Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Clayton Opens "The Lab" for High-End Homes

Clayton Home Building Group® delivers on its continuous commitment to designing quality, high-end homes attainable for all home buyers, at any price point with the creation and establishment of The Home Innovation Lab, or The Lab. 

The new space is a dedicated home-base for architects, engineers, 3D rendering and interior design teams. It provides a unique and versatile place where Clayton teams can collaborate using innovative technology to create and design Clayton Built® homes that keep the buyer's needs and lifestyle at the forefront of the building process. 

The Lab provides a workspace and acts as a think tank for all Clayton team members involved in the design process, from engineers and architects to material management and production team members. It also houses the sample materials workroom with various building materials from brand partners, displayed for optimized decision making when choosing finishes and upgrades. The presentation and virtual reality space showcase the end result of home designs and floor plan options that are practical, beautiful and thoughtfully designed for any lifestyle.

CLICK HERE to read the entire Tullahoma News article

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Will the U.S. Housing Market Crash in 2021?

The short answer is that a severe market downturn appears highly unlikely. There’s too much demand for homes right now, and not enough supply. This imbalance will likely shield the market from price erosion in 2021, as it has done over the past ten months.

Affinity Modular Homes Production Line

While no one can predict future real estate or economic trends with complete certainty, we can say this. At present, it seems highly unlikely that the housing market will experience a major downturn or “crash” in 2021.

The U.S. housing market was on strong and stable footing going into the current pandemic situation. Sure, it slowed to a crawl back in April, as the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic set in. But there was still a lot of “pent-up demand,” as economists call it. Now, we are seeing that demand unfold in the form of steady home sales nationwide.

CLICK HERE to read the entire Home Buying Institue article

Seaside, CA Develops Standard Pre-approved ADU Dwelling Plans

The city of Seaside has made available free of charge accessory dwelling unit plans that have been reviewed and stamped approved by Seaside’s chief building official in an effort to help streamline the permitting process for ADU construction within the city.

The move to spur additions to the city’s housing stock makes Seaside the only Monterey County jurisdiction to offer pre-approved plans free to its residents and puts it in the company of bigger cities such as San Jose and San Diego.

The city of Seaside’s commitment to easing the process of adding accessory dwelling units is one facet of how the city is proactively moving to fulfill its obligation to provide affordable housing to its populace.

Accessory dwelling units are also known as granny flats or in-law units and can be built as converted space in an existing home, constructing a detached unit, or repurposing a garage or carport into a livable dwelling.

CLICK HERE to read the entire Monterey Herald article

Monday, November 30, 2020

Britain's L&G Modular Continues to Bleed Millions

L&G Modular, set up by the firm in 2016 to produce 3,500 factory-built homes a year, fell to a pre-tax loss of $135.3M for the 2019 calendar year, without reporting any revenue.

The only income the firm received was from the sale of some fixed assets, interest payments, and huge tax credit, which reduced its full final loss to $32.5M. A spokesperson for the business said the losses were to be expected given the investment in innovation necessary to “transform the way homes are built.”

The loss is the fourth consecutive loss reported by the firm, which originally said the first homes would be rolling off the production line by June 2016, but, prior to 2020 had only delivered prototypes and one small development.

CLICK HERE to read the entire Housing Today article

Sunday, November 29, 2020

IKEA Enters the Tiny House Business

IKEA and Vox Creative are teaming up with Curbed to create a space that is sustainable, affordable, and stylish that would fit in around 187 square feet. This would prove that anyone, anywhere could live a more sustainable life. 

Vox Media is providing its brand studio, Vox Creative, and the fully integrated campaign launched across Curbed will generate awareness of the tiny home. This will help shed light on the larger impact that small, daily decisions will have that result in a more sustainable world.

The tiny house was built back in March and was in the process of taking a nationwide tour across the US. Stops at sustainability-focused events were planned, but like many plans, these fell through due to the coronavirus pandemic.

One of the common problems with using tiny houses to help solve the problem of homelessness was the fact that many homeless people did not have their own land for these homes to be built on — and there’s the red tape as well. Owning an actual house required taxes and the average person living on the streets is barely able to make money to eat — much less save it to pay taxes. These obstacles are just that — not permanent blocks but ones that can be overcome easily.

CLICK HERE to read the entire CleanTechnia article

Bay Area Looks to Smaller Modular Units to House the Homeless

As Bay Area communities struggle to safely shelter their unhoused residents during a global pandemic, many have reached the same conclusion: Sometimes, smaller is better.

A sample of the new modular homeless housing units by Connect Homes

With homelessness soaring, shelters that can protect residents from COVID-19 need to be built as quickly as possible. Cities and counties around the Bay Area are experimenting with tiny, modular apartments —  a major departure from traditional, dormitory-style homeless shelters.

Backed in many cases by federal and state pandemic funding, and expedited by new legislation, modular shelters are in the works in cities from San Jose to Berkeley. At about 100 square feet per unit, each provides residents with their own room and locking door — though they vary widely in other comforts. The idea is for residents to live there until they find permanent housing, which could take several months.

So far, the modular shelters coming to the Bay Area are small-scale pilot programs, which officials intend to expand if they’re successful. There’s no telling how much, if any, funding will be left to continue those efforts once the pandemic eases. But advocates are hopeful this marks a shift toward a widespread and permanent alternative to traditional homeless shelters.

CLICK HERE to read the entire Mercury News article

Saturday, November 28, 2020

San Francisco Trade Unions Upset Over Modular Construction

This is not the first time construction unions have fought with developers using modular construction and I'm sure it won't be the last.

The 143-unit modular supportive housing project under construction on Bryant Street in San Francisco has drawn praise for the speed at which it is being built and its low construction cost.

Over a two-week period earlier this month, the boxes that make up the building were trucked over the Bay Bridge from Factory OS on Mare Island in Vallejo late at night and set on the concrete foundation at 833 Bryant St. Once completed it will be the city’s first 100% affordable modular project, an assembly-line-built project that will cost $385,000 per unit. That compares with about $525,000 a unit for a conventional “stick-built” development.

San Francisco building trades leaders argue that modular construction lowers construction standards and pushes down wages saying they are against modular housing unless it is built in San Francisco with union workers and craft-specific employees.

CLICK HERE to read the entire MSN Money article

Modcoach Connects Looking for Off-Site Construction Consultants


Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Industry Experts Acknowledge Desperate Need for Skilled Construction Labor

America is dealing with an unprecedented shortage of skilled labor. The Department of Labor reports that while there are 7.6 million unfilled jobs, only 6.5 million people were looking for work. This is the same situation in Arizona.

The industries seeing the largest talent gap are construction, health care and personal care, followed by computer and mathematical occupation. Better than average employment and a shortage of employable workers may leave the Arizona economy in a tough spot.

Career and technical education (CTE) programs may be the answer. CTE program education gives students the academic, technical and employability skills needed for workplace success.

The skills gap in construction is well known. Baby boomers are reaching retirement age, leaving a large space for younger workers to step in. In fact, according to the 2019 Wells Fargo Construction Industry Forecast, the utmost cost concern of contractors was access to qualified workers.

CLICK HERE to read the entire AZBIGMedia article

Monday, November 23, 2020

OSHA Continues Handing Out Fines for Lack of Fall Protection

Construction is still running in high gear across the country and with the shortage of even the most unskilled labor for these projects and houses, many builders and General Contractors are taking shortcuts in order to get the job done.

But fear not, OSHA is still out there searching for the causes of accidents on the jobsite and handing out fines in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Protecting laborers from falling is one of the top construction areas that OSHA not only looks at after an accident, they are also actively looking at the builder’s Facebook and LinkedIn pages for violations blatantly posted of workers working on roofs and in trenches with total disregard to safety protocol.

Here are just a few of this year’s 3rd Quarter OSHA fines for non-compliance for fall protection. Not sure about you but I sure couldn’t take a $150,000+ fine simply because I didn’t spend 30 minutes training new hires about fall protection.

Here are just a few examples:

K & R Construction

Millersburg, Ohio

Total Proposed Fines: $217,127

Status: Violations Under Contest

In July, OSHA cited roofing contractor K & R Construction Ltd. for three serious and four willful violations, most of them related to fall protection, after inspecting one of the firm's projects in North Canton, Ohio. 

OSHA found that K & R:

  • Allowed portable ladders with side rails that extended less than 3 feet above the upper landing surface to be used without the proper safeguards.
  • Did not provide adequate fall protection for employees working at heights of 6 feet above lower levels.
  • Did not ensure that its employees use protection when exposed to eye or face hazards.
  • Failed to ensure employees used adequate head protection.
  • Did not adequately train employees about stairway and ladder hazards.
  • Failed to ensure that construction debris was kept clear from work areas, passageways and stairs.
  • Did not designate a competent person to regularly inspect the site.

Freddy Acevedo

Dundee, Florida

Total Proposed Fines: $165,788 

Status: Pending Abatement of Violations, Pending Penalty Payment

In January, according to OSHA, contractor Freddy Acevedo was working on a project in Davenport, Florida, when a building collapse killed one of his employees. Prior to the collapse, Acevedo's employee was installing roof trusses along a wall. When the trusses and wall collapsed, the employee sustained fatal injuries from the fall and from being struck by falling building materials. 

OSHA fined Acevedo with one willful and six serious violations, including failure to:

  • Initiate and maintain programs related to general safety.
  • Provide adequate head protection.
  • Ensure that each powered industrial truck operator is capable of operating the truck.
  • Protect workers from falling by providing guardrail systems, safety net systems or personal fall arrest systems.
  • Provide proper training to those employees who might be exposed to fall hazards.
  • Make sure employees safely use portable ladders to access upper landings.
  • Provide a workplace free from recognized hazards.

Jerry Turnbaugh

Dublin, Ohio

Total Proposed Fines: $148,430

Status: Pending Abatement of Violations, Pending Penalty Payment

OSHA issued five willful citations to roofing contractor Jerry Turnbaugh for failing to provide adequate fall protection on three construction sites in Pickerington, Ohio, in May and June of this year. 

Specifically, OSHA said that Turnbaugh did not:

  • Develop and maintain a safety and health program.
  • Failed to properly train employees about fall hazards.
  • Did not use fall protection systems to protect employees.
  • Failed to require and enforce the use of fall protection when employees were working at heights of more than 6 feet.

Swiss Construction

Brinkhaven, Ohio

Total Proposed Fines: $138,853

Status: Penalty Payment Plan in Place; Pending Abatement of Violations, Penalty Plan in Place

OSHA inspected two Swiss Construction project sites this summer — one in June and the other In August — and found the company had committed several infractions related to fall protection. As a result, the agency proposed total fines of $138,853. 

Swiss, according to OSHA, failed to:

  • Rig employees so that they would not fall more than 6 feet.
  • Provide a training program about recognizable hazards for employees who might be exposed to them.
  • Protect employees through the use of guardrail systems, a safety net system, a personal fall arrest system or alternative fall protection measures.
  • Initiate and maintain the necessary programs to protect the general safety and health of its employees.

Of the one repeat and three serious violation citations OSHA issued to Swiss, however, the agency deleted two of the serious citations and negotiated the total fines down to $34,005.