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Modular or Factory Built Housing Industry


Factory Built Housing Manufactured homes and modular homes are both completed in the factory in approximately one-third of the time it takes a stick built home to be completed.   This eliminates the possibility of on-site construction related damage, bad weather, back-ordered materials, construction financing and unreliable contractors.   There are other advantages to this construction method as the availability of skilled labor, materials and energy become scarce.   Additionally factory construction allows the builder to reduce payroll through need for fewer employees, enables simultaneous activities where site built doesn’t, shortens financial constraints on customers and builder due to reduced length of construction, reduces on-site losses due to vandalism and waste and generally adds flexibility and precision in design due to in-house AutoCAD engineering department.

While both types of housing are under the umbrella of “factory-built”, the difference between manufactured and modular is akin to the difference between apples and oranges—same family but very different characteristics.   One of the common mistakes for homeowners, realtors and lenders alike is to use the term “modular” to interchangeably describe manufactured homes, mobilehomes, and modular construction.

The Modular homeManufactured homes are built in a factory on a permanent chassis to a preemptive code and all of the design and engineering criteria including wind, seismic, roof load, floor loads are built to a national standardized criteria.   Under the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) code, manufactured home fabrication supersedes the requirements of the local building jurisdictions.   Because the requirements for set-up can vary depending on whether a homeowner or borrower wants permanent or more temporary housing, manufactured housing is generally less expensive and the permit process can be less restrictive and time consuming.   However, financing a manufactured home does have greater restrictions.  For that reason, it is generally recommended you use a manufactured home lending specialist.

Manufactured homesThe Modular home is also constructed in the factory but it is built to the same building code used by conventional site builders so the code will vary depending to the local building jurisdictions.   Because the home is always installed on a permanent foundation, the cost may be higher for the more substantive and permanent installation, but the pre-fabricated building offers distinct advantages from a financing standpoint.   In essence, the pre-fabricated building is considered an equal to the site built home with regarding to financing.    There are many other advantages.   Because the construction takes place within a factory, it eliminates the possibility of damage from weather and allows the materials to be assembled in a climatically controlled environment.   With the growing concern about mold, this possibility is eliminated during the construction process.    Unlike manufactured homes with standardized design criteria, applications of size and style are unlimited as the units are totally customizable.—so possibilities range from cozy cottages to apartment buildings!

Effectively mobilehomes are exactly the same as manufactured homes except they were built before the Federal Manufactured hOme Construction and Safety Standards (HUD Code) or built prior to June 15, 1976. Mobilehomes are usually placed in a park community or land for permanent residence even if the land is leased.

Pre-Cut Homes
Housing that is constructed on-site from materials cut to fit and furnished in a factory. Kit, log and dome homes are all pre-cut homes. These units are required to conform to state regulations and local building codes. The advantage of the precut home is the quality control provided by factory assembly and faster completion time.

Panelized Homes
This is composed of prefabricated panels built in a factory. The panels contain whole walls including interior wiriting and exterior siding. State regulations and local building codes that are in effect where the unit will be located govern the construction.

House Trailer
Trailers are at least 8 feet wide with permanently attached wheels pulled by a car or truck and used as a temporary or vacation dwelling.

Park Model
Park Model trailers, although considered recreational vehicles because they are transportable, are primarily designed for long-term or permanent placement at a destination where an RV or mobile home is allowed. They are under 400 square feet and the wheels and axles must remain on the chassis. When set up, park models are connected to the utilities necessary to operate home style fixtures and appliances. Park models are popular with people for use as a cottage, vacation or within a retirement community.

OnTheLevel is happy to direct you to competent companies to meet your manufactured and modular home needs for one home or an entire project, including the financing for your factory-built home.