What is a Modular Home?

What Does "Modular Home" Mean?

A modular home is simply a home built offsite, in an indoor factory setting, to a local state code. In most cases, states have adopted the International Residential Code, or IRC. These homes are often called “factory-built,” “systems-built” or “prefab homes.” A modular home starts out as sections, or modules, that have been built in a climate-controlled area and then transported to the building site and assembled, often with the help of cranes. This assembly process can be likened to building with Lego blocks. A high percentage of modular homes in the U.S. are built by traditional manufactured home manufacturers with same assembly line production system utilized in producing HUD code homes, but built to IRC standards for factory-built homes. These factory-built homes are usually single story with two or three completed sections, requiring minimal site assembly other than mating of the sections.  Home modules are primarily built “on-frame,” with the frame and chassis removed after transport to site. “Off frame”requires sections to be hauled on flat bed trailers and usually requires crane services to assist with home placement.

A modular home will be equal or superior in construction quality and have a price considerably less than a comparable site-built home. Because they are built indoors, they can be completed in a matter of a few weeks, as opposed to months. Additionally, they don’t see the typical on-site delays caused predominantly by weather or climate-related problems. Modular homes are permanent structures, that is to say – “real property” – and as such, qualify for same financing terms, rates, and conditions as site-built homes. If you’re in the market for a new home, we invite you to learn more about modular home financing.

A Modern Solution

Modular homes are to the housing industry what electric vehicles are to the car industry. These homes simply save money and make sense on a practical level. Once assembled, modular homes are surprisingly hard to tell apart from a stick-built home.

Modular home construction starts in a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, which lets the manufacturer oversee a much more controlled building process. Many modular homes are reported to operate at least 15% more efficiently than a conventional home. When it’s delivered to the site, the home is about 80-90% complete in terms of construction. All that’s left to do is put the pieces together, make sure everything’s connected, and perform finishing work. The modular home construction process lets us do drywall, flooring, cabinetry, plumbing, and electrical work in a much more regulated environment, which means tighter tolerances and less room for error.

A better building process

Prefab homes are truly a testament to efficiency, technological advancement, and quality control. When you shop for a home on ModularHomes.com, this becomes clear right from the start, when you first begin to design your dream home. Once your local builder has approved your designs and made sure everything is in line with your exact requirements, the building process begins.

The modular home factory is founded on proven assembly line techniques. Your new home will go from station to station, each one representing a building trade operated by a master craftsman. Work on your home is never delayed by bad weather, a lack of materials, or poor performance from a subcontractor. Every stage of production is carefully monitored day in and day out, and a continuous quality assurance process means that your home is going to be 100% up to spec and code-compliant. All these things come together to ensure the highest possible level of quality. 

Modular homes are superior to stick-built homes in more ways than one. They’re built with 20-30% more materials than traditional homes because they need to withstand transport from the factory to your homesite. In a FEMA study conducted after Hurricane Andrew in 1992, it was found that wood-frame modular homes in Dade County, Florida, survived the brutal winds much better than stick-built counterparts. The finding stated that “Overall, relatively minimal structural damage was noted in modular housing…” The report went on to point out that modular construction “provided an inherently rigid system that performed much better than conventional residential framing.” 

In general, it’s also true that modular home construction lends itself to being highly adaptable. In other words, no matter where you live, modular homes make sense because they can be built to suit any environment or climate.

Because modular homes are built in a factory, their construction is free from the slowdowns that stick-built homes face, like bad weather, theft, and vandalism. This is important for two reasons that directly impact you as a home buyer — shorter construction time and lower costs. To top it off, many if not all of the components that go into building your home are purchased by the manufacturer in bulk quantities from suppliers. These savings are then passed on to you!

Anything but a mobile home

Mobile homes are often associated with cheap trailers. Modular homes are NOT mobile homes, so don’t be confused! Furthermore, unlike manufactured homes, which are regulated by HUD Code and required to be built on a fixed steel chassis, modular homes are free from this restriction. That means that your design options are virtually unlimited, and your home can be any shape or size and still meet your local IRC code. The bottom line is that modular homes are just like any traditional building, except that they come pre-built in sections.

Free from on-site problems

In addition to the overwhelming cost savings that factory construction provides, modular construction is a benefit when it comes to the final assembly process. Once your home modules are transported to their final destination, the work of putting your home together requires fewer subcontractors and the stress upon the surrounding community is drastically decreased. It’s hard to overstate just how many benefits modular construction brings to the customer, the community, and the envionment in general.

A smarter choice, period.

By now the benefits of modular construction should be clear. Overall, a modular home offers you the design flexibility and customization options at a price that’s nearly impossible to beat. Combine that with a better building process and inherent cost savings and the choice to go modular starts to make a lot of sense. Make the right choice – choose modular!

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