Building Magazine: Change Is Necessary To Propel Housing Forward

"...Go to manufacturing environments today, and women on the shop floor and in production management are not rare.

I was on a panel recently at ULI with Margaret Whelan of Whelan Advisory. She noted that Buddy Raney of RCI Construction in Orlando, Fla., employs more women than she’s ever seen on a factory floor, as they deliver their Vertically Integrated Total Solution (VITS) to the national builders in their markets. Raney estimates that VITS reduces the typical framing cycle by 10 days; allowing for their builder customers to close 10% more homes as a result.

If more of housing production is able to move to factory environments, that data seems to indicate that there is about a seven-times-higher probability of attracting female labor into the industry than currently exists. That could swell the number of people available to build homes and, most likely, the total number of homes produced.

How many homes per year might that mean? What would it mean in terms of new thinking, new management, and new blood into a stale industry?

By changing the methods that we use to create housing and the gender composition of those doing the creation, might we get better results than we do currently?"

Margaret Whelan