Prefab News: "Mobile Home" Gets New Meaning As Entire House Stolen

I always wondered why manufactured homes were called "mobile homes" when they are usually plopped on a foundation and become completely immobile. But they are certainly mobile in Dundalk, Ontario; according to the Daily Mail:

An Ontario-area man faces criminal charges for allegedly stealing an entire house.Canadian police have charged Jeffrey LaForest, 43, with stealing a mobile home from the community of Dundalk, and falsely claiming it was his.

Investigators said the victim reported his 45-foot double wide missing from his Highway 10 property on June 8.They later found it parked on a property nearby.

Mr. Laforest has been charges with with theft over $5,000, although looking at the picture in the Daily Mail, that may be difficult to prove.


Image credit The Modules

Meanwhile, the New York Times covers prefab and the expansion of the industry into multi-unit projects. They repeat the clichés:

Often the word prefab conjures images of inexpensive and poorly built structures like trailer homes. But proponents of prefab, many of whom shudder at the moniker, say that modular design done well is anything but cheaply built. A modularly constructed building uses the same materials as a traditional one. But because it is made in a factory, workers are not battling the elements and can construct it more soundly and with less waste, proponents say.

They also note one of the major benefits of prefab: lower labour costs.

A developer can expect to shave up to 20 percent off construction costs with modular building largely because labor costs are lower. A unionized New York City carpenter makes about $85 an hour, including benefits, when he works at a construction site. At Capsys in Brooklyn, the only modular factory in the city, a comparable worker makes less than $30 an hour plus benefits. Many modular factories are not unionized and pay even less.

"It's a disaster for construction workers," said Gary Chaison, a professor of industrial relations at Clark University in western Massachusetts.

There is an old story of a building inspector in Ontario who would demand that drywall be removed, holes be cut in walls, wiring exposed, so much ripping apart that the house had to be almost rebuilt on site. Turns out, his brother was a contractor and he was determined that prefab was not going to put the local builders and trades out of business. I wonder how long it will be before the powerful New York construction unions take a sledgehammer to the new urban prefab projects. More in the New York Times
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Tags: Ontario

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