Making a Case for Systems-Built Housing

Filed in Committees and Councils by on September 11, 2016 5 Comments

Dan Mitchell, a third-generation home builder who has worked on construction sites since he was five years old and built just about every type of home, is a strong advocate for systems-built construction.

“A huge benefit for builders, when you shift over to the systems built industry, is that the manufacturers become your sales and design force,” said Mitchell, a former NAHB Building Systems Councils chair. “They can design for your current customers, but also bring you leads for people who want to build in your area. A conduit of new clients are funneled to you through the manufacturers.”

Mitchell said that many manufacturers are starving for builders. They have more clients than they do builders to put homes on the ground, and they’re eagerly looking for quality builders in all areas throughout the country.

But misinformation about building systems persist, which often causes builders to shy away. For example, contrary to popular thought, some studies have shown that building systems are more efficient and more cost effective than traditional stick-built framing.

Later this month (Sept. 21-23), the BSC will host the first Building Systems Housing Summit, where builders can get a better understanding of what the industry is all about. It is the only national conference dedicated to the entire systems-built housing industry, which includes modular, panelized, concrete, log and timber home manufacturing and construction.

Attendees can take advantage of a variety of workshops and education sessions, networking opportunities, and even a tour of building systems factories in and around Asheville, N.C.

The summit is an great opportunity for all home builders and remodelers to learn more about the industry, but the resources that will be available could be especially poignant for those who have toyed with the idea of using systems to save money or boost profits, but haven’t yet made the move.

“Most builders are good at building. But the sales, marketing and design…that’s typically where they struggle the most,” Mitchell said. “All manufacturers cover those areas for them to help them be successful.”

Mitchell said there’s also a misconception that custom builders can’t do panelized or modular home building, but manufacturers want all types of builders. All of the major disciplines can integrate with the systems built industry and be extremely effective, he said.

The ability and ease with which builders can increase their revenue by simply adding panelized, modular, concrete, log or timber building systems to their repertoire is another crucial reason to consider a move in that direction.

Though the cost per square foot is typically the same for traditional stick-built homes versus systems-built homes, there’s about a three- to six-month difference in the time it takes to finish the two.

“From a financial perspective, you can obviously take on more projects and move more people into homes in any given year,” Mitchell said.

And with more projects, comes the need for more labor, which given the current labor shortages, could be more challenging for traditional stick-built framers.

But with homes that can be manufactured and built offsite, builders could save more time and money, and more easily comply with ever-evolving building codes.

For more information about building systems or the Building Systems Housing Summit, visit

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Comments (5)

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  1. Take the time to learn about this systems built opportunity to advance your team to faster completion, closings, cash flow and more profits!
    Market and sell smartly!
    Close quickly!
    Enjoy the cash flow!
    ONwards and UPwards!

  2. Vern Miller says:

    Which manufactures are starving the most for builders?
    That list of Modular MFG’s would be good to know and could be networked around to help the builder and the manufacture be more productive.
    Get us a list of the ones needing orders and willing to communicate a solid schedule.

  3. David says:

    You have shared great post on this topic. I hope this will really help people to understand about building system and how they are useful in construction industry. Thanks

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