Modular Building Institute

Discussion Forum

More common sense, less conventional wisdom

Original Comment:
Conventional wisdom is the concept that an idea is generally accepted as true by the public at large. Often based in facts and the best information available, “conventional wisdom” provides a level of comfort and assurance to the public. But there’s a few problems with conventional wisdom, mainly that it’s not always true! If you don’t believe me, just look at the medical profession.

Suppose you had a nagging cough in the 1800s, your doctor might give you a small dose of heroin to suppress it. Yes, it was conventional wisdom to give people heroin for certain ailments. For other illnesses, maybe mercury would be prescribed. And of course, bloodletting (is it just what it sounds like) was quite common to fix all sorts of ailments.

But that was all the way back in the 1800s. Well, how about this? Up until the 1940s, it was conventional wisdom that a lobotomy would cure just about any mental “condition” including depression and “moodiness.” Yikes!

Perhaps you’ve heard the quote “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” That quote, widely attributed to Charles H. Duell, Commissioner of US patent office in 1899, is a testament to the fact that conventional wisdom isn’t always accurate and things do change. Another fallacy about that quote, despite conventional wisdom, is that Charles Duell didn’t say it!

As information becomes available, commons sense begins to erode away at long held conventional wisdoms. Improvements are made in every field as pioneers challenge long held truths. And society as a whole benefits greatly.

Today’s conventional wisdom in the construction industry is that if 90% of the projects are being built on site, it stands to reason that must be the best way to build. Common sense tells us that the modular construction process cuts the overall construction schedule, generates less waste, is more predictable, has a higher degree of quality control, and provides a safer work environment.

Common sense tells us that we have a shortage of construction labor as well as a shortage of affordable housing. Common sense tells us that we cannot meet our own housing needs using conventional methods of construction.

So, the next time some snake oil salesman tells you that modular construction is “unconventional,” tell them “Hell yes, it is, but it makes common sense!” By the way, snake oil was once used as a treatment for sore joints and muscles.
Started on February 13, 2018 by Tom Hardiman
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Additional Comments:
Well said Tom!
Updated on February 14, 2018 by Stephen Shang

For over 30 years this of us that have survived this industry have preached the "Gospel of Modular". Let's face it most of it is all about time. But then time is money and time is potential liability and it takes time to find skilled labor and reliable sub-contractors. And then the more time you take to complete a project the more likely that bad stuff will happen.
So I truly believe that our time has come. But now we have a new problem....Who is going to build it. My unsophisticated guess is that since 2008 we have lost about 50% of our manufacturing capacity and I don't see many new plants coming on line. Now that the time is here...Who is going to step up???
Updated on February 13, 2018 by Rick Bartolotti

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