These days, there are numerous advantages to the idea of modular construction. However, this method of building has its drawbacks, too, that can cost you time and money if you’re not careful. Here’s an overview of the advantages and challenges of modular construction to help you make the right decisions for your next project.
Why go modular?
If you’re looking to build a custom home but don’t want to spend a small fortune, it may be time to consider modular construction. Why go modular? It’s less expensive than traditional construction, but still gives you control over your project. Here are some advantages and challenges to consider when going modular.
What is the lifespan of a modular home?
A well-built modular home has a lifespan that ranges from 60 to 80 years. This timeframe is just an estimate, though, as it will depend on several different factors: climate conditions, home maintenance and upkeep, geographical location, etc. If your modular home is built with high-quality materials and meets all local building codes for its area, you’ll be able to keep it for longer than other homes in your community.
How much more do they cost?
Generally speaking, modular homes are more expensive than stick-built ones. But how much more? That depends on many factors, including your market, labor costs and your actual design—so there’s no one answer. Some experts put it at 10% to 15%, but in a strong housing market with a tight labor supply (like Seattle), it could be higher than that—as much as 50%. On top of that, modular builders are typically limited to selling only in certain parts of the country—and not all regions are open for business. For example, R&D started out marketing its houses only in Northeast states; recently, however, they’ve started getting calls from customers around Phoenix who want to see a house before their land is even platted.
Where are they built?
Modular homes are built in a manufacturing facility where assembly-line processes can be used to reduce time and costs. The finished product can then be shipped from one end of the country to another, with no loss in quality along its journey. Modules are also built by local contractors, which allows for construction near to you (if you choose), so that your living space goes through a much smaller carbon footprint during transportation. And because you’re paying for individual modules as they’re produced instead of for an entire finished house at once, it’s possible to make changes as you go.
How long does it take to build?
Most modular projects take much less time to build than on-site construction, although there are some factors that influence how quickly a modular project can be constructed. Most importantly, you have to allow for a lengthy delivery period – most modular construction companies will take 4 to 6 months just to ship materials, so if you’re planning to move in before Christmas you may want to think about off-site building instead. On average, it takes about 2 months for your home or office building to be built once construction begins. If you’re moving offices from an existing site rather than starting from scratch, it may be possible to get work done over weekends and evenings.
How can I get my hands on them?
Buy a modular home from us, and you’ll have your choice of a 5-year warranty or a 10-year warranty. Regardless of which one you choose, we provide free repairs during that time period for any issues caused by workmanship or material defects. We offer a standard 15-year warranty on all systems (exterior, roofing, and foundation) for both modular homes and stick-built homes; but what sets us apart is our policy on major structural components.
Do you offer any guarantees?
This is a crucial question to ask any contractor. While some contractors may be willing to take on responsibility beyond their own project, you want to make sure that they are willing to do so in writing before you hire them. That way, there’s no confusion or surprises if they refuse. Knowing how long you can expect your project to last is also important – particularly if you plan on selling your home in a few years. Ask what kind of warranty options exist for future repairs so that you can plan accordingly.
What if I need maintenance done in years to come, will you do it?
Some contractors build in an extra amount to account for what they call TLC—maintenance in years to come. They say that a good, solid home should last at least 20 years before maintenance is necessary, but how can they guarantee that? Some will add on an extra 10% to their bid price if you want them to cover future repairs. Be sure to ask whether any such arrangement is included in your contract and understand if you can be expected to pay for any extras. If your house requires extensive rewiring or plumbing work after 15 years, don’t expect your contractor (or insurance company) to pay for it.