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Modular homes

Pre Fabricated Lifestyle

Face- less Facade: On first glance they are facsimiles of each other and it is only when one steps inside that owners individuality is established. The constructions are the stereotypical pre-fabricated Modular homes with a history dating back to World War II when end of hostilities resulted in a deluge of returning soldiers seeking homes.

The earlier designs were simple single or double room adobes clustered together and solving the immediacy of housing problem. In time these houses caught the fancy of Americans as inhabitants found them uncomplicated to purchase and maintain. Another reason for change in perspective was appreciating difference between modular homes and mobile homes. Mobile homes are residences on wheels whereas modular homes are basically 95% factory built houses fixed together on site.

When Sears, Roebuck & Company introduced their ''House by Mail" there were ready buyers for these environment friendly homes. The buyers found that time saving building techniques and innovative computer assisted sophisticated implements such as cranes that could lift 100 tons or more allowed for larger modules to be shipped across the country were better options than going in for traditional building techniques. Modular homes were successful in dunking the thin line dividing manufactured or site-built houses and now there are more than 100 companies in this business.

Fast Forward Selection:

Introduction of Lego Modular homes simplified house selection from a bouquet featuring Modular homes, traditional built-at-site-homes or if adventurous an

Uncle Toms cabin. Getting into building fixation is never easy as one has to consider construction costs, price of land, labor costs, loans and time taken. To certain extent pre fabricated modular homes help mitigate housing blues and according to Automated Builder magazine, modular constructions accounted for nearly 212,000 units in areas with high labor costs and winter blues of construction. The states with maximum modular homes are New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan with other states sprinting to catch up in numbers depending on labor availability and cost cutting techniques.

With modular homes one can afford to skip the wasted-hours to set foot in personal house. Whatever extra time is taken in setting up house is in designing and consultations with architecture and manufacturer. Once design is approved and order placed with manufacturing companies then within months or month the companys trailers transport loaded boxes to construction sites. An owner can move into new house within days depending on generic designs of box like structures and patterns or individualized models in different shapes and sizes. Majority modular homes flaunt custom designed interiors from floors, paints and roofing, kitchen, living and working areas and for someone using house for vacations only maintenance is then no problem. The changing patterns have brought modular homes to sophisticated neighborhoods and top-of line vacation areas.

Changing Needs:

Fashions change and in eagerness to be in crowd zero on changing habits and needs. Here we are not dealing with clothes or habits but living standards and for present generation is always on fast track, houses come under sub-heading of factory specials. They have no qualms in moving into two bedroom identical factory specials if in process save money to pay home loans or any other loans. On face value it is a rationalistic approach considering escalating real estate costs and for new entrant in job market or with extra economic burden cost saving on housing is important. Loans for modular homes by banks, appraisers and insurance companies are available on similar lines as regular houses. Another advantage of selecting modular homes is that they are factory constructed and have undergone stringent quality control checks and less prone or affected by natural elements. Another money saving advantage for manufacturer is that being precision-engineered there is very little wasted material such as wood and whatever is left over is generally recycled.

Initially, there was skepticism in accepting the factory specials and people shied away from staying on box like houses. The manufacturers and architects joined the fray of modular construction offering over 30 modules to gratify the growing demand for modular homes. The innovations turned the boxes into different shapes and sizes similar to traditional stick-built homes such as Colonial, Mediterranean or simple brick and stone finish with sleek minimalism or dome designs. Another advantage was once architects drawings were confirmed; there was requirement of minimum documentation. This is where seriousness of buyer and builder came into focus as once drawings and paperwork were approved and sent to manufacturer the molding work would begin on decided pattern. Adding or deleting is not possible once construction is underway and only possible addition is possible only to constructed houses. Secondly architects when making blue print for modular homes need to consider the manufacturing capabilities and capacities, orientation of rooms, accessibility of site as certain approach roads are narrow or curvy for trailers to get through, need for surrounding space to store trailers once they arrived and favorable neighborhood for family living. Traditional built at site homes can be altered and re altered but modular homes are 90-95 percent complete when shipped from factory and there is no scope for flip flops.

Computerized design techniques:

Allow buyers to select from wide range of styles and customize the homes according to personal taste. They can begin preparing meals with assembled kitchens with cabinets, appliances and counter tops all in place:

There is no need to move to hotel or friend if going in for additions and one can continue staying at home. Smaller additions, such as study or den, are not cost effective and it is only when larger extensions or additions are planned then only one should go in for this exercise. One spends more on manufacturing and towing the factory pieces to the home site.

Value for Choice:

Modular homes should not be confused with manufactured or mobile homes even though both are primarily assembled in factories. The difference is in standards and in designs that are set within state and local building codes. Manufactured homes follow federal standards with community restrictions whereas modular homes are constructed within local building codes and set up where ever ready built houses are permitted. Realizing the cost effectiveness even traditional homes are going the modular way with roof trusses and window elements pre fabricated along with interiors. With increasing number of manufactured Colonial or Mediterranean replicas dotting the skyline modular homes are no longer sore sites.

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