The COVID-19 crisis has no doubt had a significant impact on every aspect of life, including the housing industry. Despite the challenges the pandemic has presented, however, many in the industry have looked for ways they could help — through donations of medical and protective equipment, meals for essential workers and even plasma to help fight COVID-19. One member of the Building Systems Councils (BSC) saw an opportunity to help in a different capacity — but he would need the help of his fellow builders to really make an impact.
Vaughan Buckley, president of the Volumetric Building Companies, helped establish the Modular Mobilization Coalition (MMC), a group of 15 independent modular construction companies who own and operate 23 factories nationwide. Originally brought together to manufacture Supplemental Care Units (SCUs) to address the immediate medical needs brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the coalition has expanded its focus to target highly repeatable building archetypes that help provide a variety of necessary residential and commercial projects, including not only medical buildings but market-rate multifamily developments and student dorms as well.
“By putting together this coalition, we are able to rapidly deploy modular solutions at a guaranteed price and guaranteed timeline anywhere in the United States,” said Colby Swanson, executive director of the Modular Mobilization Coalition, in a press release. “The MMC was developed to bring best-in-class modular construction companies together to develop innovation construction solutions. We see great opportunities in residential and commercial building and especially in the affordable housing marketplace.”
The MMC signed its first contract in late June to develop a 44-module, 15,800-square-foot apartment complex in the Washington, D.C. area. Utilizing four signatory factories around the area to provide the client with a range of options, the coalition was able to get the project underway in July and deliver the components to the site in mid-September. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.
“The level of support and cohesion within the industry has been amazing,” Buckley observed. “Competitors who don't normally talk to one another are lining up to work together to be a part of this solution and share information. The value of that cohesion is extremely compressed production time frames and a more consistent product to the end buyers — both mandatory in this volatile environment.”
The MCC will be spotlighting a video of the construction process during its keynote presentation for Building Systems Week. The webinar, titled “Bringing a Fractured Industry Together,” will take place Sept. 21 at 2 p.m. ET and feature a question-and-answer session with Buckley and Swanson.