Construction Today 2018 - Volume 16, Issue 3 - 148
By Steve Conboy
e are in the midst of a serious
housing crisis throughout
the United States.
As home prices have
increased - in many areas surpassing the
peaks of the market before the Great Recession - home ownership has declined. At the
same time, the percentage of income families
spend on rent now exceeds previous levels.
The rising homeless populations in many
cities are a testament to the lack of safe,
There is no question - America needs
more affordable housing, and we need it
fast. Modular construction, particularly
using new-growth cross-laminated timber
(CLT) and nail-laminated timber (NLT), can
address the demand promptly.
CONSTRUCTION-TODAY.COM VOLUME 16, ISSUE 3
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, populations shifted to the
cities, as industrial and commercial job opportunities expanded
in metropolitan areas. In the years after World War II, urban and
suburban areas boomed, as GIs returned home to find work and start
families. The suburbs, many of them enabled by the newly created
Interstate Highway System in the 1950s, quickly became the model
for family neighborhoods.
To address the post-war population boom, houses in the suburbs
were often constructed with modular components, using the same
process as apartment buildings in the cities. By prefabricating single
or multi-story buildings in sections and delivering these sections to
the development site, modular construction allows for a much faster
completion time than site building alone.
Constructed on an assembly line, modular construction can take
as little as 10 days and can be delivered with mechanical, electric and
plumbing installations, as well as interior furnishings. The resulting
structures are also compliant with all applicable local building codes.
Take Levittown, N.Y., for example. America's first true suburb,