Frequently Asked Questions about Modular Homes

What Is A Building System?
Who Uses Building Systems?
What Is the Difference Between a Modular Home and a Panelized Home?
How Are Modular and Panelized Homes Built?
How Long Does It Take To Build a Modular Home?
Does Using a Building Systems Affect The Quality Of A Home?
Is A Modular Home the Same As A Manufactured Home?
How Much Design Flexibility Comes With Systems-Built Homes?
Who Will Finance A Systems-Built Home?
What Are The Cost Benefits of Systems Building?

 

What Is A Building System?
Simply put, a building system is a highly engineered construction method that produces buildings or building components in an efficient and cost-effective manner. The manufacturers of building systems seek to build the highest-quality product in a carefully controlled setting limiting exposure to adverse elements. The Building Systems Councils of the NAHB represent the interests of the builders, manufacturers and suppliers of concrete, log, modular, and panelized homes.

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Who Uses Building Systems?
Systems-building techniques are prevalent in residential and commercial construction. From one-story homes to high-rise apartment buildings and offices, more and more builders are implementing building systems technology into their structures.

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What Is the Difference Between a Modular Home and a Panelized Home?
While both employ similar construction technology, the main difference between a modular home and a panelized home is that modular homes are shipped to a home site nearly complete, while panelized homes may take more assembly. Most individual “modules” are finished rooms, complete with walls, flooring, ceiling, doors, windows, closets, stairs, and carpeting already assembled. Depending on the type of panelized home you choose, your manufacturer might pre-assemble the walls, floors, and other components, but leave the assembly of the panels to your builder.

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How Are Modular and Panelized Homes Built?
Modular and panelized homes begin as components that are designed, engineered and assembled in the controlled environment of a modern factory. Once assembled in the factory, the modules and panels are shipped via ground transport to the intended home site where a local builder takes over. Your local homebuilder will arrange and assemble the home’s components on a foundation. After the components are set and assembled, the builder can add customizations to the home, including decks, patios, masonry, and more.

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How Long Does It Take To Build a Modular Home?
Because of the manufacturing process and ease of assembly, modular homes can be finished in a short amount of time. Once all the materials for construction are received, some manufacturers can turn-around a 2,500 square foot home in just days. To assemble the modules, themselves, takes only a day or two with use of a crane. And, since a majority of the interior work is complete, including carpeting and wall finish, an experienced systems builder can complete a home in only a few weeks, typically.

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Does Using a Building Systems Affect The Quality Of A Home?
Yes, for the better! Not only are concrete, log, modular, and panelized homes built to the same local building code as “stick-built” homes, these types of building systems often exceed the building codes. Log, modular, and panelized homes must withstand the rigors of ground transportation, so manufacturers routinely reinforce the walls, ceilings, and other components to ensure the highest-quality product reaches its destination. Concrete homes are rising in popularity due to the highly durable and sustainable properties of the building material. Another benefit of using building systems is that the components are inspected before leaving the factory, virtually ensuring that there will be no unpleasant “surprises” during your walk-through.

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Is A Modular Home the Same As A Manufactured Home?
No. Manufactured homes, sometimes called “mobile” or “trailer” homes, are a different type of building system than log, modular, or panelized homes. Manufactured homes are constructed to a different building standard. This standard, the Federal Construction Safety Standards Act (HUD/CODE), unlike conventional building codes, requires manufactured homes to be constructed on a non-removable steel chassis. Many communities have restrictions on where manufactured homes can be located.

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Concrete, log, modular, panelized, and site-built homes on the other hand, are constructed to the same building code required by your state, county and specific locality and therefore are not restricted by building or zoning regulations. Your new systems-built home is inspected at the assembly plant during each phase of construction. Evidence of this inspection is normally shown by the application of a State or inspection agency label of approval.

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How Much Design Flexibility Comes With Systems-Built Homes?
A great deal. Most manufacturers have a portfolio of standard floor plans with a variety of personalization options. If you want to custom design your own home, many manufactures can be accommodating. With the advent of Computer Assisted Design (CAD) programs, homebuyers can work closely with their manufacturer to design their dream home. All manufacturers are unique, however, and engineering capabilities and product specifications will vary from company to company.

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Who Will Finance A Systems-Built Home?
Just about anyone! Since these homes are built to the same codes as stick-built homes, most banks and lending institutions treat both types of construction the same. In fact, some financiers have established departments specifically for systems-built homes. Similarly, there is no difference in insuring a systems-built property.

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What Are The Cost Benefits of Systems Building?
Owners of modular and panelized homes will see savings upfront and throughout the life of the home. Most manufacturers use state-of-the-art equipment and an efficient construction process to see that their homes are built with a minimum of excess waste and labor. When homes are delivered to a home site, they are assembled in less time than a stick-built home, greatly reducing the potential danger of inclement weather, theft, and workplace vandalism.

Over the life of the home, systems-built homes save money because they are incredibly efficient. Homeowners will realize savings on heating and air conditioning bills each year they live in a modular or panelized home. The Building Systems Councils and many members have detailed information on the cost savings affiliated with building systems technology.

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