Modular Homes – More Than You Might Think
When you here or see the words “Modular Home”, what comes to mind? Is it a small cheaply constructed, quickly slapped together home that reminds you of a trailer house you bolt together in the middle and set on cinder blocks? Do you think of all the times you have seen those cracker box houses rolling down the road in two pieces and immediately say to yourself, “I would never ever buy a modular home, not in a million years?”
If that’s your perception of a modular home, then your knowledge of modular housing hasn’t kept up with the times. When I think about modular homes, I think about a two story colonial or a sprawling ranch style or maybe even a Victorian style home with all the ornate regal beauty that impression entails. My mind renders such images because that’s where the world of modular housing is today. If you can imagine it, it most likely can be constructed modularly. From the simplest of designs to the most intricate and elaborate ones, modular construction is gaining ground everyday in the new home market. Let’s look at some of the reasons why.
Modular homes are generally more cost effective, by as much as 25% or more in some cases, because they are built to exacting computer aided design specifications in climate controlled situations. This enables every element of initial construction which consists of building all the modules that will make up a particular design to be exactingly controlled. Every piece of the home is designed, constructed and assembled inside the computer first using the most sophisticated software programs. That allows the engineers to see every aspect of the home and know in advance if the design contains elements that might cause issue in final assembly.
Building this way saves money by minimizing wasted materials. That alone can account for 10% or more of the cost of constructing a new home completely on location using standard construction techniques. All the best methods for incorporating such things as electrical and plumbing fixtures are mapped out in advance of the first nail being driven. This not only saves valuable material, but labor. Not to mention the pre-established plan which incorporates these elements into the construction allows for a broader range of consumer options.
Strength of construction is also a big advantage in modular home design. Each module is designed to meet specified strength requirements that are usually far above the required code specifications generally established by local zoning ordinances. With added strength comes another added value. Because modular homes are constructed of several self supporting modules they are rated higher for withstanding the forces of nature such high wind and even minor earth quakes, which in some areas can save on over all insurance cost.
The biggest savings are probably in the time advantage that modular construction has over conventional construction. No delays in the general construction because of the weather or because of some piece that isn’t on the job site. Each module is constructed independently of the other modules which make up the home until final assembly on the home site. This is a big advantage in over all labor cost of construction.
It used to be that modular homes were constructed of rather flimsy, non standardized building materials which in most instances were hard to find or replace should repairs be needed later on. That is not the case today. Modern modular homes are constructed of the finest building material available. Most of the materials used are considered common making them readily available to anyone making modifications or repairs if needed after final construction. Then when all the modules are completed they are loaded on trucks and taken to the build site. There they are assembled on to a preconfigured foundation or basement depending on the specifications. Many companies have their own assembly crews who bring all the equipment necessary to assemble the home. This can include large lifting cranes to lift the modules and place them on multistory homes.
Once the home is assembled, the final finish assembly tasks are carried out by the finishing crew who do such things as placing the finishing touches on interior floors and walls, making sure all the service connections are in proper order and seeing that any final roofing, bricking or siding issues are handled correctly. Most of this work can be completed in days rather then weeks or even months as might be the case with conventional construction.
If your perception of a modular home is still the two trailer houses with the wheels taken off and bolted together, you owe it to yourself to check into what modular housing is really all about. New modularly constructed homes are efficient and cost effective, with a lower initial cost of ownership. No longer are modular homes considered inferior in the market place, in fact in most cases the opposite is true. Modular homes generally have equal, and in some cases, higher realty ratings then other types of home construction.