A Modular Solution

Frequently Asked Questions

  1.   How long does it take to complete a modular home in the factory?
  2.   How long does it take finish a modular home on site?
  3.   Are prefabricated homes the same as modular, and what are panelized homes?
  4.   Are there any differences as far as building codes and does that affect re-sale value?
  5.   Can people tell the difference between modular and conventionally built homes?
      Are there any structural differences?
  6.   What kinds of foundation are used with a modular home and are these prefabricated?
  7.   How much does a modular home cost and what should I know about pricing?
  8.   What kinds of warranties are on modular homes?
  9.   What other expenses can be expected in addition to the modular home?
  10.   Can I design my own house or modify plans from a modular manufacturer?

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vs. Conventional

  1.   How long does it take to complete a modular home in the factory?
      The average modular home takes approx. 5 days to build. This can depend on the size and complexity. It takes another day or so to wrap and make the modular home ready for transport with all the loose materials packaged needed to complete the house. A more important question to be asked of the factory is how long will it take to get my modular home in production. Once the home is delivered to the site the modules need to be placed and/or erected by a crane on its foundation. Final completion can be by a modular dealer who is a local builder or a general contractor hired by the owner. The owner can act as the general contractor if he/she has the time and the acquired expertise. The general contractor hires the subcontractors that handle all the scheduled finish and site work. This consists of making connections from the utilities to the home and a list of site finish work. This can be completed in six to eight weeks and depends on the amount of work necessary to finish the job. The completion time is affected by the coordination of these specialties.   Return to top

  2.   How long does it take finish a modular home on site?
      The buttoning up or trim out process is usually handled by a local builder or a general contractor and includes connection to all of the utilities. What needs to be questioned is the general contractor's schedule and what needs to be accomplished. The specific building schedule is determined by the amount of necessary site work. If an assortment of site work is required to be finished like a deck, garage, finished basement and/or a finished second floor, this finish time can be considerable. The set is where the modular units (boxes) are craned and put in place. This usually requires between half to a full day of work depending on conditions on site and the number of boxes to be positioned.   Return to top

  3.   Are prefabricated homes the same as modular, and what are panelized homes?
      Prefabricated homes whose components work in a mechanized fashion to expedite the building process. This includes modular, panelized and other methods of construction. Panelized process consists of trusses and framing walls minus the finished walls, plumbing and electric. The panelized home is then finished like any other stick built home. Building systems are methods of building through the use of components that come together to produce a structure. These mechanized systems of building fabricate segments and or building components in a highly efficient and cost effective method. The use of building systems is a widespread process utilized by manufacturers of modular homes. Today this process is utilized in a host of different types of residential and commercial construction. A modular home is the culmination of building components that are combined to create an efficient building system. Prefabricated structures are assembled components in a controlled high tech factory environment in a systematic fashion. This is similar to the technological revolution of the assembly line that Henry Ford designed. The modular units (boxes) are assembled on your building site with the use of a set crew, heavy equipment and the necessary expertise.   Return to top

  4.   Are there any differences as far as building codes and does that affect
    re-sale value?

      A modular company builds to the highest building codes in the area the factory delivers to. This way the modular homes are always in code and production costs are standarized. As far as appraisals are concerned, modular and conventionally built homes are on equal footing. Modular homes and conventionally built homes are equivalent as far as equity evaluations are concerned. Since conventional homes are more expensive to build and modular homes are less expensive to produce, there is significantly more equity in a modular built home. Taking into consideration the cost of both methods of construction, there is a cost savings that can be passed down to the modular customer. Everything equal, I'd rather be in a modular home in a hurricane for one critical reason, structural integrity.   Return to top

  5.   Can people tell the difference between modular and conventionally built homes? Are there any structural differences?
      Modular homes have come a long way in the last fifty years. Employing the latest innovations in technology with the newest superior materials makes a powerful combination. This process creates a superior home on a consistent basis. With attractive designs encompassing gables, rooflines and bump outs, it is virtually impossible to differentiate between conventionally and modular built homes. Structurally modular homes use up to 35% more lumber than conventionally built homes. Each unit has to be structurally sound enough to be transported and moved in place as individual units. Each modular unit is built to be transported large distances and structurally strong enough to be craned into place. Design proficiencies refined by C.A.D. (computer aided design) have permitted modular manufacturers to build almost any style of home from a simple design to a highly customized contemporary home. Modular manufacturers are actively building hospitals, banks, office buildings, motels, hotels and any other structures that can utilize a modular building system. There is a likelihood you have been in several types of modular structures and never aware of it.   Return to top

  6.   What kinds of foundation are used with a modular home and are these prefabricated?
      Most modular homes need to have access to the bottom of the unit to hook up the mechanics. This includes the plumbing and electric and excludes the use of a slab. Other traditional methods are employed such as block and poured cement into a form. Crawl spaces can be utilized as long as there is enough room to access and connect the mechanics. Prefabricated foundations are becoming more and more popular due to their convenience of use. They can be assembled in inclement weather and be customized to any size. With high insulation factors, it can be an efficient and economical choice. The studs are nailed or screwed into the wooden basement frames of the sections of the wall. Prefabricated foundations are efficient, reliable and save time.   Return to top

  7.   How much does a modular homes cost and what should I know about pricing?
      Pricing varies greatly in the modular industry. Modular homes are built in various price ranges from starter houses to very intricate expensive houses. What increases the price of a modular home besides the obvious size and quality are the numerous upgrades. Options can be: flooring, windows, ceiling height, plumbing fixtures, upgraded cabinets in the bathroom and kitchen. These options can be numerous and should be prioritized to ensure you stay within your budget. Keep in mind that options and upgrades can always be done in a cost effective manner at a later date if properly planned for in advance. This means by creating space in the attic, basement and garage you can make future improvements reasonable and uncomplicated. For example, by planning on a future fireplace much of the work can be accomplished in the plans. The framing dimensions can be done in the factory; the location of the fireplace can be planned so there will be no obstructions in the installation. Due to those previous decisions there is no hindrance to installation of the fireplace and venting is accomplished easily. At a later date by making use of forethought you can achieve your future goals in highly cost efficient way. The best cost effective technique to add value to your modular home is to increase your home's size. Options can increase the prices of modular houses significantly and cost factors should be understood. A general rule is the closer you stay within the manufacturers standard equipment packages the more value you get in return. Fewer design changes and less site work required can minimize costs. By decreasing the up front expenditure the residual value increases. The delivery price should include the transportation, erecting, buttoning up, and crane costs. The site work that is required should also be calculated and added to the delivery price to get an approximation of final cost. Adding 5% to the total price is a cautious approach to approximating possible cost overruns.   Return to top

  8.   What kinds of warranties are on modular homes?
      Modular homes come with a warranty from the manufacturer and usually can be extended. Modular homes can be warranted from one to ten years depending on the manufacturer. A one-year warranty is fine, for the simple reason that what needs to be fixed will most definitely become crystal clear within a year. Modular homes in general carry a more comprehensive warranty than a conventional built home. In addition modular home warranties are more comprehensive and can be transferable. Appliances, fixtures and heating components carry the standard manufacturers warranty and can be extended according to the discretion of the consumer. Custom work from a contractor usually carries a year warranty, as does any additional site work. Additional warranties are available but one needs to weigh the need.   Return to top

  9.   What other expenses can be expected in addition to the modular home?
      The final cost will depend on the size, design and the necessary site work that needs to be completed. This will entail siding, completion of deck(s), garage, sheet rocking areas that will be joined (access areas for the mechanics), interior stairs, moldings, plumbing and electric. The final hook ups for the water, sewer and electrical have to be made to their particular outside connections to the home. Excavation is the process of clearing land, digging holes for the foundation, sewer, (possibly electric) and water. This is usually a set price but can become surprisingly expensive if you strike ledge and need to blast. Unexpected events cannot always be anticipated and sometimes the only way is to proceed with the building process. The use of a backhoe might be the only way to determine if heavy equipment alone can accomplish the mission. Blasting can add signifnantly to the expense of your building project. Being adaptive and flexible could be the solution to your dilemma. This might lead to the use of large amounts of clean fill or a decision to go without a basement. Unexpected obstacles can happen and all possible solutions should be considered before making a decision. These factors can play havoc on your budget and can be unforeseeable. A general rule is that cost overruns can be expected; having 5% in reserve is prudent strategy. That's better than the 10% in reserve for a conventional home that experts say you need. The above information should help you formulate a plan in case of cost overruns. Being cognizant of the possibility of cost over runs and making the right decision can go a long way in smoothing out the building process. This information should be helpful to you on how to estimate your final cost. A contingency plan can be an essential tool for coping with the unexpected. If the reserve money is not utilized it can be used for furniture, landscaping and or a well deserved vacation.   Return to top

  10.   Can I design my own house or modify plans from a modular manufacturer?
      Modular manufacturers can have a variation of interior plans using the same or similar exterior. Choices and/or a variation differ depending on the particular manufacturer. You can employ your own architect and devise an original plan or modify existing plans. The most cost-effective procedure is to explore what the manufacturer charges for design changes before hiring an architect. This can be a nominal price depending on the manufacturer. There are design limitations in building modular homes in regards to transportation restrictions. The most cost effective way to limit cost over runs and limit extra expense is to find a building plan close to what the manufacturer has available. Making a modular home larger is a good investment and effective way to stretch your dollar. Considering all things equal, modular homes are cost-effective especially if you limit expensive options.  
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Glossary of Terms


Home Styles

Dormers and Extentions

Panelized Homes and Additions

List of Cost Factors
The Modular
Construction Process

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