Sunday, April 11, 2021

How Deregulation Can Solve America’s Shortage of Affordable Housing

The idea of scaling back all the regulations surrounding building just about anything has been one of the biggest hindrances to affordable housing in the US. In this article, Dustin Romney, the author, points out some of the dumb regulations every builder has faced at one time or the other.

Unfortunately, many progressive era regulatory regimes remain and are in far more labyrinthine form than originally crafted. Among them, land use regulation calls out for attention. Originally sold as a mechanism for nuisance prevention, zoning laws were quickly adapted to tackle a host of perceived ills. Today, the dominant theme of land use regulation has little to do with nuisance prevention and focuses almost exclusively on the “character” of the neighborhood – sometimes to preserve it and other times to change it.

Take, for example, the 230-page zoning ordinance in the Town of Queen Creek, Arizona where I am currently navigating the permitting process to build a home. It includes no less than 30 different zoning designations, including such arcane distinctions as residential zones where the minimum lot size may be 7,000 square feet or 9,000 square feet. If many people bothered to peruse their local zoning ordinance, they might be surprised to learn that 7,000 square foot lots were such a threat to 9,000 square foot lots.

CLICK HERE to read the entire Freedom for Economic Education article


Gary Fleisher is the Managing Director and contributor to the Modcoach Network and its affiliated blogs. 

Email at modcoach@gmail.com

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Someone Needs Your Particular Job Skills Now!

Ready to change jobs? Here are the first of April's Job Listings and maybe one on them has your name on it.

The Active Candidates section below represents candidates looking for new career opportunities.

The Open Positions section represents companies, who are looking for candidates to fill their open positions.

Contact Lynn Gromann at 888-831-0327 or Lynn.Gromann@LGARecruiters.com if you would like further information on an available candidate or on an open position.

Active Candidates 

EXECUTIVE / FINANCIAL
  • General Manager - HUD / MOD - wants TX or Southeast

PRODUCTION / OPERATIONS
  • Assistant Production Manager - MOD - wants warm climate
  • Operations Manager - Commercial MOD - Wants Dallas/Ft. Worth
  • Assistant Production Manager - HUD / MOD - FL
  • Project Manager - MOD - New England, wants east coast

ENGINEERING / ARCHITECTURAL
  • Multiple candidates who would like to work remotely. Contact the office for more information.

SALES / MARKETING
  • Sales Manager - HUD / MOD 20+ years, possible relo

Open Positions

EXECUTIVE / FINANCIAL
  • CFO - Multifamily MOD - Rocky Mountain Region
  • CFO - Steel MOD - Southwest
  • General Manager - Steel MOD - Southeast
  • General Manager - MOD - Pacific NW

PRODUCTION / OPERATIONS
  • Project Manager - Commercial MOD - Southwest
  • Assistant Operations Manager - Commercial MOD - South
  • Operations Manager - MOD - Southeast
  • Assistant Production Manager - Multifamily MOD - Southeast
  • Production Manager - HUD / MOD - South
  • Assistant Production Manager - HUD / MOD - Pacific NW
  • Project Manager - Manufactured Housing Community - Southwest
  • Production Manager - MOD - Pacific NW
  • Production Manager - MOD - Upper Midwest
  • Production Manager - HUD / MOD - Upper Midwest

ENGINEERING / ARCHITECTURAL
  • Architectural Drafter - MOD - Southeast
  • Engineering Manager - Steel MOD - Northeast
  • Structural or Civil Engineer - MOD - West or remote
  • Revit Designer - Multifamily MOD - Southeast

SALES / MARKETING
  • Sales Manager - MOD - Pacific NW

MATERIALS / PURCHASING / ESTIMATING
  • Estimator - Commercial MOD - Southwest
  • Purchasing Manager - Commercial MOD - South
  • Purchasing Manager - Multifamily MOD - Southeast

SERVICE / QUALITY
  • Quality Assurance - Multifamily MOD - Southeast
Contact Lynn Gromann at 888-831-0327 or Lynn.Gromann@LGARecruiters.com if you would like further information on an available candidate or on an open position.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Is the Modular Construction Industry About to be Hit with Many Factory Closings?

Since the middle of 2020, the modular construction industry has been seeing record numbers of contracts coming in. From huge hotels and affordable housing projects to single-family homes, modular hasn't seen a year like this in decades. It would appear everything is bluebirds and rainbows for everyone in the modular housing industry.

The cyclical nature of modular construction is tied very closely with the law of supply and demand but this year, 2021, is seeing no slowdown in demand with many factories saying they are taking contracts so far into the future that production line space could be sold out into 2022.

Did someone forget to tell all those bluebirds in the modular home industry about the supply side of that law?

While contracts are being signed with everyone celebrating at one end of the process, the other end of the process, the end that actually produces the modules is in complete disarray.

While contracts are being signed at today's material costs, the other end is already paying much more for building materials than anyone thought. The homes and projects currently being completed do not carry enough profit to replenish the building material inventory.

I just learned today that OSB sheathing may soon be breaking $50 a sheet! That's almost $20 a sheet more than what most factories paid for their current OSB used on their modules. 

Now add in the rising costs of drywall, insulation, lumber and MEP systems and it doesn't take long for a module going down the production line to become a loss leader instead of a profit center.

I also recently heard a modular factory brag that their typical 2,200 sq ft home has a $50,000 profit. Not sure if that is even close to being possible in today's modular construction world. 

For modular factories to continue to sign contracts for future work, sometimes into 2022, is playing with fire, especially if more shortages in building materials continue to plague our industry which pushes costs higher at an alarming rate.

The question that must be answered is how can factories continue to pay for tomorrow's building materials when the modules they are currently producing are losing profit at every stage of their production?

The modular construction industry may see another round of factory closings unmatched since 2008.


Gary Fleisher is the Managing Director and contributor to the Modcoach Network and its affiliated blogs. 

Email at modcoach@gmail.com

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

A Colorful Cape is Modcoach's "Home of the Week"

This Modcoach "Home of the Week" shows another example of what is possible when someone chooses a modular home, especially in the Mid-Atlantic region. With 4 bedrooms and a colorful and a fresh look, it was an easy choice to make.

Beracah Homes' Red Rooster is a Cape Cod-style home (story & a half/traditionally unfinished upstairs, but most customers finish) and is a well-laid-out floor plan. 


There are many features to fall in LOVE, with this floorplan. As a Cape Cod style home, the upstairs is naturally unfinished. A Beracah roof pitch on a large Cape Cod style home can create a large amount of unfinished space, which can be finished off - now, or later. In the Rooster's case, the unfinished upstairs is large enough to accommodate a full den, 2 large bedrooms, a full bathroom... and storage.



Downstairs is wide open, and includes 2 bedrooms (with baths) and features a separate large wash/utility room, 1/2 bath and access to the garage.  The owners' suite bedroom can be situated, just as the optional sunroom to capture some beautiful sunshine at whatever time of day you choose. 




The kitchen is spacious and provides open space access into the living room, and the dining area/near the sunroom.  For those with a good size lot and are looking for a spacious home that can be customized with a lot of charm... the Rooster is crowing!

Beracah Homes is located in Greenwood, Delaware and serves the Eastern Shore region of Delaware, Virginia and Maryland.


Gary Fleisher is the Managing Director and contributor of the Modcoach Network and its affiliated blogs. Email at modcoach@gmail.com

Monday, April 5, 2021

New Modular Hotel Ready to Open in Oakland, CA

Construction has just been completed on the 172-room Moxy Oakland Downtown, a boutique lodging that will represent a rarity for the East Bay’s largest city: one of the first new hotel projects in Oakland in roughly a decade.


The hotel was jointly developed by Tidewater Capital, a San Francisco-based real estate firm with both development and investment expertise; and Graves Hospitality, a hotel management firm with veteran expertise.

The hotel is located in Oakland’s Uptown, a neighborhood of restaurants, nightspots, entertainment hubs, cocktail lounges, and theaters.

Moxy is one of Marriott’s brands and typically features smaller rooms and appeals to younger guests.

Tidewater Capital and Graves Hospitality built the hotel in what is known as an opportunity zone, which is a lower-income area where property investments can be made with considerable tax advantages.

The hotel was built using modular construction, a sustainable building approach that can create a more efficient construction process. Tidewater reduced the construction time by 25% using the modular technique.

CLICK HERE to read the entire East Bay Times article.


Gary Fleisher, Managing Director and contributor of the Modcoach Network and its blogs.

Contact me at modcoach@gmail.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

There's More to This Labor Shortage Than Meets the Eye

"Something's rotten in the state of Denmark." I remember my father saying that when something was either too good to be true or when he read a headline that made absolutely no sense.

If he were alive today, he would say something's definitely rotten about the nation's labor shortage, especially the offsite construction labor shortage.

Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia had jobless rate increases from a year earlier, and two states had little change. The national unemployment rate, 6.3 percent in January 2021, fell by 0.4 percentage point over the month, but was 2.8 points higher than in January 2020.

As of February '21, 9.97 million people were unemployed but The Labor Department said total continuing jobless benefit claims — a proxy for how many people are getting benefits — rose sharply to 20.4 million as of Jan. 23.

So let's do the math. 9,970,000 people in the US were unemployed but 20,400,000 were getting unemployment benefits. That means more than 10,000,000 people are getting unemployment benefits than are employed.

And we wonder why the offsite construction industry can't find laborers? Truth be told, 10.0M can't afford to give up their unemployment benefits and take one of the positions in our factories.

And we're not alone. Here are just some of this morning's headlines from across the US:

  • Labor shortage could stunt NE Indiana's economic recovery
  • Tallahassee business owners worry about impacts of labor shortage
  • Maryland crab industry desperate for worker visas
  • Daytona Beach restaurant owners closing doors, limiting hours due to staffing shortage
  • 'Everybody's tired.' What a staff shortage means for Louisville restaurants and diners

The "something rotten in Denmark" this time is the way unemployment works. How quickly could every job in the US be filled if just those extra 10 million people receiving benefits for not working simply stopped getting them?

And yes, I know every situation is different and sometimes those benefits can make all the difference to those receiving them. But someone has to begin wondering why the majority of those 10,000,000 people are receiving benefits that shouldn't get them.


Gary Fleisher, Managing Director and contributor of the Modcoach Network and its blogs.

Contact me at modcoach@gmail.com

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Modular Office Building About Ready for Los Alamos National Laboratory

Design-build commercial modular construction firm Ramtech Building Systems of Mansfield, TX has announced that the company is entering the final phase on the construction of a 22,680 square foot two-story multi-use office building project the company is constructing using slab-on-grade permanent modular construction for Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in Los Alamos, NM.

Ramtech Building Solutions is installing 26 non-combustible steel-framed modular sections for a 
two-story multi-use office building for the Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, N.M.

Ramtech is currently completing the interior and exterior finish-out of the building and the testing of the mechanical systems and is performing the outside utility and flatwork to meet the projected finish date of mid-June.

Module setting began for the 22,680 square foot permanent modular building after several weeks of extensive sub-surface investigation to locate both known and unknown utilities and remnants of a previous structure before installing the foundation for the new building.

CLICK HERE to read the entire Yahoo Finance article.


Gary Fleisher, Managing Director and contributor of the Modcoach Network and its blogs.

Contact me at modcoach@gmail.com