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Can Off-Site Construction Resolve a Housing Affordability Crisis?

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Off-Site Construction

Can Off-Site Construction Resolve a Housing Affordability Crisis?

Modular builders say the benefits of factory-built construction are tenfold: lower costs, faster turnaround, greater precision, etc. But why is it taking so long to catch on?

December 13, 2022
Wall of modular house on crane at job site
Image: Stock.adobe.com

Just 24,000 (2%) of all completed homes in 2021 were built off-site, but as home builders contend with an ever-growing labor shortage and a worsening affordability crisis, modular proponents say the time to rethink traditional building practices is now. The U.S. needs roughly 3.8 million more homes to keep pace with population growth and push housing costs down in high-opportunity areas, and according to TIME, off-site construction offers a fast solution.

Not only are factory-built homes completed in a fraction of the time of site-built residential projects, but they also cost far less than traditional homes, and the assembly line process ensures maximum precision with fewer workers needed.

[Ken] Semler, who is also the CEO of a modular building company called Impresa Modular, has tried for years to convert the construction industry to off-site building (an industry term for modular.) A climate-controlled factory is a much easier place to build, he and other modular advocates argue, than a plot of land that is often remote, and that comes with unpredictable weather conditions.

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