According to the March 2, 2017 edition of the Lewiston Sun-Journal, there may be a new modular home plant going up in Oxford. The Oxford Planning Board has been presented a preliminary site plan application for a 70,088 sq. ft. building to be constructed on Route 26 across form New Balance Shoes.
Former KBS Building Systems Manager Ray Atkisson of Gemma Enterprises and Capital Holdings LLC hopes to get approvals for then plans so that construction can commence this spring. The expected time frame would be about one year to completion. If plans go through, as many as 80 new jobs would be created for the area.
The State of Maine Manufactured Housing Board (MHB) is in the process of updating its State Certification of Modular Homes. Bob Leclair and his staff at MHB, along with a cross section of industry representatives, are reviewing possible changes in the Modular code pertaining to construction and energy standards in order to keep current with the latest developments. Right now, much of our Modular code refers to the 2009 version of the International Residential Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings. The group updating the code is now studying the 2015 IRC and determining what, if any, changes it may want to make. The goal of the group is to come up with an updated Modular building and energy code while keeping in mind the need for providing quality, affordable housing for Mainers.
The group has held several meeting thus far and several more are planned for the future. The entire process will take several months, and before any changes can formally be implemented, a public hearing on the changes will be held where industry people as well as the public will be free to ask questions and make comments and suggestions. Notices will be published prior to this meeting.
MHAM’S 2016 Annual Meeting was held at the Hilton Garden Inn in Freeport on October 20, 2016. Here are some of the highlights.
Bob Leclair and his staff at the State of Maine Manufactured Housing Board recounted several of the topics they have been dealing with over the past year. They touched on both Modular and HUD Code product; some of the issues regarding pre-emption, responsibilities of retailers, manufacturers and third parties; plans for updating the Modular Code in 2017; and some items involving installation requirements.
Rick Robinson, Senior Vice-President of the Manufactured Housing Institute, our eyes, ears and voice in Washington D.C., spoke at both the morning and afternoon sessions. He remarked about how HUD home production continues to increase; some of the construction and code items on which they are working with HUD; how they are working in the political process regarding Dodd-Frank and related issues; and how HUD is continuing to aggressively enforce the Fair Housing Act as well as other federal rules and regulations.
Joe Adams, President of The Housing Marketplace, Inc. also spoke during both sessions. He is considered one of the nation’s leading experts in manufactured housing, and predicts that shipments will continue to increase, possibly to 85,000 homes in 2017. He stated that we should be targeting Baby Boomers as our future buyers, since those people between the ages of 52 and 70 have the money to purchase our product, and they will be looking for quality products from reliable, knowledgeable, professional dealers. He also stressed how important it is for people wanting to be successful in our industry to develop good listening habits.
In the business portion of the meeting, three MHAM Board of Directors positions were open. Re-elected for a three year term as a Community Operator was Tinamarie Smith of State Manufactured Homes in Scarborough; re-elected for a three year At-Large position was Forrest Bryant of Ralph’s Homes in Waldoboro; and elected for a three year At-Large position was David Schmid of Coastline Homes in Ellsworth.
The consensus of those attending was that this was one of the best meetings we have had in some time. The atmosphere was upbeat as we look forward to a successful 2017.