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Overcoming the Middleman Syndrome

Module's mission is to create a 21st-century residential development system that delivers better-designed, quality-built, energy-efficient, attainable housing, all through the power of offsite construction.

It’s in our nature (and best interest) to provide educational resources and opportunities that demystify modular construction. Get a behind-the-scenes look into a few of the challenges we’ve been experiencing and how we’ve partnered with and empowered others to help raise the tide for our industry.


The Middleman Syndrome

Over time, we’ve developed a catalog of Module Standard Models that meet the demands of our clients - mostly urban developers. The catalog includes townhomes, small homes, single-story units, ADUs, and small multifamily buildings. Each model is designed to the Module Standard Spec - a rigorous set of requirements that ensure our contemporary aesthetic and meet our expectations for quality and cost.

All of our models are all-electric and are designed to the Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) Standard.

This type of product is not typically offered by the contract manufacturers that we partner with, which means a high level of coordination on our part. In addition, contract manufacturing equates to added project costs, less control over project timelines, and a perception that Module is simply a “middleman.”

Although we have a great reputation with developer clients with whom we’ve worked, being viewed as a middleman has a negative impact on winning select new customers and projects.

Supply Chain Control & Module Standards

  • Module has invested time and effort into developing a standard spec that meets quality, efficiency, cost, and “green” requirements.

  • We’ve fostered relationships with innovative product and material providers.

  • However, each has their own supply chain with preferred products, materials and vendors.

To keep our aesthetic and costs consistent across models and manufacturers, we have to adapt our standard spec with each factory partner, requiring a significant time commitment.

Quality Control

We’ve developed a detailed process that includes a diligent, multi-staged drawing and spec review, third-party energy modeling, third-party MEP engineering, and a thorough QA/QC check while each box passes through the manufacturer’s production line.

Even with all these layers in place, it can be challenging to ensure a product because we are not manufacturing it ourselves.


Embracing Change & Opportunity

Module’s Last Mile Network not only allows us to overcome these challenges, it also includes improvements to margins, timelines, workforce training, and innovation.

Last Mile Lab Future Model

We recognize the significant disconnect between where our modular components are produced and where they are installed. We want to bring jobs to urban communities and allow entrepreneurs and developers to build wealth.

And we’re working on doing just that. The Last Mile Network is made up of locally owned manufacturing facilities that can produce hundreds of energy-efficient, affordable housing units. Homes built in these facilities are 40% faster to construct, up to 80% more energy efficient, and have up to a 20% lower lifecycle cost than traditionally built housing. The network includes a production hub, spoke facilities, design partners, construction partners, and a Last Mile Lab.

Learn more about the Last Mile Network and dig into other lessons learned through this case study featuring The Berkley ADU “Test Box,” the first project to pass through our Last Mile Innovation Lab, located in Module’s hometown of Pittsburgh, PA.

3D Diagram of Spoke Facility
3D Diagram of Spoke Facility

Interested in advancing the industry with us? Let's connect.


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