Skip to content

Make Allies and Win Together

Landon Boucher, Director of Business Design and Innovations, MiTek Inc.
Landon Boucher is the director of business design and innovations at MiTek Inc.

Off-Site Construction is a term that has become a bit of a buzzword (that’s putting it mildly). Everyone these days, seems to tout the same exasperated (albeit valid) talking points about being built in a factory-controlled environment, improved processes, sustainability, reduced on-site build cycle, labor etc.

What many fail to mention, unfortunately, is that none of this matters if we have the wrong people managing it all. It is not just about process or product. It’s about people. All three are needed to make building successful.

Too often, those of us in the off-site construction sector dismiss the incredible accomplishments of our on-site construction counterparts and the tradesmen and women that are the workforce behind this industry. It’s inaccurate to claim that not much has changed in the last 100 years in the way we build homes. The list of what has changed in the last 20 years alone is too long for this post. What has always amazed me about construction is the people. The people who build our homes, our communities, our world. It is the people who have developed improved processes and products and it is the people who must be relied upon to utilize them efficiently. Like all things with people, sometimes we do it well and sometimes we don’t. This reality exists just as much in off-site construction. I have seen many projects delayed, factories failed, and processes not followed. Every single time, I can point to the people as the key factor in derailing otherwise well thought out plans.

I do believe off-site construction can be the better solution. All things being equal (i.e., good process, product, and people), I believe off-site teams will outperform on-site teams every time. But we need to be honest with ourselves and our industry by acknowledging that many times things are not equal. I think we do a disservice to the advancement of off-site construction when we fail to recognize (and furthermore, proclaim) this truth.

In lieu of making claims about how “traditional construction” is outdated, slow, and prone to problems, how about we work together, create allies, and foster a relationship of collaboration? I see a lot of posts on social media and in industry presentations that contain side-by-side comparisons of off-site and on-site construction. One photo is a messy and disorganized project and the other is a clean, well-managed depiction of just-in-time delivery methods utilizing mods or panels. I don’t ever see anyone share the failures of their own respective side of this equation. As a consultant for many years to contractors, engineers, and manufacturers, I’ve seen the failures and successes of both. I’ve seen them up close. Some I’ve even been responsible for, at least on some level.

It is my hope that we will see further progress in continuous improvement of construction by letting down our guards and engaging in collaborative efforts where we can share best practices and lessons learned based on our own direct experiences. A rising tide will raise all ships.

Let’s be authentic in our communications and win together.

More from Modular Advantage

Unity Malmö – New Student Housing in Southern Sweden from Forta PRO

The city of Malmö in southern Sweden is set to welcome a new student housing project Unity Malmö, comprised of 5 building blocks, 450 micro-living apartments, where Forta PRO delivered 269 modules, total of 9,671.9 m2.

CertainTeed’s ONE PRECISION ASSEMBLIES™ Panelized Solution

Using the latest advances in building science and prefabrication,
CertainTeed developed these wall, floor, ceiling, and roof panel assemblies to meet the needs of builders and developers wanting to build higher-performing
homes, faster.

Sustainable and Energy-Efficient Solutions from DMDmodular

DMDmodular has recently achieved a significant milestone by successfully completing a relevant
energy-efficient housing project, fully financed by EU funds, that tackles the industry’s most pressing challenges.

homeD: On a Mission to Improve Affordable Housing in Canada

homeD’s mission is to alleviate homelessness and in British Columbia and they’ve developed unique modular housing products to that end. The company also embraces a strong social justice ethic, providing solutions for marginalized communities who face housing challenges, and is aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Modular Hotel Room Prototype Shows Global Investors the Speed and Versatility of Modular Building

Forta PRO, a modular building manufacturer in Latvia, recently partnered with Marriott to create a modular hotel room based on their current design, Moxy. The two connected in Copenhagen in 2019, when Marriott expressed an interest in creating a mock-up to show investors the quality available through modular construction techniques. The stand-alone room is currently located in Frankfurt and is available for investors to visit.

PROMET: Providing Award-Winning Workforce Housing in Chile & Beyond

South America is a mining powerhouse, producing a substantial amount of the world’s silver, copper, tin, zinc, lithium, and nickel, and the mining industry requires a substantial amount of infrastructure to operate. That infrastructure includes workforce housing and office space that modular builders such as PROMET provide.

Turkish Manufacturer Has Long History of Responding to Disaster

On February 6, 2023, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked southern and central Turkey, killing over 2,300 people and injuring 10,000 more. DORCE responded with the force of its huge production capacity, dedicating all their abilities to producing emergency houses for those displaced by the disaster with help from AFAD (Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency of Turkish Republic).

The Envelope Insulation Design Regarding Material Alteration Compatibility in Blast-Resistant Modular Buildings

BRM envelope insulation configuration has impacts on construction schedule time, potential redesign workload, and market competitiveness, which are all critical to the success of a BRM project.

Observations from My Travels to Ukraine

With over 2,300 damaged or destroyed schools, the potential for modular construction as part of the rebuilding effort is huge. In fact, mayors from several cities asked me about this exact issue when I visited in May. And, of course, the needs for medical clinics and housing are greater than ever.

Is the World Deglobalizing?

There is a popular narrative indicating that the world is now splintering after a period of coming together. For decades, the world seemed destined to become a unified production unit. Dozens of free trade agreements, the expansion of World Trade Organization (WTO) membership, and import/export data suggested that national boundaries were falling, at least with respect to the movement of goods, including productive construction inputs.