Modular housing has quickly risen in popularity these last few decades, with modular homes becoming more sought after due to their impeccable balance between convenience and quality.
As on-site construction becomes costlier by the day, many homeowners have turned to alternative ways of bringing their visions to life.
Modular homes are a departure, as they’re built inside a manufacturing facility and assembled on-site, cutting out a lot of time and costs.
Though modular (or prefabricated) construction is a significantly quicker and more straightforward process than traditional, on-site building, there are still some considerations you’ll want to keep in mind before taking on such a consuming project.
The following sections will take you through everything you need to know about building the modular home of your dreams. But first, let’s outlay the steps required to construct a modular dwelling.
Prepare Yourself (And Your Home Site) Adequately
While with traditional homes, the “preparation” phase is usually the least time-consuming, when it comes to prefab homes, this is where most of your responsibilities and commitments lie.
Preparing to build a new house is never an easy feat, and modular home preparation is no exception. Between the design, cost analysis, and endless consultations, chances are you’ll have to spend a few months refining your vision before placing an order with the manufacturing facility.
Here are some key factors you’ll want to consider when preparing to build a modular home:
Arguably the most crucial element in your decision-making process. Finding suitable terrain to keep the manufacturing costs as low as possible when constructing a modular home can be challenging. Therefore, when choosing the right location for your house, it is always best to consult an expert specializing in the field.
Local Legal Requirements
Every locality has its own set of laws and regulations regarding construction practices.
Considering that modular homes are a relatively new trend, their legal requirements might be even more varied. Therefore, always check your local building codes beforehand to ensure you comply with them throughout the entire construction process.
We touched on the importance of a thorough cost analysis when preparing to build a new home.
Sometimes homeowners overestimate the potential savings they might make building a prefab home, often forgetting to consider the related additional costs such as special permits and extended consultations.
Though the manufacturer will build your home’s structure in a factory, the foundation should still be constructed on-site. Therefore, as part of your preparation, you should install your HVAC system (if planning on having one), along with gas, waste, plumbing, and electrical lines.
What To Consider Before Building a Modular Home
The preparation process doesn’t end with figuring out the costs and choosing a manufacturer.
Thus far, we’ve compared modular homes to traditional ones and described the former as a more time and cost-efficient alternative. However, because this construction method is still new, there are still challenges you want to consider before embarking on the project.
The Foundation and Structure Should Fit Perfectly
First of all, the pre-built foundation must be perfect before receiving your assembled house (or modules). If the base of the structure and the foundation don’t fit evenly, you can only imagine the hazards that could ensue.
It’s usually best to have the foundation and homemade by the same company, if possible. Otherwise, ensure the people you hire to handle these individual components are in constant contact to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
Obtain the Necessary Permits
By this point, you should be adequately prepared and ready to obtain the necessary permits.
Go through your local building code requirements and check the laws and regulations regarding modular homes. If necessary, consult a professional to ensure you won’t miss any of the fine print.
Many jurisdictions detail size requirements and the permissible materials and inform you whether your property will be correctly zoned. Naturally, you’ll want to go through that building code requirement with a fine-tooth comb, as the slightest issue could later derail the entire project.
After reading through the requirements, you’ll likely need to obtain a zoning permit. Once received, you’ll also need approval from your local code enforcement agency before proceeding with the preparation process.
This process entails a local governing body inspecting your building project and construction site to check whether they comply with the building code requirements mentioned.
Choose the Layout
Depending on how evolved your creative bone is, this can be either the most exciting or daunting part of the entire process. Still, choosing the layout is an essential step in building your dream home.
Luckily and contrary to popular belief, prefab homes are highly customizable, and you can choose any layout you like.
Unfortunately, most homeowners live under the false presumption that modular houses are off-the-shelf structures that you buy just as you would a new pair of pre-made pants—which couldn’t be further from the truth.
In reality, given that the construction will be carried out in a controlled environment, your customization options are even more vast with a modular home. However, as briefly mentioned, this comes with an added price.
When choosing a layout, consider that the more you customize and adjust your future home’s components and features, the costlier it will become. Therefore, when drawing your foundation, floor, and general site plans, be careful not to be over-ambitious if on a tight budget.