Russ Ward

Modular Building Perception – 1 Thing That Kills Modular

Modular Building Perception – The modular building industry continues to grow at a rapid pace and that trend will continue unless…

First, let me say that I am huge proponent of the modular industry and modular building. I have presented the concept at conferences and in too many architect offices to count. I have even served in an advisory capacity in the industry’s leading advocate and educational group. And I have led panel discussions in the construction industry about modular. It is not just a slogan that modular building is greener, faster and smarter it is! As a result I am excited to be a part of that revolutionary construction movement. Also, I have written tons of articles on the benefits and need for more modular in the future. However there is a perception problem that could derail the industry despite our best efforts.

For me I saw this “modular building perception” problem rear its ugly head in a casual conversation. It was at an impromptu reunion of old friends. We grew up in the wonder years of cul-de-sacs and bicycles. Forty or so kids had summers to roam free in the backyards, nearby woods and empty lots of the Westwood Hills subdivision. As we discussed old-times we started naming the families and the various homes they lived in.

The Elmer’s Glue House

The Sullivans lived in the spit-level, white house with black shutters. The Jones’ house next door was the all brick ranch with the old Corvette in the drive under a tarp. We named the family and described the house all the way around the block and then we came to the Elmer’s Glue house. Everyone at the table knew exactly which house we were talking about. It was a modular home that arrived on the back of trucks in two pieces. With children watching it got slid into place on the foundation. We, being just kids, made the leap that obviously the two halves had to be stuck together somehow and Elmer’s Glue was the solution. The popular sticky white school supply and sometimes snack stuck as the idea and so did the name.

Keep in mind that this is in the 1970’s. In our small town a modular building was an experiment more than a solution and unheard of at the time. When finished being “glued” together the house appeared very modest, plain and simple in comparison to the others in the neighborhood. Also, despite being put together in an afternoon it sat empty for months gathering dust and rumors.

The unfortunate result was a perception in the developing minds of the neighborhood youth. We started believing our collective imagination that the modular units are held together with nothing more than the rendered bones of farm animals beyond their useful state and there was a lack quality.

Perception is NOT Reality

John Locke, English Philosopher – 1632 to 1704.

John Locke addressed this as he pondered what made humanity tick or think. He adopted the “tabla rasa” (blank slate) philosophy of Aristotle. He said, “Let us then suppose the mind to be, as we say, white paper, void of all characters, without any ideas; How comes it to be furnished?” He would argue that is it furnished with experience and perception. That experience and perception becomes our reality and everything going forward is compared to that ever-filling slate throughout life.

I am sure that Locke is rolling over in his grave at my simplistic understanding and application, but you get the general picture. Our reality becomes what we experience not facts. So when that seemingly low-quality house was being placed in our neighborhood, a group of young people filled the paper of their minds with a negative perception of modular. This does not mean that modular or that modular home was low quality – far from it. It just means the perception is there and can persist.

The actual facts about modular construction have taken hammer and tongs at the perception for years. The result are serious inroads as modular becomes more popular, capturing a larger segment of the construction industry. It has been proven to be greener, faster, safer and more cost effective.

Here is the Warning

But, with the reality and facts comes dangers especially when a self, proclaimed modular manufacturer puts on the market an unsafe or low quality product. It confirms the unfair perception and gives the entire modular movement a black-eye hurting the modular building perception. The now filled blank slate will be reaffirmed and the chore of telling others about the benefits of the modular revolution will become more difficult not less.

We have seen this with modular elevators. Modular Elevator Manufacturing (MEM) is working hard to promote the modular concept and part of that hard work and promotion is to make sure that the elevators we provide are in fact high-quality. Also, it is just as important that what we say about the product matches up with reality. However, when rumors abound that with another company has low quality it makes our job tougher. This is especially true when that low quality leads to squabbles. The way we fight back at MEM is engineering in quality. Every elevator that leaves our factory gets a ten-point inspection check list. This verifies our quality before the hoistway with the pre-installed elevator is readied for shipping.

Quality Is More Important Than Perception

Quality is extremely important not just for MEM but for the modular market as a whole. If pioneers of the industry such as MEM continue to provide quality the future is bright. However, if also rans with low standards and low quality becomes what is sold even to just a handful of customers, it will indeed be a difficult slog forward.

We love the modular industry and know most of our readers do too. So to preserve the reputation of the industry consider MEM first and others that promote quality. Reject companies that have such a poor reputation. We produce quality and our track record proves it and we are proud of it! So, join the discussion and our elevator revolution. With quality we and others in the modular industry provide you will be glad you were a part of changing the construction and elevator industry for the better.

If quality and the modular build perception is important to you click the button below . You will see we are the solution you’ve been waiting for. We will provide a Fast Track number in a day. You will find that MEM elevators are always quality elevators taking you to a higher level.

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