JOSE MOURINHO would be happy to sacrifice Spurs’ winter break if that means making it through to the fifth round.The Tottenham boss has a tricky FA Cup trip to Southampton today.1 Boss Jose Mourinho is happy to sacrifice Tottenham’s winter break if they can progress in the FA CupCredit: PA:Press AssociationAnd if they draw this fourth-round tie, a replay is provisionally booked for Wednesday week.That would cut short the North Londoners’ winter break but Mourinho said: “It is what it is.“I’m not happy the break comes at the wrong moment — because the break should be before the Champions League.“In the end, before the Champions League we don’t have a break.“We have to play Aston Villa on the Sunday, before playing Red Bull Leipzig two days later.“But we really don’t care about the break.ALIVE IN THE COMPETITIONIf we have to play Southampton in a second match, it means we are still alive in the competition and it is better than losing.“If we can choose a result, we are going to, of course, try to win the Cup match. If we get a draw though, we are still alive. To play at home in the replay is better than to lose.”Tottenham return to the Saints after losing 1-0 at St Mary’s in the Premier League on New Year’s Day.Mourinho said: “What do I expect from them? I expect a team that is 24 hours fresher than another, because they have 24 hours advantage in relation to that.“Also a team with big self-esteem and confidence. Again, a very difficult team to play against.“We learned there that it is hard and it is going to be hard again.”Spurs will be without striker Harry Kane — who has not played since rupturing a tendon in his hamstring.He did it when scoring what he thought was an equaliser at St Mary’s — which was ruled out by VAR.Mourinho said: “Southampton were lucky. The Kane goal, decisions, the injury to Harry, an injury to Tanguy Ndombele at the beginning of the game.“We had to fight against so many things that we cannot control.“The only thing we can control is the spirit the players showed in our win against Norwich on Wednesday and the desire to do things well.“It is just a game — I don’t think about the competition.“If it was Southampton away in the league, it would be exactly the same.MAKE YOUR DEBUT Bet £5 get £20 in free bets for new customers at Ladbrokes“In the league we could get top four, top six, we can be out of the top six.“In the FA Cup, let’s just see.Latest Tottenham newsHARRY ALL FOUR ITKane admits Spurs must win EIGHT games to rise into Champions League spotGossipALL GONE PETE TONGVertonghen wanted by host of Italian clubs as long Spurs spell nears endBELOW PARRSpurs suffer blow with Parrott to miss Prem restart after appendix operationPicturedSHIRT STORMNew Spurs 2020/21 home top leaked but angry fans slam silver design as ‘awful”STEP BY STEP’Jose fears for players’ welfare during restart as stars begin ‘pre-season’“At this moment there are 32 teams, so let’s try to be in the last 16.“Again, full respect to what Southampton are doing — we know it will be difficult.”Alan Brazil is angry at suggestions that Jose Mourinho deploys ‘old school’ tactics at Tottenham
Olo racked up14 points (three tries and one conversion) to give the home side their second win for this season after three rounds.Leading 20-0 going into the second half, the Gurias kept up the intensity, starving the Muruks of possession. The Muruks were their own worst enemy with poor ball control and defence ruling their game.Olo made light work of the weary Muruks as he danced around several defenders to cross over for his third try of the game in the 60th minute.The score went up to 30-0 five minutes later when Jason Missian sliced through the Muruks’ defence to score under the posts. Taking over the kicking duties, Olo had no trouble converting the try.The Muruks managed to find the try line after 78 minutes when Boas Minape caught the defence napping and rushed over to score on the wing. Minape’s attempt to convert his own try was unsuccessful right on the full time siren.This is the second loss this season for the Southern Highlands side.
Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LATEST STORIES Conor McGregor seeks to emerge from controversy in UFC comeback Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Judy Ann’s 1st project for 2020 is giving her a ‘stomachache’ Go for Gold ends D-League stint on a high, dismantles AMA Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Scarlett Johansson, Sterling K. Brown among SAG Awards presenters “I wanted to do what is needed by the team, coach [Jimmy Alapag] put us in a position where my energy will help us a lot,” said Domingo. “I tried to come in the game with high energy, play defense, and my offense will just fall into place.”One thing that may have made a difference was Domingo’s change of sneaker in the middle of the first half, switching from “Graffiti” LeBron XVs to a black-white pair of the LeBron Soldier 11s for the rest of the game.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crown“This was actually my first time wearing those shoes,” said Domingo of the LeBron XVs. “They were really comfortable on my foot for that it started to go to sleep. I had to switch my shoes real quick.”This was Alab’s first win in the playoffs since being swept by Singapore last season in the quarterfinals. In Liverpool, Man United sees the pain and path to recovery Lawrence Domingo. Photo from ASEAN Basketball LeagueLawrence Domingo was the epitome of energy in Alab Pilipinas’ 110-100 victory over Saigon Heat in the quarterfinals of the ASEAN Basketball League Sunday at Filoil Flying V Centre.Domingo hustled his way to a season-high 18 points while grabbing six rebounds to help Alab move closer to a semifinals berth.ADVERTISEMENT Recto seeks to establish Taal rehab body to aid community, eruption victims Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next And Domingo, who was part of that team that lost to the Slingers, said they couldn’t rest that long on their early laurels, as they still have to finish off the Heat to reach the semifinals against Hong Kong.“A win is a win but we’re not leaving the game that too happy,” said Domingo whose next game will be in Vietnam on April 7. “There are a lot of things we have to work on.”Alab allowed the undermanned Heat, who only fielded six players and played without a head coach for majority of the game, score 100 points and even let them chip away at its 22-point lead, 97-75, in the fourth.“Being this is the franchise’s first playoff win, that’s great but we want to be there in the end,” said Domingo. “That’s our focus and we’ll try to move forward.”ADVERTISEMENT View comments Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil Cabuyao City rising above the ashes through volunteerism MOST READ
Following the resignation on Monday, October 6, of former Justice Minister Cllr. Christiana P. Tah, rumors are now flying around Monrovia as to who will succeed the former Justice Minister.Liberia’s former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, resigned her post for what she termed among other things, “collapse of rule of law” within the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf administration.Already, familiar names have been thrown from corner to corner, even within the corridors of power. Among the possible candidates are former Justice Minister under Liberia’s ex-President Charles Taylor, Cllr. Lavela Supuwood, the managing partner for the TIAWA Law and Associate, Cllr. Yarmie-Quiqui Gbeisay, Sr., President Sirleaf’s private lawyer, Cllr. Roland Dahn, as well as Cllr. Michael Jones, among others.But though Cllr. Jones’ name surfaced, his chances are infinitely remote since, regardless of his highly reputed knowledge of the law, the Supreme Court suspended him from practicing law for five consecutive years since 2012.Yet, to even drop his name in the bucket-list suggests that the President’s options may be assumed severely limited. The Justice Ministry’s portfolio requires someone at the helm who is morally strong and knowledgeable enough to manage the nation’s security forces, on the one hand; and who can be the “lynch-pin” in the relationship between the Executive branch of Government and the Judiciary, on the other; and everything in between. Other names being mentioned within the public domain are the present Solicitor-General, Cllr. Betty Larmie Blamo (whose name came first on the list), as well as former Solicitor-General, Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe, and Cllr. Winston Tubman, among others. Cllr. Tubman in 2011, contested for the Liberian Presidency on the ticket of the opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) against the incumbent President Sirleaf, but lost the vote. Tubman, who now runs a law practice in Monrovia, also served as Minister of Justice under the late President Samuel K. Doe in the early 1980s. These names are being especially speculated among top-notch lawyers in the corridors of the Temple of Justice in Monrovia. Meanwhile, it is reliably learnt that following the resignation of Cllr. Tah, official activities at the Ministry of Justice are being paralyzed owing to recent decision by President Sirleaf to dismiss several highly placed officials of the MOJ.Without the prosecuting arm of the government in the face of Minister Tah’s resignation, security apparatuses, including the National Security Agency (NSA), the Liberian National Police (LNP), the Bureau of Immigration for Naturalization (BIN) and other smaller units are doomed to go-slow on operations, pending the appointment of their new boss by the President. The public is, therefore, hoping that President Sirleaf will appoint a candidate with strong moral character and a wealth of experience in the legal profession, particularly dealing with the public in the face of the country’s present day reality. “This is to avoid any incident of regret in the wake of the resignation of Cllr. Tah,” one eminent lawyer hinted the Daily Observer Tuesday during a mobile phone conversation. Also, several other persons who spoke to the Daily Observer late yesterday expressed regret for Cllr. Tah’s resignation, indicating that her decision was a “great setback to the justice system since she was one of such persons with level-headed administrative qualifications.” On Monday, Cllr. Tah resigned her post when noted that “I cannot be the Minister of Justice and not supervise the operations of the security agencies under the Ministry of Justice, for example; or what is ‘the rule of law’ if the President asserts that she does not trust the Ministry of Justice to independently investigate allegations of fraud against the National Security Agency? What is ‘the rule of law’ if a duly appointed Minister of Justice with oversight for security has grave concerns about what her volitional resignation will mean for her own personal security and freedom as a Liberian citizen?”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Urris GAA NotesCLUB MEETING: There will be a club meeting on Wednesday night at 8.30pm. Everyone welcome. MATCH “N” WIN: Match “N” Win June 5th: No jackpot winner-numbers drawn: 1, 4, 7 & 24. €15 winners: Patricia Mc Elhinney, Gleneeley, John Brennan, Leenan, Lee Mc Daid, Drumfries, James & Orla c/o Mc Feeley’s Bar, Clonmany and Maureen Grant, Tornabratley. Jackpot next week €1,620. Thanks to all our Lotto Sellers and all who support this weekly draw. SENIOR & RESERVES: Mixed results for both teams against Buncrana on Sunday, Seniors lost to Buncrana 0-16, Urris 2-05. Reserve match Urris 1-09, Buncrana 1-06 . Next fixture down is home to Milford on Saturday next, times to be confirmed. Training continues for both teams on Tuesday & Thursday nights.LADIES FOOTBALL: Ladies have no games until the exams are finished.LADIES REFEREE COURSE: Anyone interested in next round of referees course for Ladies Gaelic Football to be held on June 23rd please let David Hession know on 0860538537.SCHOOL BLITZ: Declan Mulhern and CLG Iorras wish to say Thank You to all the boys & girls, teachers, parents and all who helped out at the School Blitz last Wednesday. Over 115 children from 3rd & 4th classes of the four schools in the Parish attended in glorious sunshine in Straid. A special word of thanks to John Gibbons for organising it and his daughters Enya, Cliona and Aislinn and also Tiarnan Coyne and Barry Grant for giving up their time to come and referee the games. A good day was had by all. Kellogg’s GAA Cul Camp: in Straid from Monday 30th June to Friday 4th July. Please contact John Friel on 0860523550 for further details and to book a place.UNDER-AGE FIXTURES: U10 teams home to Malin on Tuesday night at 6.30pm in Straid in next round of the Go Games. U12 boys & girls away to Malin on Tuesday night. Good luck to all teams and their coaches. As fixtures can change for various reasons please check our Facebook page for daily updates.U14 GIRLS: This U14 County Semi Final for our girls will take place on Saturday next in Straid against N. Mhuire at 4.00pm. Well done to the girls on reaching the semi final. Support most welcome.BOOT EXCHANGE SCHEME: for Under-age players now up and running: In these times of financial constraints on families the club has introduced this exchange programme-old football boots in good condition that children have out grown can be dropped in or exchanged for a bigger/smaller pair as required. A minimum donation of €5 to the club for the boots that are taken away. Please contact Nichola Lagan on 0866030736 for further information . All boots can be dropped off at all Under-age training/matches.CLUB JACKETS: Embroidered and printed jackets for CLG IORRAS now available, to order please contact Donal Kelly on 0876461707 for more details. Facebook-Find us on CLG Iorras/Urris GAA and keep up to date on all club news and fixtures.Any items of news for the club notes should be forwarded to Rose on 0877770639 or email firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 9pm on Sunday night.GAA NEWS: URRIS DEFEATED BY LOCAL RIVALS BUNCRANA IN DIVISION THREE CLASH was last modified: June 8th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:GAANoticesSportURRIS
Kilcar’s U21 championship match with Buncrana has ben postponed.KILCAR GAA NEWS: Well done to Gary, Brian, Daniel, Neilly and the Donegal minors on reaching the Ulster Final last Saturday evening while in the senior drawn match we had four players involved. The Under 21 championship match away to Buncrana has been postponed due to the Ulster Semi Final replay. Our seniors and reserves are home to Gaoth Dobhair this Sunday in a Division One “star” fixture.Ulster Semi Final Replay Orders for tickets to be given to Fiona before 4pm on Tuesday for the Donegal v Monaghan replay this Saturday in Cavan.UnderageOur Under 14s defeated Bundoran in the second leg of the quarter finals of the championship last Wednesday, our Under 16s lost to a very strong Killybegs in their league opener on Friday they are away to Naomh Columba this evening (Monday) at 7:30pm our Under 12s host Naomh Columba this evening also throw in 6:30pm. The club are holding a Under 10 Blitz this Saturday. Our Under 12s and 14s had an enjoyable trip to Cavan on Saturday for the Ulster Semi Finals.Ladies Lidl, proud supporters of Ladies Gaelic Football, are committed to supporting the grassroots of the game. Now, through a new store competition, starting on Thursday 26th May and running until Sunday, 10th July, Lidl Donegal Town customers are invited to nominate their local Ladies Gaelic Football Club to win cash prizes.Using the nomination card, offered at the till with every purchase (two cards given for over €20 spent) customers can vote for their local club from the list of clubs on the in-store competition unit.€1,000 is available to be won in each store with an additional three prizes of €5,000 to be won on Lidl’s social media platforms (see Lidl Ireland’s Facebook page for details). Lidl will have donated €160,000 to Ladies Gaelic Football Clubs at the end of this competition.Top of FormClub GearWe now have a selection of Club gear on sale in Áislann Chill Chartha with adult and kid’s club home jerseys, new half zip tops, polo shirts and children’s kit bags and shorts now in stock. Club AppWe have now 219 members on our FREE mobile app if you would like to sign up just follow these steps to download your free team App for CLG Chill Chartha. 1. On your phone or iPad go to the app store 2. Search for Team App 3. Install Team App to your phone 4. Search for CLG Chill Chartha 5. Log in and register for the CLG Chill Chartha Club app. 6. You will receive an email notification when you are added you to the system.LottoThere was no winner of the Club Lotto Jackpot so next week’s Jackpot is €5,100 this week’s numbers were: 3, 9, 17 and 25 winners were: €50 Shelia Hegarty, Largymore €30 Seamus Doogan, Ballymacfadden €20 Geraldine McIntire, Cruckarra and Ann Doogan c/o Margaret O’Donnell. For those not living in the area you can buy your Lotto’s online at clgchillchartha.com click the Club Lotto section for details! Club Bingo Jackpot now €7,450!There was no winner of the Jackpot so it rises to €7,450 on 45 numbers, Club Bingo is on in The Parish Hall on Sunday nights at 8:30pm so please support to be in with a chance of winning the Jackpot and thanks to all who continue to support our Bingo!. This week’s winners were: €235 Mary Gallagher €135 Shiela Diver €120 Roseanne Ellis €80 Carmel Gallagher €75 Breid McGuinness, Mary Diver €70 Bernadette Gillespie and Rosleen ByrneFor the latest news visit our website www.clgchillchartha.com you can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter at facebook.com/CillCharthaGAA and @KilcarGAAKILCAR U21 CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH POSTPONED DUE TO ULSTER SFC SEMI-FINAL REPLAY was last modified: June 28th, 2016 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:GAAKilcar U21’sSport
The Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh T.D. has today (Mon) announced new criteria for schools to grant students an exemption from studying Irish.Following an extensive public consultation earlier this year on draft revisions to the system, revised circulars for primary and post-primary schools will take effect for the 2019/2020 school year.The revised circulars will be issued in September and will replace existing rules on exemptions which date back more than 25 years. Minister McHugh said: “An overhaul of the system for granting exemptions from the study of Irish is long overdue. By making key changes the system will be fairer and more supportive of students while at the same time ensuring that all children have equal access to study the Irish language.”The public consultation on the issue of exemptions, which ran from December 7th 2018 until January 18th 2019, saw an unprecedented response with 11,109 individuals sharing their views.Minister McHugh said: “There was a phenomenal level of interest in the public consultation. That is why I took the decision to extend it further into the New Year. The majority of people who engaged with it supported the changes being proposed. I believe the new criteria are fair and balanced and that the new system of exemptions is more up to date with teaching practices and support models and helps to remove ambiguity around exemptions.”Key changes in the revised circulars include: The new criteria will only apply in English-medium schools.Students in special schools or special classes attached to mainstream schools will not be required to apply for an exemption.Psychological assessments will no longer be necessary to process an application for an exemption.Students will be granted an exemption from the study of Irish only in rare and exceptional circumstances.Age-related criteria for decisions on exemptions are being changed from 11 years of age to 12, which brings the circular into line with the final year of primary education.The decision to grant an exemption will continue to be made by the school principal.The decision should only be taken following detailed discussion with the student’s parent or guardian, teacher, special education teachers and the student.Minister McHugh said: “The decision to grant an exemption from the study of Irish should not be taken lightly. It is an important decision that will have implications for the student’s future learning.“The benefits of bilingualism and studying a language from a young age are becoming better understood with studies showing it helps mental agility, makes it easier to learn a third or more languages and that it can help support a child’s academic achievement in other subjects like Mathematics.“I would like to thank all of those who responded to the public consultation process which helped greatly to inform the finalisation of the circulars.”The new circulars together with detailed guidelines will be issued to schools in the coming weeks and will be available on the Department’s website at the start of the new school year.New criteria for granting exemptions from studying Irish was last modified: August 12th, 2019 by Shaun KeenanShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)
Brand South Africa will host its second South African Competitiveness Forum (SACF) in Johannesburg in early 2015 under the theme “Active citizenship and its role in changing the South African brand reality”.Top minds from business, government, civil society and the academic world will come together to discuss our position in the world, and uncover ways to give South Africa a competitive edge on the global stage.At the forum Brand South Africa will ask participants to give their views on a number of themes, from youth and innovation to foreign direct investment, the labour market, expansion into the rest of Africa, and active citizenship.A first at the next forum is a session on expatriate South Africans, which aims to explore ways Brand South Africa, business and civil society can work with South Africans living abroad to tell the country’s story, and improve South Africa’s global reputation.Other exciting sessions include a workshop on the nation brand’s “outgoing strategy”. This will focus on business expansion strategy into African markets, and the role perceptions and reputation plays when entering peer markets elsewhere on the continent. Guest speakers from Kenya and Nigeria will give insight into South Africa’s place in these markets.For more information contact Dr Petrus de Kock, research manager at Brand South Africa, at SACF@brandsouthafrica.com.Overall theme: Active citizenship and its role in changing the South African brand realityDownload documentThe theme of the second forum is focused on two concepts: active citizenship and the nation brand. The comprehensive research and outcome report from the 2013 SACF highlights insights Brand South Africa uncovered in the process. The feedback from SACF 2013 participants will inform the approach in the next SACF.Workshop 1 – Global South Africans playing their part in creating a competitive and reputable nation brandThe first workshop will not only discuss the overall theme of the second SACF – active citizenship and its role in changing the South African brand reality – but also examine what global South Africans are already doing to promote the nation brand. How can Brand South Africa and South African expatriates work closer together to better tell the South African story globally? How can global South Africans help in achieving the goals of the National Development Plan?Workshop 2 – Youth, innovation and nation brand competitivenessBased on consultations with youth organisations, this workshop will focus on active citizenship and the nation brand, existing projects that align with the NDP, small business support and business development, and social issues that impact development, particularly in townships and rural areas.Workshop 3 – Internal and foreign direct investmentSouth Africa is the continent’s top destination for foreign direct investment. But what are the issues that impact on perceptions of South Africa as FDI destination and trade partner? This workshop will look at support for entrepreneurship and innovation, case studies and experiences of multinationals invested and active in the South African market, existing projects that align to the NDP, and small business support and business development.Workshop 4 – Education and skillsThis session will assemble representatives from the Department of Basic Education, as well as head teachers and civil society organisations involved in education to gain insight on South Africa’s educational strengths and weaknesses. The session will focus on partnerships for enhancing education quality and relevance to the South African economy. Important issues regarding perceptions of the education system and their implications for the country’s reputation will also be discussed.Workshop 5 – South Africa @ Work: the role of labour in creating a new brand realityThis session will gather representatives from South African trade unions to identify the unique features, selling points and stories of South Africa @ Work. It is critical for Brand South Africa to gain insight on case studies of the contribution labour makes and how it can change the South African brand reality.Workshop 6 – The nation brand’s ‘going out’ strategyThe second day of the SACF will open with a workshop on taking the nation brand into international markets. The session will look at the challenges and opportunities for increased cooperation between government, business, and civil society on carrying the message of South Africa into international market spaces. The session will focus on South Africa’s reputation in, exposure to, and interaction with key BRICS and African markets.
Flying under the radarGary Fleisher, who blogs about the modular housing industry at Modular Home Builder, first wrote about Blueprint Robotics in a December 2015 post. He said Blueprint had international backing, mainly from Germany, and compared European interest in the U.S. housing market to Japanese interest in the auto market decades earlier.Asked whether Blueprint had turned out a single house here, Fleisher said by telephone he didn’t know.“My understanding is that the investors and developers who put money into it, and again I don’t have 100% knowledge of this, but I’ve been told they’re mostly European investing companies that have similar plants in Europe, and they opened up this plant to feed their own developments. So, apparently they have developments [in the U.S.] where this kind of product will work very well.”Fleisher said he knows of no other manufacturer in the country using the kind of robotic equipment that Blueprint says it has on its production line, and suggested the company was skirting publicity not because it was secretive but because it was leery of creating unrealistic expectations.“They are afraid if they don’t succeed right out of the gate that people will be suspect of them,” he said.That was the case with a California company, Blu Homes, Fleisher said, which started big but eventually withdrew to a smaller market in the northern part of the state. RELATED ARTICLES World’s Tallest Modular Tower OpensMaking the Case for Prefab Zero-Energy HomesPassivhaus Building the Modular WayBoulder County’s Modular, Low-Income Housing ExperimentBuilding a Better Low-Cost RentalNet-Zero Modular Homes Head for Peaks Island, MaineA LEED Platinum Modular HomeThese Superinsulated Homes Were Delivered By TruckPassive House Building in the Digital Age Fast, precise and uncomplaining, industrial robots revolutionized the automotive industry with production lines that rarely needed a break and mechanical employees who never filed an insurance claim. Now, a group of Baltimore-based entrepreneurs is betting the same approach can work wonders for the U.S. housing market.Operating in a 200,000-square-foot factory in Baltimore, Blueprint Robotics has developed a process for building panelized building components — nearly complete wall, roof, and floor sections — with sophisticated machines that cut parts precisely and take the drudgery and errors, out of assembly. The company promises high quality and low prices and a finished product that will beat what conventional building techniques can produce.Factories that make modular and panelized homes have long used production lines where workers build components indoors on giant assembly tables. The industry says the absence of weather delays, protection of building materials from the elements, and standardized techniques all are advantages over site-built construction. But Blueprint takes the process a step further, and it may be the only such facility in the U.S. using robotic equipment to build houses.“There’s an old saying in building: Price, schedule, quality — pick any two,” Blueprint CEO Jerry Smalley says in a company video. “At Blueprint Robotics, we figured out how to let you have all three.” The industry has been slow to changeWould house-building robots really help ease a labor crunch?“Absolutely!” Tom Hardiman, executive director of the Modular Home Builders Association, said in an email. “Modular factory workers have much more predictable schedules, can work during cold weather months, and work in a much safer environment. As a result, manufacturers generally have a very seasoned, experienced, and stable workforce. With a higher degree of technology and automation, this method of construction opens the doors to younger workers, women, and even disabled people.”One problem is volume; it would take a lot more than a handful of robotically operated house-parts factories to make a dent in the problem. Although most modular manufacturers have adopted at least some automation and assembly line techniques, Hardiman said, Blueprint Robotics is “clearly on the leading edge” as the industry struggles to modernize itself.“The construction industry as a whole is one of the last industry holdouts in terms of automation and innovation,” he said. “Every other major industry has automated to a much greater extent. Construction industry productivity has remained relatively flat for the last 50 years while other industries have seen productivity and efficiency gains. The homebuilding industry is also very fragmented and made up of many small contractors who are very reluctant to changes. The U.S lags behind the U.K., Australia, and even China in terms of construction innovation and automation. Right now, 20-, 30-, and 40-story modular buildings are being erected in these countries.”Modular housing now represents about 3% of all housing starts, Hardiman says, although it is as high as 8% in some regions. (This does not include panelized houses.)Fleisher says that modular housing is fairly strong in some parts of the country — notably, New England and the Northeast — while almost entirely absent in areas like the Southwest. “It’s not even a flea on a dog’s back out there,” he said. The fledgling business was described in a recent article posted at Bloomberg. A person answering the phone at Blueprint said that the company isn’t actively seeking publicity, at least not beyond its cooperation with Bloomberg reporters. As a result, many details about the company and its operations are unknown. Still, there’s enough information at the company’s website to get a rough idea of how the company says the process will work. (A video in which Smalley discusses the company is featured below.) Once on site, assembly is speedyLike other panelized or modular buildings, Blueprint’s structures can be assembled rapidly. The company sends its own employees, with a Blueprint crane and fork lift, tenting to be used in case of poor weather, and scaffolding. A 4,000-square-foot house will be “assembled and fully watertight in no more than a two-day period,” the company says, with the rest of Blueprint’s work wrapped up in the following three or four days.When the company leaves the site, the drywall will be ready to paint. The builder who ordered the house will have to take care of siding and roofing, connect the wiring to the meter, and take care of sewer and water hookups.“Our terms are net 30 days, so you don’t need to make a deposit when placing an order with us,” the company says. “You will have a line item draw on your conventional construction loan. Our work is inspected by your construction lender.”The price, the company adds, will be attractive to builders used to building on site: “Most importantly,” Smalley says in his video, “we’ve got the price down to a point where it’s compelling to your business.” Blueprint’s website says that means “faster and less expensively than you do it today — and do it with the best materials and the highest level of quality.”Other factories, such as Ecocor in Maine and Phoenix Haus, headquartered in Detroit, produce panelized house components with Swedish-made Randek equipment, including computer driven saws and folding assembly tables that can flip wall sections over hydraulically. Unity Homes, a New Hampshire company, uses automated cutting equipment and computer generated plans to enhance precision. This kind of production is common in parts of Europe, but not the U.S. Ecocor, Phoenix and Unity can produce panelized components that are able to meet the Passive House standard or operate at net-zero energy efficiency — well insulated and essentially airtight. Whether Blueprint is capable, or interested, in that level of construction is one of many unanswered questions about the company. Can robots solve a labor crunch?With the collapse of the housing industry in 2008, many construction workers fled to other industries. Construction has since rebounded, but not enough of those workers have come back to fill the growing number of jobs, and younger people are not entering the trades in enough numbers to meet demand. Just 3% of adults from 18 to 25 years old picked construction trades as a career goal, according to a recent survey from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).That’s an issue weighing heavily on the minds of many builders. A NAHB survey published in January said that 82% of the builders it polled thought that the cost and/or availability of labor would be a significant problem this year. That’s more than any other single issue. (Fine Homebuilding magazine is addressing this problem with its Keep Craft Live effort.)Bloomberg’s report suggests that companies like Blueprint Robotics might help solve that problem by creating openings for less skilled workers while filling some of the production gap caused by a labor shortage. People can be taught how to run house-building robots much faster than they can learn how to build houses by hand.The report begins, for example, by introducing Cyndicy Yarborough, described as a 26-year-old former Wal-Mart clerk with no training or background in construction. She now works on the Blueprint production line, loading wall and floor sections onto a truck for shipment. The single mother, who has been working there for about a year, took a course in CNC production before joining the company and has no interest in learning about traditional construction. Rather, she’d like to be part of the team that creates design maps used by robots, Bloomberg said. Three separate production linesThe company’s message seems to be geared toward builders, not the general public. Blueprint invites developers or builders to submit floor plans, elevations, or completed construction documents, and says that it will respond with a “preliminary price” within days. Following a review, Blueprint provides a firm price and a set of drawings, with delivery based on the completion of the foundation by the builder.Once the contract is signed, the building goes into production. Blueprint has divided the process into three production lines: one for walls, one for the roof, and a third for the floor. Wall construction revolves around a German-made machine called a WBS-160 beam center, which cuts top and bottom plates, and drills holes for plumbing, venting, and electrical rough-ins. The framing station, which is next, can produce 40 linear feet of wall in about 11 minutes, with robotically driven nails placed so precisely nary a one will miss a stud, according to the company.OSB and drywall layers, wall openings for windows and doors, outlets, and switches are added robotically, although actual electricians are standing by to add fixtures, outlets, and switches.The company offers several insulation options, including denim, rockwool, fiberglass and dense-packed cellulose. Robots also apply Huber’s Zip-R insulated sheathing. The part of the process that requires the most people is drywalling; tradespeople do the work.Floors and roof sections — completed on separate production lines — are made in much the same way. Blueprint uses open-web floor trusses for most applications (and guarantees that floor deflection will be no more than 1/720), but can use I-joists or dimensional lumber if the customer prefers. Roof sections get Huber’s Zip sheathing.When walls are complete, they are shrink-wrapped and set aside for shipment. A finished package — what Blueprint calls a “custom-built closed wall frame” — include doors and windows, rough-ins for mechanicals, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection, interior doors, sheathing, and insulation. Parts go out on standard tractor trailers, with no special over-the-road permits required.
3. Who has the most to gain from the BHMC program in your state?Service members and families have the most to gain from the BHMC program. The goal of our program is to improve readiness of our service members to complete the mission; they are the focus of our efforts. However, as we all know, military families also impact readiness. It’s difficult for service members to concentrate on the mission if they are worried about family members back home. Families are also critical to the BHMC mission. The BHMC target area of improvement is service members and their families. 1. Can you briefly talk about what Building Healthy Military Communities program is working on in Oklahoma? What can we expect to see in the next year?The Building Healthy Military Communities (BHMC) a multi-year pilot that aims to better understand unique challenges faced by geographically dispersed Service members and their families that may impact their readiness, resiliency, and well-being. BHMC hopes to better understand resource challenges and develop a comprehensive strategy to support the Chairman’s objective of Total Force Fitness (TFF), which is DoD’s framework for improving health, readiness, and resiliency of its population through eight domains of fitness (physical, environmental, medical/dental, nutritional, spiritual, psychological, behavioral, and social). The program kicked off at the end of 2016 and has been working hard to positively impact Service members and families lives.Oklahoma’s BHMC program has gotten off to a good start over the past year. Since initiation, the Oklahoma State Coordinator has attended and led 77 meetings with local community service organizations and military leaders, building relationships and partnerships. BHMC has also partnered with the Tulsa Mayors Veterans Advisory Council, Warrior Partnerships of Eastern Oklahoma, Oklahoma Veterans Connections, and the Oklahoma Veterans Family Wellness Alliance to bolster outreach efforts. In partnership with these organizations, the Oklahoma BHMC State Coordinator has attended speed sharing events across Oklahoma, publicizing the BHMC program and making connections with service providers and identifying resources for Service members and families.Utilizing the connections and partnerships made across Oklahoma, BHMC has built a robust database of Service Providers who can meet the needs of Service members and families. These resources were vetted and posted on the Joint Service Support website via the Service Provider Network. The Service Provider Network is a database of resources that Service members and families can search based on location anytime, with any device that has Internet connectivity. Oklahoma’s Service Provider Network provides links and contact information for over 400 organizations who provide services for Service members and families in need. Oklahoma is proud of the efforts of many organizations that have helped build this network from the ground up during the past few months.During the next year, Oklahoma BHMC aims to work with organizations across the state to educate Service members and families on available resources utilizing a strategic communication plan to collaborate with the many different offices who provide support for our Service Members. Our goal is to work in concert with the many family service resources that already exist in Oklahoma to help build readiness and resilience resources for our Service members and families. Oklahoma’s Community Capacity Inventory identified that service members and families lacked awareness of community resources and family services. Working with military leaders and family service agencies, BHMC aims to better educate Service members and families on available resources in Oklahoma for service members.Later this year, the BHMC pilot will also conduct a a Rapid Needs Assessment in Oklahoma, where a team, composed of representatives from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the National Guard Bureau, the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, and the Reserve Component Services, will evaluate programs that impact Service members and families across the state, while identifying any gaps that exist. The team is currently waiting for approvals from the Office of Information Management to conduct these assessments. Today we had the opportunity to talk to Lonnie Bacon, Oklahoma State Coordinator for Building Healthy Military Communities. We asked Lonnie some questions about the success and challenges of the pilot program to date.Lonnie Bacon served on active duty in the United States Air Force for 27 years in the Civil Engineer functional area culminating in the promotion to the highest Air Force enlisted rank, Chief Master Sergeant. He is highly decorated for his service to his country during multiple combat campaigns. He deployed 10 times supporting operations Southern Watch, Inherent Resolve, Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and New Dawn. While serving his country, Lonnie also obtained a MBA in Human Resource Management from Columbia Southern University. After leaving the Air Force, Lonnie continues to support military personnel by serving as the Oklahoma BHMC Coordinator. 4. What type of collaboration is taking place between the Cooperative Extension System and Building Healthy Military Communities in Oklahoma? How do you see this partnership developing in the future?Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension Service has child and youth, financial and nutritional resources. Since Oklahoma identified “fitness” and “financial” as areas of concern in the initial draft of the Oklahoma BHMC state action plan, Cooperative Extension can be an excellent resource for SMs in Oklahoma. Cooperative Extension works well with BHMC’s motivation to reach geographically dispersed service members. The service has offices located in each of the 77 Oklahoma counties that provide financial counseling, financial referrals, and nutritional counseling. Oklahoma BHMC has partnered with OSU extension service and has all of their offices listed as a resource on the Service Provider Network. In the future, Oklahoma can increase awareness of extension services during its strategic communications and outreach to Service members and families. 5. How can military family service professionals, non-profits, or other local organizations get involved with BHMC?There are numerous ways for family service professionals, non-profits, or other local organizations to get involved with BHMC. BHMC is a conduit of information on resources for SMVFs in Oklahoma. The first step for an organization to get involved is contacting your State Coordinator and becoming a resource on the Service Provider Network. The network is excellent website that can give organizations access to service members with particular needs. The Service Provider Network is also a resource used by military family service professionals to provide service members and families with referrals to non-profits, or other local organizations that can provide helpful resources. 2. Can you talk about some of the challenges facing BHMC in Oklahoma?Oklahoma has some challenges based on the resources available in many of the areas where service members live. 68 of the 77 counties in Oklahoma are considered rural counties. In Oklahoma, in the active component, 10% of Service members live in counties not supported by installations and in the reserve component, 56% of Service members live in counties not supported by installations. Oklahoma BHMC aims to identify resources available in these local communities and connect them with geographically dispersed SMVFs in order to improve readiness and resilience across the community. Rural areas away from installations can be a challenge due to limited resources and more difficult outreach efforts. 6. Is there anything else you’d like our audience to know?Service members and their families need your support. Sometimes we might think that all of the Service member’s needs are taken care of by the government or military installations. However, this is not always the case. Not all service members are covered by Tricare, not all service members are meeting their financial responsibilities due to problems with member or spouse employment, and the list can go on and on. We need community resources to help our service members and families reach optimal readiness and resilience. Partnering with BHMC can help our military improve overall total force fitness and the readiness and resilience of our forces.