#1. Design Flexibility of Modular Housing
With today’s modern design programs, modular home construction offers almost limitless design capabilities. As your builder, we work with you through the possibilities to create a beautifully designed home. There are virtually thousands of standard floor plans that can be used as a starting point. Each plan can be used as the inspiration to create a completely custom modular home. With such flexibility, a custom home can be designed using the interactive HomeStyler tool and then the plan can be “modularized” so the home can be built using modular construction. You can choose your own construction standards, fixtures, floor coverings, cabinets, and countertops. Each home can be completely custom designed for individual style.
#2. Healthier & Safer Homes
A unique aspect of modular home construction is that it actually takes place indoors. Your home is built in a climate-controlled factory much like a car, a computer, or a desk. And just like with those items, the materials used to build your home are stored inside in an on-site warehouse. This virtually eliminates the opportunity for wet materials to be used when building a custom modular home. Building in this way also reduces the possibility of weather related delays or problems.
Pictures: A storm drenches a traditional home site. The next day the roof is up and building continues.
Design and construction firms are frequently faced with construction defect claims that involve mold related problems. Mold typically forms on lumber during the transportation, storage, and construction stages. Wood that is stored outside or is rained on during construction can retain that moisture. Wood with a moisture content greater than 19% is susceptible to mold growth. Because of the pressure to close in homes quickly, many times wet wood is covered behind walls and in ceilings to keep a site built home on schedule. The International Institute for Building-Biology® & Ecology offers a case study, Lumberyard Mold in New Construction and it’s Complexities that describes what can happen with moist wood used in traditional site built construction.
#3. Reduced Construction Timeframe
Custom modular homes can be built in about half the time needed to construct a traditional site-built home. From order to move-in, modular construction can give you the ability to be in your home in as little as three months. Beautiful, architecturally interesting, and structurally challenging homes are built using modular construction and are almost always delivered in a fraction of the timeframe that could be accomplished with traditional, site-built construction. Much of the time savings can be attributed to the distributed construction of the complete home package. A modular home is constructed in a factory in days or weeks. If you use a pre-engineered foundation, your foundation is being built at the same time as the home is being constructed. All of this is happening while the site work/excavation is being completed in a “just-in-time” approach. Scheduling can be coordinated so that within a matter of days the site is ready, the foundation is installed and the home is assembled on that foundation. In just a few more weeks a completed home is ready for move-in. On site construction is sequential and dependent on weather. It is also highly dependent on local subcontractors and scheduling that is harder to control. On site stick-framed construction hasn’t changed its construction process in over 150 years.
#4. Modular Homes offer Factory Quality Construction
Can you imagine if you had to build your own car? What if you had to build it in your driveway? Could you attain anywhere near the quality that is achieved using the assembly line process in the car factory? Custom modular homes that are built in factories get the benefits that indoor, factory quality construction offers. The construction process takes advantage of tools and processes that aren’t available to the site builder such as assembly jigs which insure that floors, walls, and ceilings are plumb and square. In addition, interior walls are screwed or lag-bolted to the exterior walls and blocking and bracing are used to build a strong rigid structure. Straps brace the wall to the floor. Because the home is built indoors, electrical outlets can be sealed with caulk/sealant and insulation can be properly installed to increase energy efficiency.
#5. Building Code Compliance
Modular homes are built to the same building codes mandated by the state where the home will be located. These are the same codes used by conventional site-builders for custom homes. A factory’s building systems are flexible and can adapt to build homes and other buildings to be code compliant, no matter the building code being used in the local jurisdiction.
#6. Inspection & Approvals for Modular Homes
A third party inspection agency, which is contracted by the state, reviews each factories processes, performs construction process audits, and oversees the construction systems in the factory. Assembly-line factory construction for custom modular homes means that the homes are efficiently built and in compliance with the approved plans and conforms to all building code provisions for the location where the home will be placed. A label is place in each approved module before it leaves the factory signifying that the module as passed its review.
#7. The Energy Efficiency of Modular Housing
Using modern modular construction techniques coupled with quality engineering, custom modular homes offer significantly enhanced energy efficiency. Living in an energy efficient home means that it will be comfortable to live in as well as be economical to own and maintain. Many modular homes are built with 2 x 6 framing as standard which means the walls thicker. This permits more insulation to be placed in the wall cavity which, in turn means that great energy efficiency is assured. Finally, modular homes are much less susceptible to air infiltration, which is typically one of the top causes of heat loss in a home. One of the biggest of advantages of indoor construction means that the exterior sheathing is installed near the end of the construction process. Workers have access to air infiltration points that site builders can never address. With modern sealants and caulks, air leakage can be virtually eliminated. Electrical outlets, an area notorious for leaking air in conventionally built homes can be seal around the edges and at each point of entry for wiring.
#8. Structural Stability & Superior Strength of Modular Homes
Once construction is completed in the factory, the modules are loaded onto rigid carriers for transport. To deal with the rigors of shipping, modules use additional strapping for attachments, screws and lag-bolts in place of nails, and additional structural support engineered into the construction process. Each module is engineered for the trip to the home site in addition to the locations structural requirements. All of this adds up to increased structural strength of the home as noted in a FEMA study on 1992’s Hurricane Andrew. This study concluded, “The module-to-module combination of units appears to have provided an inherently more rigid system that performed much better than conventional residential framing.” Building Performance: Hurricane Andrew in Florida, FIA-22, and Item 3-0180. (Get access to the FEMA study on our Quick Recovery Program page)
#9. Modular Homes are Environmentally Friendly
According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Research Center, the “typical” waste for a new 2,000 sq. ft. site built home is approximately eight thousand (8,000) pounds. The cost to dispose of this waste averaged $511 per home. Now just think about that fact that as a homebuyers, not only do you pay to dispose of the waste, but also for all of the material waste that is being sent to the landfill.
With careful engineering, factory construction systems reduce waste and plan for reuse and recycling of the remaining waste. Modular home construction is just more environmentally friendly than its site-built counterpart. Think about this as you drive by a conventional home construction site and see the 30 cubic yard dumpster in the yard. How many are needed to remove all of the waste from the site because of the inefficient building processes.
#10. Modular Housing Provides Value
When conventional site-built construction is used to build a custom home, the average cost in change orders and cost overruns can exceed 30% of the initial home price. While this is common with site-construction, cost overruns are virtually unheard of in modular construction. Indoor climate controlled factories insure there are no weather related construction delays. Delays because of construction labor shortages and scheduling delays can be almost eliminated. Add in the volume purchasing, reductions in waste, and lower labor costs and modular construction just means value!
See my previous post: Bringing Custom Back to New Home Construction