer modular home is typically of high quality construction, built in a controlled environment. “They make modulars now that are really, really nice,” he said.


It’s not a mobile home [sic],” he said. “They’re built to exceed minimum code … people driving by them would never know (it’s a modular),” MLive reported.


Therein Lies The Rub…

Scharphorn added, “It just looks different when they roll them in on a trailer.”


The post above, which features the original headline on MLive, is where the social media comments referenced above were made. So, a modular home, which local officials say met the standards, installation was halted, because of local pushback by other residents.

Publisher L. A. “Tony” Kovach posted this comment on LinkedIn, “…Can the builders of MODs and HUDs get along?…this story, if it truly was a modular home, and not a HUD Code home, at least suggests the problem both have in the mind of many in the public. MOD, prefab, and HUD Code manufactured home builders would be wise to collaborate…Part of that collaboration needs to be educational in nature.” ## (News, analysis.)

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MBI Exec Tom Hardiman on Modular Placement Hassle

September 28th, 2017 Comments off

ModularBuildingInstituteLogoTomHardimanCAEPlacementIssueDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsGreen Living Homes modular builder, Frank Dertzbaugh, brought his concerns about a modular home placement problem to the attention of the Modular Building Institute’s (MBI) Tom Hardiman.

Dertzbaugh, a Daily Business News on MHProNews reader, cited the article linked below, as he explained to Hardiman – the executive director of MBI – about how the purchasers’ of a modular home was meeting local zoning resistance.

Frederick County, Maryland Career and Technology Center built this two-section modular last winter in their shop and displayed it at the annual Frederick County Building Industry Association Home Show in March,” said Dertzbaugh.

Dertzbaugh stated that the home buyers. “are having some Zoning issues with County Officials.”

FrankDerzbaughGreenLivingModularHomesLinkedInDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsHardiman provided some questions and tips to the Maryland-based modular home builder.


In response to follow up questions from MHProNews, the MBI executive explained that he hears a few times a year about a modular home placement issue.

In an on-the-record exchange, Hardiman stated, “Tony, I’m not sure how often it happens, but it [local placement] gets brought to our attention probably 3-4 times a year for zoning related issues.”

MBI’s Hardiman said it was, “Mostly due to poorly written local ordinances that date back decades and put limitations on “manufactured and modular homes” or put size and aesthetic requirements just on a modular home, leaving the door wide open for someone to build a hideous looking site built home.”


We also deal with some local officials not wanting to accept a modular unit that has already been inspected and bears a state insignia probably 2-3 times a year as well,” Hardiman said. “In those cases, we usually get the state modular administrator to reach out to the local code official and explain the program.”

As to what MBI’s position on such issues, he said, “From the association standpoint if a “discriminatory” process happens at the state level, we want to be involved in resolving it.  We can’t always address every local issue, but certainly will try.” ## (News.)

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Here are the Counties Where the Working Class Can’t Afford to Live in the U.S. 

September 8th, 2017 Comments off

Featured image credit, KreditGoGo.

In recent years the cost of living has skyrocketed throughout the United States.

Rising rents have contributed to the creation of over 8 million “worst-case” renters across the nation. The Daily Business News has reported on the rising cost of rent in the country.

A map infographic created by How Much (below) shows just how much it costs to live in different cities around the U.S. – and how that compares to someone of the working class.

The criteria they used to define “working class” included a family of 2 adults and 2 children.

The jobs used for income estimates were home appliance repairers, and manicurists and pedicurists. Rent was determined for a home of 1500 square feet.  Food budgets were considered a “low-cost food plan.

On the map, each of the bubbles represents a city – and color corresponds to the amount of money a working-class family would have left over at the end of the year after things like

  • Housing,
  • Food,
  • And transportation costs.

Red bubbles are for areas where the cost of living would exceed the income generated by a working-class American. Green bubbles are the places where they would be able to make it through the year without debt.


Image credit, How Much.

The data for the map was gathered using the “True Cost of Living Tool” on the How Much website – which uses sources like

  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics, for income levels,
  • The National Bureau of Economic Research, for tax data,
  • And the National Department of Agriculture, for the cost of food.

Most Affordable vs. Most Expensive Cities in the U.S.

According to How Much, the top five cities that were affordable for working-class Americans were:

  • Forth Worth, TX
  • Newark, NJ
  • Glendale, AZ
  • Gilbert, AZ
  • Mesa, AZ

Results for the Cost of Living Tool on How Much. Image credit, How Much.

Compared to the cities that were the most expensive, which included:

  • New York, NY
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Boston, MA
  • Washington, DC
  • Philadelphia, PA

Results from the Cost of Living Tool on How Much. Image credit, How Much.

In the most affordable city – Fort Worth, TX – the defined-as-above working-class American would have roughly $10,447 left over at the end of the year.

In the most expensive city – New York, NY – the working-class American would be in debt roughly $103,424 just to meet the cost of living.

While not all the places in the red were so extreme, any place in red is where a working-class American would have to go in debt to afford to live.

Hurting or Helping the Working Class?

With politicians often campaigning on claims of improving the lives of working class Americans, there is serious debate over the best ways to accomplish that goal.

Most efforts are focused on creating jobs, raising the minimum wage, tax cuts, subsidized housing, and those for-or-against universal healthcare. Some even suggest universal basic income to improve the working class.

The Daily Business News has often reported on these issues and why many of these efforts – like raising the minimum wage, universal healthcare and basic income – upon examination of data, will not be sustainable ways to improve the lives of Americans.


On the other hand, the MHProNews has also pointed out when solutions like job creation and tax cuts would likely benefit the economy in the long run. It did so under both Democratic President John F. Kennedy, and Republican President Ronald Reagan.

How the Manufactured Housing Industry Can Make a Difference

Using the “True Cost of Living” tool from How Much, housing costs – including rent and utilities – makes up the majority of the cost of living in almost every instance.

The cost of living could be lowered with reduced housing costs. This would make more expensive areas become more affordable for the working-class American.


It is because manufactured housing offers quality housing at a fraction of the cost of a site-built home – that cities like Des Moines, Iowa and Chicago, Illinois, and companies like Google are using manufactured and modular building methods to cut costs.

Affordable housing options would benefit millions of working-class citizens all over the country. Manufactured housing offers an alternative path to the “American Dream” that is constantly overlooked. ## (News, Analysis.)

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What Americans May Learn from Brits – Prefab and Modular Housing in London, Major Cities

August 25th, 2017 Comments off

Featured image credit, We Love Ad, MHProNews.

I’ve always believed there must be a way to get better quality and build quicker,” says Tom Bloxham, chief executive of Urban Splash.

The need for more affordable housing in London has been more apparent since the Grenfell Tower fire, according to City Metric.

That globally publicized fire tragedy caused at least 80 deaths, 70 injuries, and destroyed 129 flats, per the BBC.

All of those flats were ‘socially-rented units,’ leaving the survivors of the fire displaced, or homeless.

Now they’re hoping to find homes they can afford, but also around the same area for work or community reasons.

Besides those displace by the tower fire, London has about 7,000 socially rented units.  But there are still 1,800 homeless in that area, per City Metric.

As matters stand, it could take 2-3 years to create more affordable housing units.

That spells opportunities for U.K.’s modular and prefab builders.

Growing Acceptance for Modular and Prefab Housing for the U.K.

One example of this is Legal & General (L&G) Homes, an arm of the conglomerate which now has a modular housing factory just outside of Leeds.

At full production, homes like this will be delivered repeatedly in a matter of weeks without the snagging issues faced by traditional methods,” said Nigel Wilson, the chief executive of L&G. “Just as the car industry was automated, so the UK’s traditional housebuilding sector now needs to step up. We need to build houses faster and more efficiently than ever before.”


Nigel Wilson, chief executive of L&G.   Image credit, the Daily Mail.

In fact, the first prefabricated home from L&G, purchased by RHP, was placed on site in Richmond. It only took a few short hours to be fully installed, per The Guardian.

The homes will have

  • luxury kitchens,
  • lounges,
  • a bedroom, bathroom,
  • underfloor heating
  • and solar panels which are expected to reduce electricity costs to £10 a year.

These units will likely rent for £600 to £700 a month.

The only real problem? At 26 SQ meters, about 280 square feet, the homes are very small.

So small in fact that they don’t meet the national space requirements of 36 SQ M for a one-bedroom unit.

The RHP homes are tiny-homes by definition.

They [space standards] have made a real difference to the quality of development in London. I’m confident that space standards are right and will continue to be right,” said Jennifer Peters, in charge of the London Plan at the Greater London Authority.


Will Wimhust of RHP. Image credits, WimhustPelleriti.

In response Will Wimshurst of Wimshurst Pelleriti, which designed the L&G home for RHP, said: “We’re not saying we’re against space standards. What we are saying is that there is a big problem in the middle of the market – companies just can’t hold on to workers in places such as London. These people are forced to leave, and they need a solution.”

Another builder in the U.K. who sees the benefits of prefabricated homes is Urban Splash. The company, as the Daily Business News has previously reported, has already sold 43 modular homes in New Inslington, Manchester.

Understanding the Benefits of Prefabricated Housing

What U.S. industry professionals know, much of the public still needs to discover.  A recent report by Systemiq and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation highlighted sustainability gains made through the use of prefabricated housing.

The report found that prefab homes are more energy efficient. This is likely because production line precision ensures that the homes are “extraordinarily” airtight.


Nick Frankland. Image credit, Financial Digest.

“[It] is quite a sexy product,” says Nick Frankland, L&G Homes chief executive. “We are building precision-built homes that are millimetre accurate, that work differently in regards to heat loss, airtightness. We’re trying to push what you’re able to deliver, and we believe this can be a contributor to the housing supply gap in the U.K.

The Grenfell Tower fires brought attention to poorly maintained, socially rented housing. Much like most of the affordable housing that is currently available.

The housing crisis is only going to get worse – the need for both safe and affordable housing as a whole is clear.

The housing crisis is about production capacity, and innovation is the most important piece in solving this,” says author of the Systemiq report Mark Farmer.

The Centre for London is looking into removing limitations on issues like space requirements, warranties and insurance, which are hurdles surrounding prefabricated and modular housing, per City Metric.

Frankly, if we don’t do it quickly then foreign firms will pour in and we’ll have lost our domestic industry,” Andy Dix, chairman of trade body Build Offsite says. ## (News.)

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Chicago – Massive Modular Project by European Operation Coming

August 14th, 2017 Comments off

Development site image credits are as shown.

This agreement is a major milestone towards converting an unused stretch of land that represents Chicago’s industrial past into a vibrant community that will contribute to Chicago’s economic, cultural and recreational future,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a press release to MHProNews.

The Windy City’s mayor addressed the plan to build and install up 20,000 modular housing units in south Chicago.

This technology provides an industrial platform for large-scale housing construction, enabling rapid site assembly with high-quality materials, while promoting green technology, environmental sustainability, and community living,” Cesar Ramirez Martinell, founder of Barcelona Housing Systems (BHS), said in a statement.


Cesar Ramirez Martinell, founder of Barcelona Housing Systems (BHS). Credit, Barcelona Housing Systems.

Emerald Living has a “purchase and sale agreement” in place to buy up a 440-acre lakefront property that was once the U.S. Steel South Works plant, which is still owned by U.S. Steel.

Despite prior hopes that the area would be redeveloped, per Curbed Chicago, the property has been sitting vacant since the steel plant closed in 1992.

Emerald Living is the name given to the partnership between a part of the Irish firm WElink Group and Barcelona Housing Systems.

WElink is a Dublin based Irish firm, partnered with a Chinese building materials company, who builds energy efficient modular housing.

BHS uses solar power and recycled materials in their homes.

BHS and Emerald Living hope to close the deal on the U.S. Steel property and quickly find themselves in the revitalizing process.


The current South Works plant in south Chicago. Credit, Chicago Business.

Long Awaited Revitalization May Finally Happen in South Chicago

Since similar plans have fallen through in the past, leading to the property’s decades long vacancy, no one is ready to call it a done deal just yet.


Alderman Susan Sadlowski Garza 10th ward. Credit, BitBalloon.

Local Alderman Susan Sadlowski Garza (10th) told the Sun Times that, “they still don’t have a signed contract. We have a letter-of-intent….[But] environmental issues [could surface]…. So, anything could happen.”

We’ve been led down this path before. People who came before me [said], ‘Mariano’s is coming. [Former Aldermen] Sandi Jackson and John Pope. Everybody said, ‘They’re coming, they’re coming.’ Time and time again, our hopes were up high and the rug was taken out from under us.”


Emerald Living concept art for U.S. Steel property development. Credit, Chicago Tribune.

According to a press release from WElink, Emerald Living has 5 months to close on the sale of the U.S. Steel property, “following a period of environmental review and other due diligence required on the site.”

When I met with Cesar [Ramirez Martinell] from Barcelona, he was like a kid in a candy store walking that property. He couldn’t believe the beauty and the majesty of it. He saw what it could be. I didn’t see that in the other bidders,” Garza said.

It’s not gonna be $500,000 or $600,000 homes in a community where there’s a gate and you have to be buzzed in. It’s gonna be conducive to what was once here: a working class neighborhood that provides solid housing and good amenities for people from the South Side.”

The previous prospective buyer McCaffery had ambitious plans for the area, with hopes of building 13,000 homes, 17.5 million square feet of commercial space, and a marina with enough room for 1,500 boats, per the Sun Times.

Emerald Living however, has even grander plans for the 440-acre property.


Preliminary concept art. Credit, Chicago Tribune.

Plans start with a “union” plant, where they would manufacture modular homes.  Homes could be built in 35 days to provide plant employees an affordable place to live. In total, about 20,000 modular units are planned.  That’s thousands more than the previous developer was shooting for.


Concept art for retail and recreation. Credit, Chicago Tribune.

There are also plans for the “New SouthWorks” to include office, retail and recreational space.


Concept art for Emerald Living development. Credit, Chicago Tribune.

They also plan to include boat slips, climbing walls, lakefront restaurants, a wind-surfing dock, plenty of green space and even a windmill farm to generate clean energy.


Concept art for residential areas. Credit, Chicago Tribune.

The City’s History in Part Inspires it’s Future

U.S. Steel employed 23,000 men and women. Those people gave their blood, sweat and tears—and sometimes their lives to that plant,” Garza said.

When the mill left, so did the stores. So did the bars. So did the restaurants. It was devastating….After 30 years of just sitting there with nothing, it means a lot to people to see something happen there.”

If Emerald Living does move forward with the purchase after all their reviews, they are hoping to start off building the factory and retail centers, and other places that would provide much needed job growth in the area, per a Chicago Tonight interview (video below).


Alderman Greg Mitchell, 7th ward. Credit, Office of Alderman Greg Mitchell.

They also intend to include the neighboring communities in the decision making process for their plans to develop the area. Making sure that current residents are happy with the changes they are making is one of the most top priorities, Alderman Greg Mitchell (7th) and Alderman Garza explained in the video.

We are excited by the tremendous opportunity available at the South Works site and look forward to working throughout this due diligence period to determine the best path forward,” said Barry O’Neill, CEO of Emerald Living in a press release to MHProNews. “Over the coming months, we will be working with the city, Aldermen Sadlowski Garza and Mitchell, local community members, and other stakeholders to develop a new, exciting vision for this site and the surrounding South Chicago neighborhoods.”

A prior report on this topic is linked here. ## (News)

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

JuliaGranowiczManufacturedHomeLivingNewsMHProNews-comSubmitted by Julia Granowicz to Daily Business News for MHProNews.



Micro Solar Mods for Millennials

July 26th, 2017 Comments off

InhabitatRHPL&GModularHomesLaunchPodPostDailyBusinessNews408It’s been less than two weeks since the Daily Business News reported on Legal & General’s (L&G) announcement that they were entering the modular housing industry in the United Kingdom.

L&G, which has ties to U.S. based Cavco Industries, is a giant insurance-focused company that has been advocating for the understanding, acceptance, and growth of modular and other factory-built housing.

British housing association RHP has ordered modular homes called LaunchPod’s from the insurance conglomerate’s backed factory, located in Selby, according to the RHP website.

Inhabitat says that their Selby factory is expected to produce over 3,000 homes a year – starting with the LaunchPod’s ordered by RHP, which were designed by Wimhurst Pelleriti, a “micro units” builder.

The units are aimed at one of the age groups who need affordable housing the most – millennial’s.

RHP will be using the homes to break into the intermediate market – helping the growing group of people who don’t qualify for social housing but are priced out of the private market,” the firm said.


Photo credit, Inhabitat, L&G.

The aim of this community is to offer affordable homes to those who don’t qualify for public subsidies or other assistance, but who may not yet be able to afford the market rates for rent.

This is an growing issue seen both in the U.K. and the U.S. Another recent Daily Business News article takes a look at how poorly most minimum wage workers fair in the U.S., while outlining the need for more affordable housing options here in America…

…not unlike the need for these micro-mods.



Micro-modular homes, or Micro Mod floorplan – dubbed the LaunchPod. Image credit, Inhabitat, L&G.


Map showing the distance between Selby and London, England. Credits, Google Maps

This building method uses high quality materials and ensures faster construction, a more eco-friendly build and a marked development cost reduction compared with traditional builds,” per RHP.

The LaunchPod homes will be around 280 square feet, but all of the space is efficiently used to make the home feel more open. They are expected to come with luxury kitchens, a lounge, bedroom, bathroom and a veranda – and will be fully outfitted and ready for occupancy soon after being placed in Richmond, a town southwest of London.

InhabitatRHPL&GModularHousingRichmondUKPostDailyBusinessNews (1)

Image credit, Inhabitat, L&G.

RHP were adamant throughout the R&D process that they did not want to use space saving gimmicks such as fold down beds that are maintenance heavy and typically associated with small spaces. Their aim throughout was to provide high quality accommodation that did not compromise on quality or the feeling of space.”

Instead of features like folding-beds, the LaunchPod offers stylish raised beds with storage space underneath. They also manage to fit many luxury features into the small and affordable space. The homes will even be solar-powered to further enhance the savings and ecofriendlyness of the homes.

David Done, RHP’s Chief Executive says: “I’m really excited about this new product and the opportunities it can create for those struggling to rent in London. I was blown away when I first saw the prototype – it is spacious, modern and high quality. This is just one of the ways we’re aiming to combat the housing crisis and will contribute to our target of investing £250M in new affordable homes over the next eight years.”


Image credit, Inhabitat, L&G.

The estimated cost of the LaunchPod homes, according to Inhabitat, is around £60,000 to £70,000, or around $78,155 to $91,182. However, since these homes are being built specifically to rent, RHP appears to intend to rent them out for $782-$912 per month – compared to the average rental rate for a 1-bedroom flat in the area, which is $1,300.

Set up time?  Just one day per unit, says Inhabitat.

Not only will the homes be less expensive to rent on a monthly basis, but because they are being built to be solar-powered with underfloor heating, the estimated cost of electricity for the LaunchPod is a scant $13 per year.

This certainly all adds up to a growing and bright future for L&G, and modular housing in the U.K. as a solution to the current affordable housing crisis. Will L&G be targeting the U.S market…next? # # (News, Analysis.)

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

JuliaGranowiczManufacturedHomeLivingNewsMHProNews-comSubmitted by Julia Granowicz to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.







Meet the Modular Housing Builder Google Picked, and their “Industrial Cathedral”

July 26th, 2017 Comments off

Rick Holliday, Google prefab housing project’s builder, credit, Holliday Developments.

A little more than a month ago, the Daily Business News reported on Google’s plans to build modular housing to be used as temporary employee dwellings.

The plans are clearly moving forward, as Rick Holliday’s Factory_OS facility on Mare Island was touted in a local report by the Times Herald as being the builder that Google will use for their project.

Factory_OS is operating out of the Nimitz Avenue “industrial cathedral” previously used by Blu Homes. The Daily Business News has been following Blu Homes for years, as they moved across the country from Massachusetts to California – where they sell single family modular and prefab homes.

Now operating out of Blu’s vacated production center, Factory_OS will be hiring an additional 300 people to take on the project of building Google’s estimated 300 units of multi-family housing.

That staff total will include 160-180 builders and 20-30 management positions, including engineers, draftsmen, and general managers.

We’re creating a family here, where we will pay good salaries with union benefits, and, most importantly, an opportunity for people to be able to learn trades they’ll be able to take with them wherever they go,” said Kevin Brown, business partner of Factory_OS owner Rick Holliday.

People think mobile homes are boxy, but we can do (nearly anything) with the exterior articulation that can be done with a traditionally built building. We have revolutionized the modular building industry,” Brown said.

Holliday is a Bay area native who’s first big project was the Charles Hotel, in 1983 in Vallejo.  The Herald notes Holliday says he’s been developing multi-family housing for 35 years.

His website lists numerous awards for projects he’s done over the years. Those included, the 10th Annual Mountain Home Awards – Mixed Use Award (2013) and 2010′s Best Residential Landscapes.


Graphic above from Holliday Development website, and is provided under fair use guidelines.

Prefabs, MODs and HUDs

While many manufactured housing professionals would wince at the “People think mobile homes are boxy” statement on a variety of levels, it’s the view that Brown expressed.

That represents part of the divide that exists between some among prefab and modular only producers, and those who build HUD Code manufactured homes. A number of manufactured home producers also build modular coded units, as the closing production figures for 2016 in last night’s report on Skyline Corp. demonstrated.

Factory_OS Focus – Multi-Family and Commercial Projects


Blu Homes specializes in single family homes, and we focus on multi-family homes, done in pieces and assembled on site,” Brown said. “This allows for better quality control, because our assembly-line process eliminates having various contractors crawling over each other. It’s faster and more efficient — creating at least a 40 percent construction time savings.”

What happens in a recession, is the labor market shrinks as people leave and costs rise,” Holliday said. “So, I saw this and felt if we don’t start thinking about building housing differently, we are going to have a serious problem, so, the idea of building off-site came to me.”


The Blu Homes Factory that was taken over by Factory OS. Credits, Factory OS


Distance between the Factory OS location, Mare Island, and Silicon Valley, where Google will have their modular homes placed. Credits, Google Maps

The $30 million dollar deal between Factory_OS and Google for 300 units of multi-family style modular housing is what the firm hopes will be the first of many projects.

This is 300 stable jobs, more steady work, good paying jobs, close to where people can afford to live — making it possible to create better value and a better product in the end,” Holliday said. # #  (News.)

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

JuliaGranowiczManufacturedHomeLivingNewsMHProNews-comSubmitted by Julia Granowicz to the Daily Business News at MHProNew.