August 13, 2019
Modular Construction Gains Steam
As any reader of this blog will be aware, there has been a lot of attention paid latelyto how the construction industry has fallen behind in new starts, and on how this has contributed to the rise in prices of housing, which has been considered a failure of the single-family housing market. Traditional construction takes time, andrequires a great deal of on-site labor done by a multitude of workers who must factor various amounts of travel time into their days, including potentially unexpected traffic snarls and other delays that can come as part of an unfamiliar commute. And, as any construction company can tell you, there has been a shortage of the most skilled workers in recent days. So some in the market have been wondering whether this isn’t an outmoded form of home-building—and among these, some have been turning to a player that has gained relatively new status in the real estate sector: modular construction.
The numbers are still low: only about two percent of new construction is being done in modular fashion for the single-family sector. But there are trends in the modular subsector that are worth attending to, according to a March article in National Review. One of these is the recent completion of the world’s tallest modular tower: the residencies at 461 Dean, in Brooklyn, New York. This 32-story apartment building was assembled largely offsite—the disparate pieces were formed in a factory (a familiar daily commute for everyone who works there)—then transported to the site and assembled into a modern living complex.
Some believe that an increase in the use of modular construction could drastically cut construction times and reduce costs at the same time—while permitting fewer workers (which accords with today’s employment situation, given the attrition that occurred in the construction skill-force because of the so-called Great Recession) to make more homes. All in a comfortable, climate-controlled workspace. And advances in 3D design, construction, and “printing” means there can be more variability from house to modular house than we saw in the stereotypical 1950’s hand-constructed suburban development.Numerous roadblocks still stand in the way of modular construction’s rise to a place of prominence (we’re looking at you, hyper-various municipal, county, and state construction code)—but nonetheless, few who pay attention to this sub-sector see anything but brightness in its future.
When you’re shopping around for a home—whether constructed traditionally or modularly—in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, or Florida, contact us to see how we can help you ensure a full and unproblematic transfer of title. Topouzis & Associates, P.C., is backed by multiple underwriters, staffed by residential real estate specialists, and ready to help you avoid costly delays and streamline your residential transactions.