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August 24, 2006

PATH Develops Profile of Innovative Production Builders

Survey finds answers to questions about selecting, implementing,
and communicating about innovation

Do production builders commit staff to searching out innovation? How do they implement change? How do they communicate technological advantage to perspective homebuyers?

SIPs constructionThe Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (PATH) answers these and other important questions in "Characteristics of Innovative Production Home Builders," the results of a 2005 national survey of production builders.

The answers advance PATH's understanding of building technology innovation among production builders in particular and conceptually for the homebuilding industry at large. The key findings are:

  • Size matters. Larger national production homebuilders are more innovative.
  • Organization matters. Decentralization contributes to innovation at regional and local operational levels, while the influence of adopting innovation spans purchasing, marketing, and construction departments.
  • Purchasing matters. Purchasing departments play a large role in influencing and making decisions on new products and materials.
  • Vision matters. Most production builders believe building technology innovation involves serious risks but also that innovation can contribute to higher quality and performance. Those planning aggressive growth include innovation as part of their strategy to increase market share and profitability.
  • Information sources matter. To keep up-to-date on building and construction products, materials, and practices, production builders rely on local offices within the company, subcontractors, manufacturers, and wholesalers and suppliers.
  • Focus matters. Production builders were most likely to invest in innovations that can reduce construction defects and callbacks, improve subcontractor dependability, or improve the style and attractiveness of the homes, followed by investment in cost reduction and reduced cycle times.
  • Barriers matter. Production builders are more prone than small builders to think building codes impede innovation; new building products increase risks of callbacks; and their workers are resistant to innovation.
  • Opportunities matter. Production builders see many opportunities for reaping benefits once a new technology has been implemented, including increased quality, meeting customers' expectations, increased competitiveness, creating an image as an innovative builder, and reducing callbacks.

PATH surveyed production builders of 200 or more homes a year. Participants included several national and international homebuilding firms, as well as regional and local housing production companies.

For more information:
Brian Sullivan

Content updated on 5/19/2009

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