Modular homes are becoming increasingly popular and there’s a high chance there are a few in your neighborhood. You may not notice them because a modular home is almost identical to a traditionally stick-built home in every way except how it is built. A stick-built home is constructed on the actual home site. Pieces must be assembled one-by-one, from the ground up in a specific order. Construction time is often impacted by weather. Building materials may sit outside for weeks under flimsy tarps and be affected by moisture, dirt, pests, and more.
A modular home is built in sections in a controlled environment. There are numerous benefits to this building style. Because the factory is climate controlled, your home materials will not be exposed to mold, dust, or other contaminants. Since each room is constructed separately, multiple pieces of the home can be built at one time. Crews can also be out at the site pouring foundations, building basements, and preparing utilities while the structure itself is being built off-site. While bad weather can halt traditional construction methods, indoor construction continues rain or shine. The entire manufacturing process takes between 10 and 20 weeks with on-site assembly ranging on average from 7 to 14 days. The average stick-built home takes seven months (almost 30 weeks) to complete.
When you design a home in pieces, having accurate measurements is crucial for a seamless finish. All modular home plans are produced with CAD (computer aided design) programs, by expert engineers specializing in this type of construction. This will ensure that the house meets all codes while scientifically dividing the modules into the most efficient design. Because modular homes must withstand the added stresses of being shipped to the building site, they are often stronger and more durable than a traditionally built home.
Another huge benefit to a modular home is the natural green design. While conventional stick-built homes can have green elements, the construction process itself is not green. On the other hand, a modular home makes efficiently uses labor with minimal people needed for construction and assembly. Accuracy and a quality-controlled environment also ensure that there is minimal waste of materials. Assembly itself takes minimal heavy equipment and lessens the environmental impact.
The cost of a modular home is not always a significant savings over a stick-built home. The design saves the most on materials and labor, but depending on the design itself, the savings won’t be miraculous. One price advantage, though, is the ability to have fixed costs due to the detailed pre-planning of a modular home. While a modular home may be built differently from a traditional home, it will still end up with all the same elements. During assembly, utilities are connected and run through the house. An exterior of your choice is applied to match your prefer aesthetic and the interior styling can be anything you imagine. Modular homes can come from pre-designed plans or be fully customized by the homeowner. Insurance, loans, state and local building codes, and value appreciation of a modular home will be identical to a traditional or stick-built home.
There are a few downfalls of a modular home to be on the lookout for. If you are building on a particularly narrow lot or there are lots of power lines nearby, the cranes necessary to lift modules into place may be restricted from those areas. You may also find neighborhood-specific restrictions such as brick-built homes only. Creating a brick facade for a modular home would negate the cost savings, making a traditional home the more economical option. Over all, a modular home is a great choice for your next building project. If you want flexibility, affordability, and the most efficient designs around, you want a modular home. PSE Consulting Engineers, Inc. is proud to be a member of the Modular Building Institute. Call us to see if a modular home is right for you. (Hint: it totally is!)