There are many lessons to be learned regarding modular building. First, it can mean high-end custom, beautiful design. Second, it is the future. These builders and developers are already reaping the many benefits.

The future of U.S. homebuilding depends on more people like Cyndicy Yarborough, a 26-year-old former Wal-Mart clerk with no background in construction.

At Blueprint Robotics in Baltimore, she works in a factory that builds houses like cars, on an assembly line, using robots that fire thousands of nails into studs each day and never miss. Yarborough operates a machine that lifts floors and walls and packs them onto a flatbed truck, the final step before delivery to a development site where they’ll be pieced together.

“I like being a part of something new, on the cutting edge,” said Yarborough, a single mother who took the job at Blueprint last May.

For all the concern over automation removing jobs from the workforce, companies like Blueprint are actually helping to ease a labor shortage that has crimped construction of residences and commercial properties across the country. The plants enable developers to fill the gap by having houses and apartment buildings manufactured off-site, for less money and in a fraction of the time. Even Marriott International Inc., the world’s biggest hotel operator, is increasingly turning to modular construction for some of its properties.

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