Simply put, a building system is a highly engineered method of producing buildings or building components in an efficient and cost effective manner. The use of building systems is common in many different types of residential and commercial construction. A modular home is the culmination of one type of building system. They actually begin as components - designed engineered and assembled in the controlled environment of a modern factory sometimes hundreds of miles away from their final destination. It is when these components come together on your building site, and the final finish is completed by your builder, that the components become a home for you and your family.
Today's modular systems are models of efficiency and quality assurance. The building process begins at the design phase. Most modular producers use state-of-the-art computer assisted design stations which aid them in customizing floor plans and producing drawings and material requirement lists. Once designed, the building process begins. This process is similar to what you've seen during the construction of houses in your neighborhood. The quality materials and care for detail, and the same building codes and standards are observed. So what's different? Efficiency and quality control. Efficiency begins with modern factory assembly line techniques. Your home travels to workstations, with all the building trades represented. Work is never delayed by weather, subcontractor no-shows or missing material. Quality engineering and modular construction techniques significantly increase the energy efficiency of your modular home. A quality control process provides 100% assurance that your home has been inspected for code compliance and workmanship. In-plant inspectors as well as independent inspection agencies inspect the home on behalf of your state and local government.
Speed and consistent quality are two of the many advantages for choosing modular components for your new home. On the average, a home consisting of two modules will be factory processed in six or seven days. Once the manufacturing process is complete, typically with interior finish right down to carpets and wall finish, the unit must be transferred to the building site and placed on its foundation. Final completion is usually handled by a local builder of general contractor and includes connection of utilities to the home and a short list of finish work. Normally, the home is completed in six to eight weeks after set.
4. I get confused when I see the terms "manufactured home" and "modular home". What's the difference?
Manufactured homes, sometimes referred to as mobile homes, are another type of building system and are constructed to a different building standard. This standard, the Federal Construction Safety Standards Act (HUD/CODE), unlike conventional building codes, requires manufactured homes to be constructed on a non-removable steel chassis. Many communities have restrictions on where manufactured homes can be located. Modular homes on the other hand, are constructed to the same building code required by your state, county and specific locality and therefore are not restricted by building or zoning regulations. Your new modular home is inspected at the assembly plant during each phase of construction. Evidence of this inspection is normally shown by the application of a State or inspection agency label of approval.
Yes! Most modular companies allow the customer complete design flexibility. But remember, every manufacturer is different. Engineering capabilities and product specifications will vary from company to company.
6. I know that modular homes are built to the same codes as site-built homes, but is financing any different?
There is no distinction between modular and site-built homes as far as appraisal or financing. Banks and lending institutions treat both types of construction the same. Likewise, there is no difference in insuring the modular property.
There is a listing of the modular manufacturers who belong to the National Association of Home Builders' Modular Building Systems Council. Most modular manufacturers market their homes through local builders of developers. This is because modular manufacturers are just that, manufacturers of components. They rely on the experience of builders in the local community to assist the homeowner in many areas including lot selection and site preparation. When dealing with such a large purchase, it is always best to have expert advice.
Modular homes look like any other home. Today's building technology has allowed modular manufacturers to build most any style of home from a simple design to a highly customized contemporary. And, it doesn't stop with houses. Modular producers are busy building banks, schools, office buildings, motels and hotels. Chances are you've been in many modular structures and probably never realized it.