Why build modular?
Modular homes have become a much-discussed topic over the last ten years. Company’s like Blu Homes, Plant Prefab, Connect Homes, and hybridCore Homes have made waves with new technologies and a new way to build. What makes a home modular and why is it better?
First, to completely recognize the benefits of modular, it’s helpful to understand the vocabulary. Terminology like modular, manufactured, mobile, prefab and panelized get tossed around as synonymous but they are quite different.
Manufactured homes or mobile homes are not placed on permanent foundations. Their building code is governed by the HUD code and is of a lesser quality than modular homes. The buyer and builder should be very discerning of the difference between manufactured and modular.
Panelized houses or kit homes are projects where the walls or portions of the home are constructed off-site and delivered to be assembled. Often times pricing of these panelized or kit homes is seemingly very attractive but negates the additional cost of assembling and infrastructure like plumbing, electrical and HVAC.
Modular homes encompass the category of prefab. Prefabricated homes, or prefab for short, are homes that are built off site and transported to be set on the foundation. Modular homes are built to the same conventions and materials that stick built homes would be. Modular homes also allow the same flexibility in design such that there are no limitations when it comes to designing a modular home. When it comes to financing, modular homes appraise and finance the same as conventional construction.
The Benefits of Modular Construction
Now that you know the difference between the options, what makes modular better? Most importantly, modular homes are built in a factory within a controlled environment. The build is not subject to weather or delays commonly associated with conventional construction. Crews can work year round and produce the modules at incredible speed.
The time it takes to complete a modular build is about half the time of conventional construction. Once the factory is finished, the modular is set down onto the permanent foundation often using a crane. Homes may consist of any number of modular boxes. Most of the modular home is completed in the factory including windows, cabinets, countertops, plumbing fixtures, lighting, and paint. This reduces the amount of time that the contractor spends on site.
Since modular factories are often high volume producers, home builders can get an economies of scale they wouldn’t normally receive building a single family home. This often translates to cost savings of modular homes vs conventional construction. It is especially highlighted in areas where the labor force is constrained resulting in extremely high build costs. Modular factories are not subject to local labor rates and shortages that can impact build costs.
So, the question facing all new construction, why not build modular? For a process that doesn’t require any design concessions, ends up being faster and cheaper to construct, and appraises and finances the same as conventional, it seems like a no brainer to pursue modular. We will continue to educate people about the benefits and how they can build their dream home the better way.