An eclectic, contemporary farmhouse-style home in Utah is believed to be the first home in the U.S. to be engineered, designed, and built completely by women. The project is being run by Utah Professional Women in Building and is intended to showcase skilled tradeswomen from all over the country.
The home is referred to as The House That SHE Built, and the idea originated about three years ago. Kristin Smith, the founder of the project, explained that she hopes the projects will empower women and girls to pursue professions in homebuilding.
Many materials for this project were either donated by sponsors or provided at cost. The majority of the proceeds will go toward scholarships for women pursuing construction management or trade. Some proceeds will also be used to fund education initiatives and future building projects, and a portion will be donated to women-centric charities. The home is expected to sell for close to one million dollars, bringing in plenty of funding for these important causes.
Women make up only about 10% of the construction industry. In fact, due to the low numbers of women in the profession, many of the people working on The House That SHE Built were recruited and flown in from out of state. Painters, electricians, roofers, engineers, and more were brought in to join the team.
There are many different jobs for women in the industry; many of them are also well-paying jobs. The National Association for Women in Construction reports that while the national pay gap between men and women is about 81% in construction jobs, that gap is almost non-existent. Women in construction make 99.1% of what their male counterparts earn. As awareness of the job opportunities in the industry grows and women join the field, they’ll have the chance to increase their earning potential.
Not only is there a shortage of women in the construction and homebuilding industry, but there’s also currently a general labor shortage in the industry. In a recent survey, 72% of general contractors stated they believed a labor shortage would be their biggest hurdle in 2021. The inability to find workers slows down home building, contributing to the national housing shortage.
If more women can be recruited into the industry, the shortage of labor will decrease. With a larger workforce, construction companies will be able to increase the rate of home building, which can help shrink the housing shortage and improve housing affordability.
The House That SHE Built is currently being showcased as part of the Utah Valley Parade of Homes. Hopefully, as word of this project spreads, we’ll see growing numbers of women choosing homebuilding professions, increasing women’s earning potential, and helping the U.S. housing market across the board.