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  Technology Roadmapping for Manufactured Housing
You may download the report here (2.83 MB)

The Road Less Traveled

The manufactured housing industry is currently engaged in a struggle of monumental proportions. This struggle is reshaping the industry and has underscored the need for strong leadership and a well-defined strategic direction.

Now, more than ever, industry organizations such as the Manufactured Housing Research Alliance (MHRA) need to anticipate where the industry is heading and chart a course of research molded to this vision.

In cooperation with the Department of Urban Development's (HUD's) Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (PATH), MHRA has created a technology roadmap for this purpose.

Much more than simply shaping research and development (R&D) conducted through PATH, the roadmap will shape the future of all cooperative and industry-based research and provide a set of common goals that can be broadly embraced by the entire industry. In fact, the Technology Roadmap will serve as the document to which all industry R&D can be benchmarked.

"Roadmapping creates a vision of where the industry ought to be headed and outlines the research resources needed to get there," said Ed Bryant, the MHRA chairman of the Roadmap Committee.

Dave Engel, HUD's director of affordable housing research and technology, says that the roadmapping effort mirrors such efforts already undertaken by the larger housing industry.

"We felt that manufactured housing was so unique that it needed its own roadmap," said Engel.

The roadmap is based on the PATH goals of affordable, energy-efficient, durable, and high-quality housing; however, Engel stresses that the roadmap goes beyond PATH to a larger partnership between industry and government.

"The roadmap is intended to encourage the Alliance [MHRA] to ask some of the big questions and determine how technology can help answer them."

In early November 2002, a broad cross-section of industry, academia and the government met to review and expand the Technology Roadmap and determine the direction of R&D for the next five to 10 years. The group had the critical task of identifying research initiatives that would further the vision of more fully integrating manufactured homes into the fabric of the larger housing industry and moving well beyond its current position as the nation's dominant provider of affordable housing.

"Factory built housing is ideally positioned to serve as the engine of housing innovation through the meaningful research outlined in the roadmap," said Bryant.

The Technology Roadmap outlines five topic areas on which MHRA and its partners will focus to capitalize on current challenges and opportunities. The document includes a definition of challenges faced by the industry that represent a distillation of the key societal, economic and demographic forces that will impact the future of housing. Each chapter culminates with an R&D plan aimed at harnessing the power of technology to dramatically move the manufactured housing industry forward.

The Technology Roadmap document will serve as the strategic plan for selecting research over the coming years. Companion documents that more precisely detail the research to be conducted in each of the five major topic areas will be developed next year.


The roadmap includes five focus areas for future research:

The Home
Research will center on developing advanced technologies that radically improve the performance of the manufactured single-family home and lead to the creation of healthier, stronger and more environmentally-friendly homes, while maintaining the classic affordability for which manufactured homes are known.

The Factory
Research will center on developing processes and technologies to improve production efficiency, to better utilize advanced materials and methods and to master the building and design processes in the factory.

The Site
Research will initially focus on site development transportation systems and manufactured home installation in the field.

The Market
As the industry moves toward a real estate conforming product, technological advances in homes to support this trend will become vital. Additionally, changes in the regulatory and financing environments will spur innovation. Developing new designs and technological advances that appeal to a broader customer base, is critical.

The Customer
The group that will determine the ultimate success or failure of the industry is its customers. As such, research addressing consumer preferences is part of a complete R&D program. Such initiatives as reducing housing operation and maintenance costs and developing new technologies for existing homes are important.

Technology Roadmapping for Manufactured Housing 2
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Manufactured Housing Energy Performance Roadmap
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