Year-over-year comparison of builders’ intent regarding offsite construction.

October 5, 2020

Improved Construction Speed is Primary Benefit Builders Expect from Offsite Construction

During NAHB’s Building Systems Week in late September, I presented “Builder Attitudes Towards Systems-Built Construction,” which summarized the findings of three different recent studies related to builder views and usage of offsite construction methods and factory-built components. Overall, the market is bullish toward use of offsite methods, and some sectors—such as multifamily—have been much quicker to adopt these into housing production.

In the most recent study, Home Innovation conducted a survey of 300 Builders in September 2020 to assess builder attitudes toward offsite construction in the post-COVID climate. In part, builders were asked: “When you consider beginning or expanding your use of offsite housing methods … what do you think will be the primary benefits to your company?”

Primary Benefits to Offsite Construction Methods

Source: September 2020 Builders Survey, Home Innovation 

Looking at the earliest responses, we learned that increasing construction Speed was the number one reason builders would adopt or continue using offsite construction methods. Following in the second position was a reduction in construction Cost or improved Profitability. Following in the distance was a more Efficient Building Process, mentioned by 8 percent of respondents.

Surprisingly, only 6 percent of builders responded that lack of skilled Labor would be the key driver; the same number that said improved Quality would be key to continuing with, or switching to, offsite methods. The September survey also addressed how likely builders are to adopt 7 different offsite construction methods in the coming five years.

The findings were compared to a builder study Home Innovation conducted last year to learn whether COVID-19 has had an impact on builder preference for specific methods. Comparing answers from August 2019 to the most recent survey in terms of builder intent to increase usage of offsite methods, there was an increase year-over-year, with intent doubling or nearly doubling in a few categories. Trusses and open wall panels led the pack in builder intent to increase usage in the coming 5 years.

Roof Trusses 15%
Factory-Built Open Wall Panels  9%  16%
Turn-Key Framing  7%  16%
Pre-Cut Framing Package  12%  16%
Panelized, Pre-Assembled Floors  7%  13%
Modular  7%  11%
Factory-Built Closed Wall Panels  9%  10%
Precast Concrete  7%  8%
Manufactured (HUD-Code)  1%  4%


These are just a couple of the topics I covered during my presentation. If you weren’t able to attend, or would just like to see the full presentation again, it’s posted on our website.

If you are seeking to understand how the systems-built industry is changing home construction, or want to find out how your company can take advantage of the many opportunities this shift is creating, I’d love to discuss it with you. Get in touch today.