A national effort to improve the design and construction industry as a whole started in 1994 involving a variety of Federal and private participants. This effort is known as the National Construction Goals. As a particular sector of the broader building industry, however housing required unique initiatives. In 1998, these collectively became known as the Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (PATH). From its inception and through its continued authorization by Congress, PATH improves the development, dissemination, and use of new housing technologies.
Despite the importance of the housing industry to the American economy, there is very little investment-both industrial and governmentalin residential technologies. This is especially true of the singlefamily homes that make up most of America's housing stock. The housing industry is fragmented, consisting of homebuilders, material manufacturers, researchers, and government officials. These stakeholders do not always communicate in ways that could accelerate the often time-consuming and costly process of adopting new housing technologies. True innovation and the introduction of emerging technologies rarely get past the prototype stage. The uncertainty of homebuilders and homeowners about the value of new technology investments also slows market penetration. It can take 10 to 25 years for a new housing product or technique to achieve full market penetration. PATH look at the issues and institutional problems related to technology development in the housing industry, and strives for viable cost-effective solutions.
PATH has adopted far-reaching goals that deal with the quality, durability, environmental impact, energy efficiency, affordability, and disaster risk of America's homes. The goals stem from a discussion between the construction industry and the U.S. Government to develop National Construction Goals. Objectives were established for the home construction industry in the publication Building Better Homes at Lower Costs: The Industry Implementation Plan for the Residential National Construction Goals. Of all the initiatives set forth in the National Goals, only the housing initiative has developed into an individual program.
PATH partners meet three primary objectives:
- Develop new housing technologies (research and development).
- Disseminate information about new and existing housing technologies (information and outreach).
- Study and establish mechanisms for sustained housing technology development and market acceptance (planning and barriers analysis).
PATH partners include the major research and housing agencies in the Federal Government; leaders in the manufacture of homebuilding products; innovators in the homebuilding and contracting industry; researchers from diverse backgrounds; and officials from insurance, financial, and regulatory groups.
Two groups provide overall guidance to PATH: the Federal Agency Working Group, which includes Federal offices that conduct operations related to housing technology; and the Industry Steering Committee, is comprised of experts in building and manufacturing. The PATH organization includes several of these partners. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development administers the overall operations, and has asked the NAHB through its Research Center to coordinate the effort of the private-sector partners. Most of the planning work is done in Washington, D.C., but PATH's partners and activities are located throughout the country. Issue groups address specific issues relevant to housing technology development.
A PATH overview presentation describes all of PATH's work and activities, and PATH encourages its review and dissemination among interested colleagues. Contact PATH for presentation-format versions of the overview, especially if you plan to incorporate the overview into your own presentation.
Content updated on 1/22/2002
||Partnership for Advancing
Technology in Housing (PATH)
451 7th Street, SW, Rm. 8134
Washington, DC 20410-0001
Telephone: 202 708-4370 Fax: 202 708-5873