Home-ownership is one of the most fundamental milestones in anyone’s life. There’s always the option to buy a pre-built home but its main downside is the lack of customizability.
Construction is the ideal way to control the minute details of your home and decide the house’s final look. When it comes to choosing a construction method for your home, modular construction is definitely worth considering.
What is Modular Construction?
Think of a modular home as a sort of Lego home in the sense that it’s built at an offsite location then assembled at the building site. The home typically starts as modules or sections, built in a climate-controlled location which is finally assembled with the aid of cranes.
The concept of modular homes began back in the 60s following experimentation with several skeleton structures that could be installed and uninstalled in sections. Over time, the use of modular construction has steadily gained traction as a growing number of people opt for this method when putting up their homes.
Modular Construction Versus Prefab Construction
A lot of people use modular construction and prefab construction interchangeably but there is a significant difference. Modular construction adheres to standards known as International Residential Code (IRC) while prefab construction, also known as manufactured home construction, follows home construction standards set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The HUD code was established in mid-1976 and oversees other local building codes. That means that during prefab construction, all 50 states and the counties therein have to accept the HUD code, even if there’s a conflict with the local building codes.
Once home construction is HUD-approved, local agencies can’t change the process to comply with their regional regulations. Since modular homes are built under IRC codes, they only have to comply with the state’s building regulations.
How HUD and IRC Standards Vary
The main difference between HUD and IRC standards is that homes built under HUD codes must possess a permanent steel chassis. The purpose of this chassis is to help transport the house to its final site. IRC-standard houses lack a chassis and must, therefore, be set on a permanent foundation. HUD codes are notably stricter than IRC codes and dictate parameters of the home, including the minimum square footage of the bedrooms, the ceiling heights, the number of windows the house needs, and how many outside doors the house needs.
What Makes Modular Construction Better?
Modular construction is considered as a more complete type of construction. The modules are manufactured in a factory and shipped to the construction site using a flatbed truck. There is a range of boxes that you could order, with some people ordering an empty box that’s then completed on site. Other boxes come with some built-in appliances and utilities such as flooring and appliances.
Versatility aside, modular homes are also quick to set up. Depending on factors such as the location, size, and complexity of the structure, modular construction takes a significantly shorter time than site-built homes. Estimates put the overall completion time of modular homes at 50% less than their site-based counterparts. That’s largely because the assembly of individual parts is independent of the weather, which improves efficiency and lowers the risk of damage.
Modular construction is also kinder to the environment. On-site homes are notorious for the often-copious amounts of waste they produce during the construction process. Modular construction utilizes materials in a far less profligate manner, with components such as drywall, wood cut-offs, and wires all actively recycled. You can also place a separate modular unit on your property, behind your house for example, to use as a game room, office or even for a full-time caregiver.
Additionally, with modular home construction, you’ll enjoy longer warranties on your structure. On-site structures usually have a 12-month warranty. Modular homes enjoy at least double that warranty, with some homes having as much as a ten-year warranty. Modular manufacturers can even add warranties to parts of the home such as the mechanical and structural systems.
All in All
Modular homes are steadily cementing their place as excellent alternatives to traditional on-site homes. As the world evolves, so are building patterns and modular homes are the future of residential real estate construction. If you’re a prospective home builder, modular construction is your best bet at achieving a quality structure in a considerably shorter time. Now, who wouldn’t want that?