When looking to build a new home, you’re immediately faced with making decisions. Build the home on-site? Build it in a factory? What is the difference? What are your options?
When thinking about factory-built homes, make sure you choose the one that is right for you. Modular homes and manufactured homes are both built in a factory offering value, time efficiencies, and quality control to name a few. Both are then transported to your building site. That is where the similarities end. So how are they different?
- Modular homes conform to the same state and local building codes as site-built homes and often exceed the international residential code (IRC) that all new homes built in the U.S. must follow.
- Manufactured homes, formerly known as mobile homes, are not built to the IRC code, but to a less stringent code that is defined, maintained, and enforced by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Now also known as a “HUD” home, “HUD” requirements are set to a lower standard than the IRC code and were created to offer low-cost home ownership to more people.
- Modular is a method of building, not a type of home. It is custom-built in sections called “modules” offering design flexibility and can have multiple floors. Plans are approved by a structural engineer and must meet the more stringent requirements of the IRC code. Modular homes can be built in any style from traditional two-story colonials with multiple roof lines to modern styles with beautiful rooftop decks. Since modules are built entirely indoors, materials are not subjected to the elements of outdoor construction like weather, vandalism, theft, etc.
- Manufactured is entirely factory-built usually in one to three sections. Each section is built on a permanent steel chassis to support the frame. A manufactured home is all one level since the chassis is unable to support more weight. Because the steel frame is part of the structure and acts as part of the foundation, far less lumber is required during construction and it is much cheaper to “install” at the site.
- Modular - Wrapped in weatherproof material, loaded onto truck beds, then transported to the building site. Each module is then picked up by a crane, assembled by skilled set crews onto a permanent foundation and finished by local builders.
- Manufactured - Built on a non-removable steel chassis and transported to the site on its own wheels which can be detached after towing and can or may not be placed on a permanent foundation. Multi-section homes are joined at the destination and little work is required on site.
- Modular building inspections are done at the factory and by local inspectors on-site making sure the structure meets local requirements and that finish work is done properly. Quality inspections are also done at the factory which typically does not happen with homes constructed on site.
- Manufactured structures are checked by building inspectors for the work done locally such as the electric hook-up, but they are not required to approve the structure.
Cost and Resale Value:
- Modular homes will increase in value much like its site-built counterpart.
- Manufactured homes are generally less expensive than modular and tend to decrease in value. A manufactured home may be more difficult to refinance since it is not attached to a fixed foundation. Also, keep in mind that there may be residential zoning restrictions for manufactured homes in your area so placement in certain neighborhoods could be difficult.
Modular homes and manufactured homes both share the same efficiencies and value that factory-built homes offer, but since they are constructed differently and designed to meet different code requirements, they are built for two very different home buyers. If choosing a manufactured home, be sure to make the right choice.
If you would like to learn more about modular home styles, floor plans, and modular construction, please visit our website www.ctvalleyhomes.com.
In business since 1981, we have built over 1,550 homes throughout Connecticut, Rhode Island, Block Island and Fishers Island. We specialize in designing and building custom modular homes to fit your location, needs, and budget whether it’s coastal or inland.
Our philosophy is to “build a well-designed, quality constructed house that is a joy to live in.”