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Are MDU Installs Right for You?

Multidwelling units are on the rise and can be serviced with CI products and skillsets.

While many companies have expanded their businesses by branching out beyond residential installations into the world of commercial installs, there is another market opportunity that is not only growing, but is also ripe with possibilities: MDUs.

Legrand - MDUs

MDU (multidwelling unit) is a term for a building or group of buildings that contain multiple residential units (usually five or more), such as apartments, townhomes, condominiums, student housing, mixed use, or build to rent. Due to inventory shortages, rising prices of single-family homes, and high interest rates, purchasing a traditional “affordable home” has become more challenging for Millennials and Gen-Z’ers, which has led to continued growth in the MDU space, making this a perfect time for CIs to enter this category!

MDU installations are totally in the wheelhouse of work CI firms are already doing on new construction projects, requiring the same tools and skillsets you already possess. While you’ll likely be working with similar internal construction techniques, one big difference is the longer timelines to completion. Whereas a typical single-family home averages about eight months to completion, it takes around 24 months for an MDU project. And depending on your area, you might need a low-voltage license or have other OSHA requirements like wearing a hardhat and steel toe boots while on the jobsite.

Beyond just adding work to your schedule, MDU installs offer additional benefits. For one, you’ll see comparable margins on the products you’re installing, and you’ll likely increase efficiency by keeping your techs on one job site for an extended period of time, reducing costly load-in/out times. And by repeating work in similar floorplans, you’ll quickly gain proficiency in completing each unit, allowing for greater project margin!

While you’re likely used to working with the homeowner and/or builder as the primary decision makers on a residential install, you’ll be dealing with different decision makers on MDU jobs, and you’ll likely find yourself working closely with builders, developers, property owners/managers, engineering design groups, and ISPs.

In fact, many MDU units are built as spec, meaning there is typically no homeowner pre-drywall, making it important to work with the builder/developer to understand their target buyer, and designing the wiring infrastructure and tech amenities into the project that will appeal to them! And a “tech-ready” community is a desirable feature for many modern buyers.

Like a typical residential job, MDU installs begin with infrastructure, which starts with bringing the ISP’s services into the MDU building, ensuring incoming services are routed correctly and to specification, and properly terminated. From there, wiring is distributed throughout the building(s) to each individual unit.

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While each unit will have its own infrastructure of TV and Internet wiring, there are also opportunities for deploying technologies outside the individual living spaces. The amenities in some of these modern buildings can be amazing, and common areas like the lobby, gym, conference rooms, pool/outdoor areas, and gaming/theater spaces are perfect candidates for technology upfits. There are also additional opportunities like outdoor power and even EV charging stations.

And if you’re looking for a perfect industry partner to collab with, Legrand | AV should be your first stop! Legrand | AV is not only a leader in the CI channel for residential solutions, the company also has an extensive product family that includes everything you need for one-stop shopping for every segment of the MDU install. And Legrand’s industry-leading brands work together to bring high-speed broadband, entertainment, comfort, and control to your multifamily and mixed-use projects, with products engineered with simplicity in mind to deliver practical, cost-effective, reliable, and attractive solutions.

Legrand | AV end-to-end solutions includes On-Q’s wire and infrastructure products, Middle Atlantic rack solutions, Sanus and Chief TV mounting systems, Vaddio’s conference room and camera products, Da-Lite projection screens, Legrand Shadings Systems’ full line of automated window treatments, Luxul’s professional-grade network and remote management platform, and even EV charging stations from Pass & Seymour! These are proven AV solutions that are preferred by installers, electrical contractors, and developers across the country, ensuring your job will go off without a hitch.

Beyond Legrand’s depth-of-product offerings, it has strong relationships with local, regional, and national distributors, ensuring that the right products arrive at the correct project on time! And beyond the install, Legrand products are engineered to support the latest technologies and user’s evolving needs, and include industry-leading product warranties and U.S.-based tech support.

If MDU installations sound like they’d be a good fit for your company, you should attend a few of the industry trade shows and events. Organizations like the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) and Fiber Broadband Association are fantastic resources, and your local and regional apartment associations have regularly scheduled events as well. Get to know the players in your area and reach out to them. You can also ask your existing building partners if they have an MDU division. In your travels, investigate and gather information on who is developing MDU projects in your area. Finally, Legrand | AV can help with MDU market intel and which technologies are trending in this emerging technology space.

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The brands of Legrand | AV lead the industry with innovative infrastructure, connectivity, videoconferencing, mounting, racks, networking, power, and display solutions for various audiovisual technologies. Our innovative products, sold principally under the Chief, Da-Lite, Luxul, Middle Atlantic Products, On-Q, Sanus, and Vaddio brands, are sold through numerous channels. The brands of Legrand | AV provide the most comprehensive offering of AV solutions in the market. The company serves a broad base of over 6,000 global customers delivering amazing AV experiences.