Alex Levin posted an article Is Modular the Model for You? Modular Building vs. Traditional Construction on blogcritics.org on November 30, 2011. Below is the well written article identifying the pros and cons of modular homes. A full version of this article can be found by clicking here
Modular homes have come a long way in a short time. Once synonymous with trailer parks and shabby construction, most modern designs bear little to no resemblance to a classic double-wide.
Long gone are the days when the only choice was a box-like exterior with a dirt-cheap finish on the inside. Today’s manufactured homes feature designs that include second floors, elegant gables, and hardiplank siding, as well as luxury bathrooms and gourmet kitchens. However, this choice also has its fair share of drawbacks; consider both the pros and cons when contemplating a modular home.
Pros of Building Modular
Lower Cost: In the vast majority of cases, a modular home costs 10 to 20 percent less than a traditional home of the same size and with the same features because much of the waste and subcontractor expense is factored out of the equation. Of course these savings may vary based on the cost of labor and building supplies in each area, but in general prefabricated homes are more affordable options than their predecessors. Because of these savings, many decide to seek modular homes as they’ll free up room in a budget for custom interior designing and the purchase of high quality appliances.
Construction Speed: Modular homes can be move-in ready in much less time than any other housing option. Unless you order from a company with a backlog, current estimates show that modular construction can be completed in 65 percent less time than a traditional construction project. Those who have undergone home improvement updates know the speed at which your project moves along is vastly contingent upon who is performing the work. Finding reputable contractors is most important to how your project will turn out and whether it is done within your contract’s timeframe. Obtaining referrals and ensuring the crew performing the work holds a construction bond and is licensed are important steps in researching their professional reputation.
Assembled Out of the Weather: Although modular homes are constructed much like site-built homes, one of the primary differences in their manufacturing is that modular homes are built inside an enclosed space rather than on site. This keeps everything free from the elements until the structure is complete. Following this, the homes are broken down into modules for transportation and reassembly. They are, once again, protected from the weather as they are sealed and waterproofed until they arrive at their destination. Unlike traditional home building, this prevents any fear of unexpected storms or natural disasters delaying the finish of your home as well as the cost of damages.
Variety: Modular homes come in thousands of design choices, from small park models that resemble ski chalets or log cabins to massive homes with bonus rooms, master retreats, and spa-like glamour baths. Many models allow you to customize the floor plan within limits, and some even have additions for garages and basements.
Cons of Building Modular
It’s Not Stick-Built: This is one of the main arguments against building modular. Building modular will not be stick-built; this refers to a home constructed entirely or almost fully on-site. Proponents of stick-built homes prefer their custom look and uniqueness as opposed to a manufactured structure.
Limits to Customization: With a traditional home, the design options are virtually unlimited. As long as you have the funds and there are no legal restrictions, you can hire an architect to create plans for a one-of-a-kind home with any feature you can imagine. Even when using premade blueprints, it’s easy to change things around. Although modular homes offer many floor plan options and some customizations, most factories are limited to how much they can vary the outside structural look of modular buildings.
Not Allowed Everywhere: Many developments will not let you place a modular home on a site under their control. Before purchasing a building lot with the intention of buying a modular home, check all local ordinances as well as the rules of the homeowners’ association and the deed to the property for restrictions.
Although there is no clear answer to which option is best in every circumstance, modular homes and traditional homes offer a variety of options to their owners. Funding, design aesthetics, and legal restraints should all be weighed before deciding between stick-built and modular homes.