Advertising and PR September/October 2003

Simplex Featured This Season On Bob Vila’s ‘Home Again’
Film crews provided the lights and cameras. Simplex Industries (Scranton, PA) provided the action in August, as camera crews descended on the company’s facilities to film the construction of a custom 3,300 sq.ft. home. Cameras captured images of the very latest modern tools and equipment wielded by talented craftsmen in an indoor environment.

The producers behind “Bob Vila’s Home Againâ€?—a nationally syndicated home improvement show entering its 13th season—came to Simplex to illustrate to TV viewers the growing sophistication behind today’s modular technology.

“This is a great opportunity, not just for Simplex, but for the entire industry,â€? says Dave Boniello, vice president of marketing for Simplex, which ships more than 400 homes annually to builders in 17 states from Maine to Georgia. “We’ve been slated for several shows that will be broadcast in the upcoming season. This project in particular will help give viewers a different perspective of modular homes and how they are far more than just rectangular boxes.â€?

Film crews shot enough footage for more than six full-length shows. However, this footage will likely be shown throughout the season as a series of smaller segments. The shows that include modular technology will begin airing in December, Boniello says. Check your local listings for dates and times.

Production of the home, which was designed by Michael Buchanan as an updated version of a 19th century bungalow house—started in August and film crews were on hand to film different segments of construction, from framing to upscale interior finishing. Film crews will also be on hand to record the set of the house on its home site in New Marlboro, Mass this September, as well as filming interior finishes needed to obtain certification of occupancy.

The seven modules that go into the house will arrive in five truckloads. Through the use of some innovative trusses and roof caps, the interior of the house will feature nine and ten foot ceilings, vaulted ceilings in other rooms, and exterior roof pitches that will range from 12×12 to 6×12 and a board and batten exterior finish.

“I think that viewers will be very surprised and pleased about what we can achieve within the context of today’s modular construction,â€? says Boniello.

Look for a more in-depth feature on this home in our Jan./Feb. 2004 issue.

HandCrafted Opens New Model Home
Struggling to survive, embattled HUD code producers are jumping into the modular industry with increasing regularity. How do you compete against producers under cutting your product on price? By creating upscale homes they can’t touch.

That’s what HandCrafted Homes, a subsidiary of HHHunt Company, has done with its new model home at their Henderson, North Carolina facility. The model home, named the Chadwick, is the first of HandCrafted Home’s Executive Estate models.

Nestled among the pines in the Bearpond region of North Carolina, this home offers more than 3,300 square feet of living space and upscale amenities. The two-story plan offers a butler’s pantry, a 19-foot “open to aboveâ€? foyer, a sunken family room, 3 baths, and 3 bedrooms including a magical master suite.

“This home showcases the level of detail and the custom options that are available when you build a HandCrafted home,â€? says Todd Griffith, HandCrafted Homes sales manager. “From the moment you walk through the front door, the home inspires a feeling of elegance.â€?

During the first week of operation, HandCrafted Homes invited more than 100 builders from throughout the Southeast to tour the home. Builders were enthused about the level of customization and the meticulous craftsmanship. “This house continues to emphasize HandCrafted Homes commitment to providing a product that is superior in quality and design,â€? says one builder from South Carolina.

Model home tours can be scheduled by contacting HandCrafted Homes at (252) 436-0001 or by simply stopping by HandCrafted Homes corporate offices in Henderson. Factory tours are also available.

Marketing & Model Home Design Awards
You have until Sept. 12th to participate in the 2004 Excellence in Marketing and Model Home Design Contest, which is co-sponsored in part by Building Systems Magazine and the Building Systems Councils of the National Association of Home Builders. What’s new this year is that expaned category list encourages participation by associate council members and any NAHB builder member using any form of systems construction.

Winners will be announced in Nov. 2-5 at Showcase 2003 in Hot Springs, VA, the annual convention and educational program for the systems built industry. Winners will also be featured in upcoming issues of Building Systems Magazine. Last year’s winning homes are not eligible for this year’s contest. To receive your entry form and list of submission materials, call 800-368-5242, ext. 357.

Hartford Courant Features Modular Homes
If you’re looking for an affordable way to create a vacation getaway, then consider using modular technology to make it happen. That’s the conclusion of longtime columnist Joseph F. Nunes in a June 9th article in The Hartford (Connecticut) Courant.

“My wife and I are proud owners of a half-finished lake-view cottage in the Massachusetts Berkshires that, when done, will provide more than 2,000 square feet of living space at a cost of about $130,000,â€? Nunes writes. “Our secret was finding a site we loved and could afford, and then going modular.â€?

The Hartford Courant reaches 217,518 subscribers on a weekday and more than 240,000 on the weekends—a circulation that is more than seven times the amount of readers reached by the New York Times. Moreover, The Hartford Courant boasts that its subscribers are the number one in the state in per capita income.

Nunes article will help dispel the still persistent myth among many consumers that modular homes are nothing more than double-wides that will go for a sleigh ride at the first sign of a funnel cloud.

“We’re not talking mobile homes, which is a common misconception. Modular homes are virtually the same as conventional “stick-builtâ€? homes, except they are constructed indoors in sections. The finished modules – complete with wiring, plumbing, cabinets, windows, finished walls, etc. – are trucked to your site, lifted by crane onto the foundation, bolted together and assembled by a crew – all in a day or two,â€? Nunes writes.

Nunes commends the quality of the workmanship in modular homes and notes that the industry has grabbed a greater share of all new housing nationwide. He also commends the industry for its customization capabilities.

“The major attraction is the flexibility. There are hundreds of designs to choose from, or you can customize one. Countless options – such as types of flooring, windows, cabinetry, siding, etc. – are up to you and what you can afford.â€?

Like many buyers of modular homes, Nunes was intrigued by new technology and the ability to perform some of the finish work himself. “You can have the modular-home vendor handle everything, including the excavation, foundation and septic system, or you can be your own general contractor and oversee the site work yourself. It all depends on how much you want to spend and how much work you can do yourself. We opted for a passive-solar Cape Cod home atop a walkout basement for our site…. We modified the original floor plan, knocking down walls to create an open living/dining room that flowed from an open kitchen, maximizing the southe
rn exposure.

“Altogether, we paid about $67,000 for the modular home itself, which included construction and transportation of the two modules and roof sections from Pennsylvania, the crane rental and a crew to assemble the home,â€? Nunes writes. “We would not have been able to afford our vacation home without the savings we realized from overseeing such work as excavation, chimney construction, and installation of the heating and septic systems.â€?

MBSA Hires Assistant Director
The Modular Building Systems Association has named Chad Harvey as assistant director. Harvey, a Pennsylvania native, is a graduate of Millersville University of Pennsylvania and the Dickinson School of Law of the Pennsylvania State University. Previously Harvey was with Quality Builders Warranty Corporation where he served as legal council, handling all warranty issues involving builders, homeowners and government agencies.

“I’m very excited to be working with the MBSA membership and staff to grow the awareness and effect of the MBSA. Modular housing is a vital part of the building industry that is often under appreciated and I’m very pleased to be a part of an organization that is so attuned to the needs and interests of its members,â€? Harvey says.

Harvey lives in Harrisburg with his wife Jessica and can often be found on the local hiking trails, waterways or ski slopes when he’s not working with the local Boy Scout council.

The MBSA has continued to grow, in terms of the number of modular manufacturers that are members, and the areas of the United States where the MBSA is involved. “The MBSA is the only association in the country with, now two full-time lobbyists, dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of modular manufacturers in legislative and regulatory affairs,â€? says Steve Snyder, executive director of the MBSA. “Recently, the MBSA added a Southern Council made up of manufacturers located in the southern states. The plan is to form councils in the mid-west and other regions of the country to focus on issues affecting manufacturers in those areas. With this additional membership, the addition of Chad will insure that we are able to handle the increased area and number of issues we are involved in.â€?

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