In summary

Costs of affordable housing projects are truly staggering, but using modular components can save time and money.

By Jenny Skoble, Half Moon Bay

Re “Modular housing could be an answer”; Commentary, Dan Walters, March 28. 2021

I couldn’t agree more with Dan Walters that we should support the use of California-made modular housing units. 

As a member of San Mateo County’s Housing and Community Development Committee, I have been looking at the budgets of affordable housing projects in this area for years, and these costs are truly staggering. 

Commonly, each unit of a no-frills affordable housing unit will cost $600,000-$700,000. The reasons for this are many, not just the cost of building materials. California’s staggeringly complex regulatory environment and NIMBY-ism share a lot of blame. But using modular components can cut down on the time it takes to actually get the project done, which in turn saves money. 

Further, as more and more projects are built using modular units, the cost of the modular units can come down as more factories open and more research is done into innovative materials and techniques. 

Note, it’s important to have the factories in California, as transportation costs of shipping units from states with lower labor costs can eliminate savings. The construction industry is stuck in the past and needs to change, just as other industries have.

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