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Current PATH Projects

The following PATH projects are in progress. Please check back and read PATH Quarterly to find the results of these activities. Below are completed PATH Projects.

Getting Leaner: Improving Production Efficiencies

PATH has entered into a Cooperative Agreement with the Manufactured Housing Research Alliance (MHRA) 1) to expand lean production analysis to additional manufacturing plants, and 2) to create a model manufacturer's installation manual based on the soon to be created HUD model installation standard. Both tasks advance the goals of PATH as set forth in the manufactured housing roadmap, “Technology Roadmapping for Manufactured Housing.” The project team includes many of the biggest manufactured housing manufacturers, the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), one university, and MHRA. The project is slated for completion mid-2007.

  • Update: HUD Assistant Secretary Darlene Williams affirmed PATH's commitment to lean manufacturing at a conference of leading manufactured home builders in Austin, Texas, on January 29, 2007. Dr. Williams said PATH is committed to supporting the growth and expansion of lean research. Read the Press Release.
  • Update: MHRA held "Lean Advocate Training," a training course for representatives from nine manufacturing plants, on April 3-7, 2006, in Cincinnati, OH. The advocates learned how to streamline plant operations and improve quality. Their job now is to transfer the knowledge to a "lean team" in each facility. MHRA will assess the results of this effort and present the findings to industry. Read the press release.

Exploring the Supply Chain

The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association is conducting cooperative research with PATH to study innovation and the construction supply chain. Project announcement: Exploring the Supply Chain

  • Update: Expected completion 2008

Whole House Calculator

This PATH project is developing a Whole House Calculator, which takes inventory of the processes, products, and materials used to design, engineer, and construct a house. Performance characteristics will be rated according to the value given them by designers, builders, buyers, and other stakeholders involved in residential construction. These scores will then be modified by the way the materials and processes interact with each other to arrive at a whole-house score. The calculator will allow homeowners and housing professionals an opportunity to consider various "what if" scenarios.

  • Update: A draft of the Whole House Calculator is available online for review.
  • Update: Housing researchers gathered in Alexandria, VA, March 13-14, to discuss the Whole House Calculator. These nationally recognized experts met with two aims in mind; first to provide a critique of the current draft of the Calculator and second, to provide performance scoring for the various components that make up a house.

Market Tools for Small Manufacturers

By developing template tools and guides describing markets, regulations, and political processes in homebuilding, PATH can provide a source of readily accessible information for small manufacturers, based largely on large manufacturers' advanced skills. Project announcement: Commercialization Tools for Manufacturers

Unlocking Mysteries of Innovation for Manufacturers

This study will track the internal innovation processes of manufacturers and examine how they develop and market new products. The results can be used to create models and resources for bringing products past the idea stage and through the research and development phases to enjoy widespread implementation. Project announcement: How do Manufacturers Successfully Innovate?

Innovation Matchmaking

PATH is reviewing innovations created outside of traditional homebuilding circles and identifying potential manufacturers to "matchmake." Throughout the matchmaking experiment, PATH will document all of the questions, pitfalls, rejections and failures in technology transfer to prepare both sides of future technology transfers. This will result in guides for the research and industrial community as prototype technical assistance aids, and will ensure a longer and more efficient "life" to the matchmaking. Project announcement: Tech TransferPlus

Testing the Durability of Sealants and Coatings

This PATH/National Institute of Standards and Technology program is testing coatings and sealants with the goal of their durability. The Sealants Consortium, a group of leading manufacturers, is contributing to the development of testing protocols.

The study includes:

  • Development of a weathering durability model for coatings and sealants;
  • Development of an Internet decision-support tool for risk assessment;
  • Affordability guidelines for owner-occupied housing; and
  • Outside testing of sealant samples at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Products Laboratory.

Additional confirmation of the protocols will be provided by well-known, third-party product evaluators.

  • Update: Expected Completion in 2008

What Do Consumers Think about Factory-Built Housing?

This study involves a survey of current and soon-to-be homeowners from different regions and backgrounds to see whether attitudes about factory-built housing are changing and to help determine whether the technology has a chance in today's marketplace. Project announcement: Consumer Perceptions of Factory-Built Housing

  • Update: A draft report is under review. The final report is expected by the end of summer 2007.

Advancing Energy-Efficient Remodeling

In partnership with the remodeling industry, PATH is conducting a multi-year project aimed at developing voluntary guidelines, or protocols, for energy-efficient remodeling. A national group of industry representatives is guiding the effort.

Foundation Alternatives for Modular Housing

PATH is studying the technical options for installing modular housing on slab-on-grade foundation systems and examining the alternatives in terms of technical viability, cost and market acceptance. Project announcement: Slab-on-Grade Modular Housing

  • Update: Expected Completion Fall 2007

Evaluating Homebuilding Software

In this study, PATH will describe how software used by homebuilders is improving the residential homebuilding process and describe results obtained by builders. PATH will identify builders who have experience with automated production systems and work with those builders to document the value and efficacy of the systems in use. The study will describe what builders are using and how the automated tools are performing in real-world applications.

  • Update: A roundtable was held in San Francisco, CA, June 21, 2006, to identify tools that will help builders navigate the process of IT system selection and implementation. The discussion centered around three key components: business process review and integration, IT system integration, and training. Interested groups can look forward to a builders' guide to IT adoption that will be delivered at the conclusion of the study. Read the press release.

How Do Panels Accommodate Utilities?

PATH is evaluating different types of panel systems and documenting how they integrate wiring and other utilities. The study will suggest ways that integration of wiring and utilities can be best accommodated within different kinds of panelized wall, floor, and roof systems, including open-wall wood frame panels, structural insulated panels, honeycomb composite panels, and concrete panels.

  • Update: Expected completion Summer 2008.

Planning for Long-Term Disaster Housing

Long-term emergency housing is intended to shelter residents for periods ranging from three months to several years. In this study, PATH is examining strategies for the provision of long-term temporary or permanent housing for large numbers of individuals and families. It will consider

  • Existing strategies, regulations, and plans.
  • Designs and technologies for rapid construction.
  • Approaches to the development of land-use plans (and potentially the land) prior to the need for long-term emergency housing.
  • Integration of the technologies and strategies into federal planning activities.

Affordable Housing Streamlining

Under this grant proposal, the Affordable Housing Task Force will form three project work groups to initiate an implementation program to

  • Develop measurement criteria from several test sites so that homebuilders and building departments can compile reliable data on savings achieved in the regulatory cost of building affordable housing through the use of information technology.
  • Form a work team to develop a work plan and implementation grant criteria for a national outreach program to promote regulatory streamlining and greater use of information technology in the building regulatory process.
  • Conduct a feasibility study on mandating in IT procurements issued by state and local governments that hardware and software being acquired for use in building regulatory systems be interoperable.

Cooperative Effort to Develop Remodeler Certification

EPA, DOE, and HUD are funding an effort to expand procedures for certifying and accrediting remodelers in the energy retrofit market. Project announcement: Remodeler Certification

Streamlining Building Regulatory Processes through Information Technology

The National Conference of States on Building Codes and Standards is developing and field-testing a guide entitled "How to Streamline Your Building Regulatory Processes through the Effective and Efficient Use of Information Technology."

  • Update: The project is finished and the final report is being reviewed.

Flood Rehab Guide

HUD has almost completed work on a new publication directed to builders and remodelers working in flood-prone areas. The "Flood Rehab Guide" will contain important information for professionals rehabbing single-family houses that have been subjected to flooding. The illustrated publication will be available by mid-2007. Read the press release.

Integrating PATH Technologies into Military Family Housing

The objective of this project is to develop a strategy for PATH to integrate innovative technologies into military family housing. Read updates of five sites.

Innovation in the Evaluation Service Processes

The goal of this effort is to describe strategies that will increase the acceptance, utility, and value of evaluation service reports with regard to the acceptance of new technologies.

Recently Completed PATH Projects

The Concept Home was completed in June 2007.From Concept to Reality: Building the Home of the Future

June 6, 2007 marked the ribbon cutting for the Concept Home, PATH's vision of the future of housing. Developed in collaboration with some of the most innovative members of the housing industry, the Concept Home embodies six principles of innovation that speed construction, cut costs, reduce waste, ensure efficiency and durability, and provide unparalleled flexibility in design.

Prescriptive Methods for Structural Insulated Panels May 2007

Working with Structural Insulated Panel Association (SIPA), APA --The Engineered Wood Association, and SIP industry partners, PATH developed a prescriptive approach to the installation of SIPs, which was adopted by the International Code Council in May 2007. The approach explains what SIPs are and exactly how they're used, which helps builders get installation exactly right. Builders also will no longer be required to conduct additional engineering to show equivalency to the IRC. This is the third of three prescriptive methods developed by PATH: the first two address light-gauge steel framing and ICFs.

Read the Press Release from SIPA.

Read the IRC Supplement.

Straight Talk: Case Studies from Builders and Remodelers
Learn from builders and remodelers, who tell their stories about using PATH-profiled technologies in PATH's case study series. Look for the yellow construction hat, which will guide you to 31 in-depth profiles with strategies for reducing costs, avoiding delays, and boosting market advantage.

Design Implications for Technology in Housing September 2006
In this report, PATH examines the role that architectural design can play in advancing housing affordability through technology innovation or creative design. The project included:

  • a review of the role that building design has played in advancing technology innovation in the home building industry;
  • an investigation of the role that building design plays in residential building innovation, distinguishing among custom-built homes, production homes, and affordable housing;
  • case studies that illustrate the potential for a larger role for the design community in advancing innovation;
  • an assessment of how architects can become more involved in PATH; and
  • two "Housing Design and Technology" webcasts and one roundtable hosted by the Housing Committee of the American Institute of Architects addressing the relationship between good design and technology innovation in the residential sector.

Housing Research: What's Needed?

Housing symposium participants consider manufacturers' needs for innovation research. PATH and McGraw-Hill Construction are exploring how the user-community thinks about technology, and how to achieve greater success influencing innovation in the nation's homes.

  • Update: In November 2006, PATH released the final report "Residential Market Research for Innovation" which details five areas where market research is most needed to help homebuilders meet the challenge of adopting innovative housing technologies.
  • Update: In June 2006, PATH and McGraw Hill Construction released "Innovative Products & Practices in Residential New Construction," the results of a survey of 617 homebuilders. The survey examined homebuilder attitudes toward innovation, its benefits and challenges, and the most valued information sources. In February 2006, PATH and McGraw Hill Construction also conducted a symposium on housing innovation that helped set the research agenda for housing innovation.

Panelized Wall Systems: Making the Connections August 2006
Want to try panelized wall systems on your next construction project, but unsure about connection standards? That's because until now, there haven't been any standards except what the manufacturers provided. Check out this new report to see what the codes inspectors will be looking for.

Characteristics of Innovative Production Home Builders August 2006
PATH's recently completed research into the behaviors of production homebuilders posits answers to questions about how this group selects, implements, and communicates about innovation.

Energy Efficient Remodeling Protocols The following reports document the progress of this multi-year effort:

Moisture-Resistant Homes - A Best Practice Guide and Plan Review Tool for Builders and Developers.

Moisture-Resistant Homes March 2006
This guide advances the goal of designing, building, and maintaining houses that manage moisture effectively. By making moisture-resistant best practices available in an easy-to-use form, a variety of the most common moisture-related problems in homes can be avoided.

Proceedings of a Workshop to Review PATH Strategy, Operating Plan, and Performance Measures 2006
The National Research Council convened a workshop to discuss the draft PATH Program Review and Strategy, Performance Metrics, and Operating Plan. These workshop proceedings provide an edited, but inclusive, transcript of that discussion. The draft performance metrics and operating plan is included in the appendix.

Factory Built Housing Roadmap (Including Recomendations for Energy Research) Factory Built Housing Roadmap (Including Recommendations for Energy Research) January 2006
This document is the second on the topic of manufactured housing. This version expands on the original Roadmap by suggesting a broad array of research initiatives including a comprehensive discussion of energy and its role in the future of factory built housing.

Residential Roofing Research Agenda
This PATH report offers a research agenda for developing residential roof systems that serve multiple functions and provide improved performance. The report covers residential single-family buildings; roofs of all ranges of pitch; and roof systems, including components and subsystems. PATH strategies aim to improve hazard mitigation, energy performance, roof functionality, environmental impact, safety, and efficiency in roof system construction.

Residential Panels Benchmark Requirements
This PATH report identifies the panelized wall systems currently available in the U.S. and international markets. The report describes their technical specifications, how they perform, and in which applications they are used most often. Standard performance criteria that all panelized wall systems need to meet to integrate with existing methods of construction are also described.

Industrializing the Residential Construction Site Phase IV
How can we automate home construction to improve construction workflows and coordinate construction sites? This is the subject of HUD's fourth report in a series of five on methods for industrializing the residential construction site. This report features the results of computerized simulation models of panelized framing. The report also describes the panel erection process in a clear, step-by-step manner, and provides estimates of required labor time.

International Conference on Factory Built Housing: Innovation in Home Manufacturing
The objective of the work which this report describes was to evaluate the opportunity and need for, and potential benefits of, an international conference on factory built housing. An additional objective was to begin to characterize the content and structure of such a conference.

Getting Lean: Assessing the Benefits of Lean Production in Factory Built Housing

Manufactured Housing -- Saving Money by Saving Energy

How Builders Choose (or Don't) to Use Panels Read the report "Integrating Panels into the Production Homebuilding Process."

CAD Details for Technology Inventory

PATH Tech Sets 1-9

Information Technology to Accelerate and Streamline Home Building (PDF, 355 KB)

Content updated on 7/20/2009

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