By Clark Howard, Channel 2 Action News consumer advisor
Today's news from WSB-TV
22, 2002 -- When you hear the term modular home,
you may think trailer home.
Well, now that couldn't be further from the
Dan and Millie Warren love their new home.
It may look like any other Georgia home, but it isn't.
"It's a modular home, which means that
it was built in a factory and then brought to our lot," said
"The home is actually completed in enclosed
sections, and delivered to a site where we erect the home
with a crane, and actually complete the dry-in construction
on site," said Grant Smereczynsky of Building Systems Network.
He built the Warrens' home. He's sold on systems-built
homes. In fact, he's building a sub-division full of them
in Toccoa, Ga.
"The house contains an average of 30
percent more building material than it's site-built competitor,"
said Smereczynsky. "The homes are better. They are built better.
They are built faster. And they are build stronger."
"No question about it," said Ray Banks,
a Winder County builder.
Banks has two modular
homes, and a traditional stick built home being
constructed side-by-side. It's his first try at the new building
He says it's no contest. The systems-built
homes are quicker and cheaper to build.
"We had these foundations done at the
same time," he said. "Identical. "That house is ready for
carpet. You see that hasn't even got the roof on it yet because
of the rain."
These homes come from the factory in completed
sections. How complete? Try sheet-rocked walls. Hardwood floors.
Kitchen cabinets, appliances, fully furnished bathrooms --even
the siding and the window shutters are pre-hung.
"The houses are complete at least up
to 90 percent in most applications," said Smerecyznsky.
The builder still has to hook up water and
power, add any decks or patios, build the garage, and complete
the inside finish work.
"This house is ready to move in to in
six weeks," said Banks.
So, are these homes built better than yours?
We hired a private home inspector to find out. "The railings
are tight," said Ron Marshall, a home inspector. Nice square
wall. The plywood in between the walls gives it more integrity."
Marshall found some cosmetic and sub-contractor
issues, but overall, he was impressed with the systems-built
"The integrity is definitely there,"
he said. "The exterior walls are thicker from what I' m looking
at than a regular stick-built house.
"I think it's the wave of the future,
The Warren's agree. "As of right now, the skepticism
is gone," said Daniel Warren.
"I'm glad we did it," said his wife.
home builders say this is the next evolution of home building.
They say just like the auto industry that went from building
cars by hand to the modern factories, it only makes sense.
If they can quality control their subcontractors
and the product, this will be a win- win for everyone.