West Coast Modular Tour

By Michael Dickens & Dennis Steigerwalt, IBACOS

Our west coast modular tour included stops at Entekra, Britco, Silver Creek, Connect Homes and Method Homes. The bottom line is that across the board, we saw live proof of the value of offsite solutions for constructing production builders’ homes… building homes in less time, with less waste and less labor. 

Entekra, Southern California

Entekra has a local production builder client, who after trying Entekra’s ‘offsite solution’ to produce the structure of one of their homes, was so convinced of the business value that he ordered eight more! We visited one of these client’s job sites in Los Banos, where we witnessed two side-by-side process improvement exercises being executed. Two houses had been pre-engineered and fabricated at Entekra’s pilot facility in close-by Ripon. Starting at 7am, two crews began assembly
of the two homes – one was a single-story being assembled by the builder’s regular framing contractor, trained prior by Gerry’s team. And the other, a two-story home, being assembled by five of Entekra’s seasoned team members. 

Amazing quality and progress was made in the 6-7 hours that we were on site, with almost no waste onsite. The bottom line is that two houses/turnkey structural shells can be fully assembled in two days and ready to begin the rest of the material finishes!

Britco (Factory visit in Agassiz, Canada)

As one of North America’s leading commercial modular construction companies, we learned that Britco can build pretty much anything, although today, their product focus is on multi-family and hospitality. Collaboration from the project outset ensures that the best possible cost and productivity efficiencies are achieved. Also, delivering complete prototypes for all projects ensures that client expectations are confirmed before going into production. With increasing building performance requirements, the team has delivered several PassiveHaus-certified projects and through applied learning, is now capable of delivering 90% of the performance at 50% of the certified cost.

Silver Creek (Factory visit in Perris, CA)

Silver Creek modular buildings and construction services provide modules for a variety of end uses. This second-generation, family-owned business has carved out a competitive edge in educational building applications and is developing a portfolio for multi-family solutions. They have experience delivering higher-end, single family projects in difficult-to-build locations along the California coast. Nearly all of the module is completed in the factory, where a trained workforce tackles a project task-by-task in an assembly line approach, with support through a strategic partnership with an outside HVAC sub-contractor.

Connect Homes (Los Angeles, CA)

Founded to offer accessible, modern design through a pre-fab housing solution, Connect Homes delivers an affordable alternative for those looking to live with great design and experience a better way of building. They believe the inefficiencies within conventional homebuilding lead to a process for both the architect and the owner that is too difficult and time consuming. Designed to be simple, smart, and efficient, the team developed a patented modular system that dramatically reduces delivery costs with 90% of the modules completed in the factory. Their niche is a solution for the higher-end, price-conscious consumer. They create added value through an optimized portfolio of 9-12 designs, with the ability to deliver homes up to half the price of traditional site-built homes in a high construction environment. 

Method Homes (At a site in Santa Rosa, CA)

Method Homes is a custom manufacturer of precision-engineered, prefabricated, modern structures. Master craftsmen create modular homes, commercial structures, accessory dwelling units, and garages in a process with extremely tight quality controls. The team has delivered over 220 homes over the past 10 years and currently has a backlog through 2019. With a high-performance, sustainability focus, they deploy systems utilizing panels, pods and mods which delivers projects much faster and at a competitive price. They have experienced success delivering affordable housing projects and higher-end multi-unit projects for developers.