This past Friday, I was fortunate enough to have a lengthy discussion with one of the co-founders of Blu Homes based out of Massachusetts, Mr. Dennis Michaud.  Blu Homes’ business model, focused on providing environmentally responsible homes at reduced costs by prefabricating home modules, has helped the company start to grow and expand.  And when questioned about the housing industry and how the company was operating,  Mr. Michaud, the Vice President of Product Development, stated that there are still 500,000 houses being built, which is really quite a bit.  Everyone is always focused on the loss at the moment, but this was a fresh look at the industry.  What makes their houses unique is not only their aesthetic appeal – which is savvy and modern – but also the manner by which they are constructed.

Using a folding modular system, the home, upon its arrival to the site, can be unfolded to create additional rooms, a pitched roof, or one among many other parts of the house.  This folding reduces construction time on-site, increases quality, and reduces labor costs, which can be very high for any project, especially those requiring large crews.  Their houses are typically completed within two weeks of being delivered to the site.  The President, Mr. Bill Haney compares the typical process of constructing a house as to the assembly of your car on your own driveway.  This video is really enlightening and provocative as to where the construction industry should be going.  (Bottom left page of this webpage http://www.bluhomes.com/).

 

I learned a few very important lessons from this visit.  First, your own research interests can take you far, you simply need to dream big and promote yourself.  Blu Homes is a venture Mr. Michaud helped found as a student out of his graduate architectural studies at MIT.  Secondly, there are other people interested in investigating the relationship between design and construction, and they have proven that it is viable and can have huge savings, whether in costs or in environmental benefits.  This visit happened quite unexpectedly, and interestingly enough, my interest in pre-fabricated housing had started a few weeks back (refer to my blog regarding Mid Mod).  Third, I learned that it always is beneficial to take time to meet people you are interested in.  I met with Professor Daubmann last semester when he spoke at my Construction Contracting class. After following up with him, he has helped me at different times – this interview and discussion being one of those times – and I could not be more grateful.

 

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