Why Modular Construction?
Mod•u•lar (adj): made up of separate modules that can be arranged, placed, or easily interchanged.
A Modular Home: The term "modular" is a method of construction, not a type or style of a home. The difference comes from where the home is built, not how. Nearly 90% of the home is built in an environmentally controlled factory. The modular method of construction offers buyers higher quality and more amenities for their housing dollar as compared to other methods of construction.
Please Note: The standards listed herin are solely those of Connecticut Valley Homes and will vary with other modular builders.
* THE FACTORY ADVANTAGE:
- A factory environment helps organize and streamline the construction process.
- Components are built and assembled with greater consistency and higher quality.
- Allows for higher, and more frequent, levels of inspections and quality control.
- Factories continue building regardless of weather.
- Protects building materials that should not be exposed to the elements.
- Modular homes are manufactured in the USA using many American made products.
* THE WORK FORCE:
- Factory workers perform at a higher level because they are more closely supervised.
- Factory labor tends to be more stable and reliable.
- Production is not delayed due to sick time or job vacancies.
* THE EQUIPMENT:
- Modular factories are able to use more accurate and sophisticated equipment.
- Walls, ceilings, roofs and floors are built using precision jigs to ensure accuracy.
- Modular homes are built exactly as designed. All corners, walls and floors are square and plumb.
* THE FRAMING MATERIALS:
- The kiln-dried framing materials used must be high quality to function with precision equipment.
- Kiln-dried lumber minimizes twisting, nail-pops, warping and the growth of mold.
- Manufacturers inspect all lumber shipments and reject loads that don’t meet their specifications.
- Lumber suppliers make a greater effort to meet the manufacturers need for high quality material.
* CLIMATE CONTROL:
- Building in climate controlled conditions enables the manufacturer to avoid weather related defects and delays caused by rain, snow, and strong winds, freezing temperatures or searing heat.
- The controlled environment allows maximum year-round productivity.
- Increases productivity and eliminates poor workmanship due to ideal working conditions.
* BUILDING CODES AND
- Modular homes are built to meet or, more typically, exceed both local and state building codes.
- Third party inspections ensure both local and state code compliance.
- It is more economical for a manufacturer to build to the specifications of the most demanding state.
- Many site-builders build to the minimum state and local building code.
* PLANNING DISCIPLINE:
- When building a modular home all of the planning is complete prior to beginning construction. Poor planning almost always leads to expensive cost overruns and expensive work change orders.
- Delayed planning can add to construction costs when “allowances” are used to cover the cost of materials not yet chosen. The allowances are often adjusted higher when the basic “allowance” is not enough to cover what the customer wants.
* CONSTRUCTION STANDARDS:
- Modular homes offer unparalleled strength. They need to be strong enough to be transported safely over long distances at highway speeds then lifted by a crane and set on a foundation. Typical site-built homes could not withstand that amount of stress without significant damage.
- Exterior walls, framed with 2"x6" kiln-dried lumber coupled with ½" plywood exterior sheathing, provide added strength. Sub floors of 1-1/4” plywood (1/2” plywood over 3/4” plywood) with joints overlapped over 2“ x10“ floor joists adds additional strength.
- Wood bands are provided around all window and door openings to support window treatments.
- Floors, walls, roofs and ceilings are built on perfectly square jigs, which not only makes them truly square but also adds exceptional strength by precision joinery.
- Modular homes are built with separate ceiling and floor joists. This significantly reduces noise transfer between floors. A site-built, two story home makes the first story ceiling do double duty as the second story floor.
- Sheetrock is bonded to the framing using a sprayed on adhesive, which is considerably stronger than nails or screws and eliminates future nail pops.
- Using larger sheets of sheetrock, which may be impractical for site-builders, reduces the number of joints producing a finer sheetrock finish.
- Modular homes have survived without serious structural damage after being subjected to hurricanes and tornadoes. FEMA gave the following report on hurricane Andrew in Florida. “Overall, relatively minimal structural damage was noted in modular housing developments. The module-to-module combination of units appears to have provided an inherently rigid system that performed much better than conventional residential framing. This was evident in both the transverse and longitudinal directions of the modular building” (publication #FIA-22).
* ENERGY EFFICIENCY:
- One of the most cost-effective ways to increase energy efficiency is to reduce air infiltration, which is one of the biggest causes of heat-loss in winter and heat-gain in the summer.
- Reduced air infiltration, tighter construction tolerances and the use of high performance low “e” windows reduce energy consumption, provides for a quieter home, significantly retards the spread of fire, reduces moisture, which can produce mold and blocks bugs and rodents from entering the home.
- R-21 wall insulation with house wrap and R-49 ceiling insulation are standard specifications to reduce monthly energy costs.
- Modular construction is unique in that the home is built from the inside out. This allows the envelope of the house to be sealed around breaches that would be more difficult for site-built homes.
- Breaches can be sealed before the exterior plywood is installed, a virtual impossibility for site-builders.
- The EPA’s Energy Star program. The goal of this program is to promote greater energy efficiency in new home construction. Ask each manufacturer which energy star features they include as standard.
* GREEN BUILDING FEATURES:
- Precision building techniques send less waste to landfills than a typical site builder.
- Properly managed planning of material deliveries to the manufacturer reduces fuel use and hydro-carbon emissions.
- CRI green label indicates low chemical emissions from carpeting.
- Low VOC interior paint reduces emissions and improves indoor air quality.
- Use of PEX plumbing eliminates mined materials.
- Recycling programs for copper wiring, cardboard, drywall, white paper and more reduces waste.
- Use of scrap material as a heat source in the factory.
* QUALITY CONTROL:
- The superior quality of modular construction meets or exceeds both state and local building codes which helps streamline the permittng process keeping your move-in date on target.
- The state in which the home will be erected, and an approved independent inspection agency, reviews the proposed building plans. Once approved building can start. Site-Built plans rarely receive this much expert review since few local building departments have either the time or expertise.
- At the factory, modular homes are subjected to far more inspections than site-built homes. A quality assurance inspector monitors the work for code compliance and craftsmanship. An additional inspection by a State approved agency is performed before the house leaves the factory assuring the home meets or exceed State building codes.
- If problems are discovered they are immediately corrected at the factory reducing/eliminating costly field repairs, which could delay your move-in date.
- Local building inspectors of site-built homes are not required to inspect for quality craftsmanship, only minimum code compliance.
- Manufacturers use well-known, brand name products with longer warranties ensuring trouble free service.
- Wholesale distributors who supply modular manufacturers provide strong support to companies that do large volume purchases. This relationship benefits the modular home owner as few local site-builders can command as much attention from their suppliers as a modular manufacturer who purchase building materials for hundreds or thousands of homes each year.
* THE MODULAR BUILDER ADVANTAGE:
- Top quality modular builders employ their own draftsman, designers, set crews, construction crews and more to control the process and eliminate the need to rely on subcontractors and their schedules.
- Top quality modular builders provide a full range of services to help customers build their new home.
- Top quality modular builders have built a solid reputation for quality, value and service.
- Top quality modular builders forge long-standing relationships with a manufacturer or two.
- Customers are more likely to receive the best customer service a manufacturer has to offer when the manufacturer has a committed, long-term relationship with the builder.
* THE COST ADVANTAGE:
- The construction costs for quality modular homes are always fixed in advance of construction and generally cost less than site-built homes.
- Large volume purchases secures significant discounts reducing costs for the homeowner.
- Experienced factory workers in Pennsylvania are well paid with good benefits but do not command the wages of local professional trades in Connecticut. These savings are passed on to the customer.
- Organizing the construction process enables the factory crew to produce a home with greater efficiency.
- Less material loss: Weather does not damage material stored and built in a factory environment.
- Less pilferage and vandalism: Factories are more easily secured compared to open building sites.
- Less waste: Precision equipment using standardized dimensions provides for optimal use of materials.
* INTERESTING TID-BITS:
- Site-builders use many factory-produced components. Pre-hung doors, kitchen/bath cabinets and tops, molding, windows, sheetrock, toilets, faucets, electrical outlets, siding, shingles and etc.
- Many lenders favor modular homes because cost overruns are unlikely and the quality is predictable.
- Modular construction allows a home to be constructed much faster than site-built.
- The combined design and engineering services provided by the builder and the manufacturer are substantially greater than what is typically provided by custom site builders.
- Like all consumer products, learn what you are getting to understand who offers the best value.
- Best value is a combination of quality, features, service, experience and price.
* The standards listed herein are solely those of Connecticut Valley Homes and will vary with
other modular builders.