Skip to content

Make Allies and Win Together

Landon Boucher
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In lieu of making claims about how “traditional construction” is outdated, slow, and prone to problems, how about we work together, create allies, and foster a relationship of collaboration?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

Samantha Taylor: Leading the (Modular) Design of Tomorrow

“With modern technology and the way we’ve all embraced things like BIM, file sharing, and video conferencing since COVID, it’s easy to collaborate with companies in Austria, or Singapore, or anywhere else in the world.”

Greg DeLeon: Military Engineering to Modular Design

Greg DeLeon, a structural engineer at ISE Structural Engineers in Temecula, California, can tell you not only how large a beam needs to be to support a house, but also how much explosives you’ll need to take it down, thanks to his unique combination of professional and military experience.

To Remake North Minneapolis, Devean George Swaps Basketball for Buildings

He’s lived in Los Angeles, Dallas, and San Francisco (to name a few). He’s delivered championships with the Los Angeles Lakers and made career-defining moves with the Dallas Mavericks and the Golden State Warriors. No matter the wins, the championships, or even the seemingly impossible 3-pointers, Devean George has always returned to where it all started for him: Minneapolis.

Chelsi Tryon: Making the World a Better Place

For Chelsi Tryon, Director of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) for WillScot Mobile Mini, nothing is more enjoyable than increasing the
company’s sustainability efforts while simultaneously doing her bit to save the environment.

Joshua Hart: Pushing Boundaries

Joshua Hart, P.E., vice president at Modular
Solutions, can sum up his job responsibilities in one sentence: “I do whatever needs to be done.” Hart thrives on the variety and the opportunity to be involved in every aspect of the company. And it shows! You might say Hart has come full circle.

Jamie Metzger: From Construction to Apparel and Back Again

Growing up in a blue-collar city like Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, it’s no surprise that Jamie Metzger spent some time working labor jobs on construction sites. It’s one of the most common summer jobs in the city. But that’s probably the last predictable thing about this particular story.

Victor Masso: Expanding Modular in Puerto Rico

Victor Masso joined 2 Go Storage, a company started by his grandfather and father, in 2018 to develop a modular building division in the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria in 2017. Prior to joining the company, he had worked in the industry for about four years focusing on pharmaceutical, commercial, and government projects.

Eliyah Ryals: Finding the Perfect Fit

It’s not common for people to find their perfect career fit straight out of college. It’s even less common to find it in the town you grew up in. But that’s exactly what happened when Eliyah Ryals was told about vacancies at Panel Built and made the decision to apply.

Through It All, It’s Still About the Workers

By February 2024, the number of available, unfilled construction job openings had reached an all-time high. At some point, interest rates will fall, creating another surge in demand for such workers. In short, solving the nation’s skilled worker shortage issue has never been more important.

Navigating Insurance Challenges in the Modular Construction Industry

Utilizing practical written minimum insurance and indemnity requirements, along with monitoring certificates of insurance by someone who has COI training will not yield a perfect risk transfer strategy, but the exposure will be managed much better than it likely is currently.