How Modular Homes Are Built: A Quick Guide


How Modular Homes are Built: A Quick Guide

In Canada, building a modular (or "prefab") home means hosting a housewarming party early. Unlike traditional on-site construction projects, modular homes are prefabricated in a factory. As a result, the building timeline isn't affected by weather-related delays.

Modular homes are affordable, customizable, environmentally friendly, and energy-efficient. Even though this construction method has been around since the 1970s, in Canada, it became especially popular in the last couple of decades. Between 2009 and 2020, the number of certified manufacturers rose from 85 to 147.

If you are thinking about building a modular home, this quick guide can help you understand what to expect.

1. Preliminary Ideas and Design

When you decide to create a modular home, you need to come up with a preliminary design. You don't need to be a professional designer to do it. However, you should have an approximate idea of how many bedrooms and bathrooms should be inside your dream home.

Once you have a rough sketch of the house, you can estimate its size and approximate price. Even though the cost of a prefab home depends on various factors, you can expect to pay around $150 — $200 per square foot.

2. Working with a Designer

While a DIY design seems to be a good choice, it's easy to miss numerous nuances that only professional designers can discover. To achieve top results with your new modular home, it's imperative to run your sketches and ideas by an expert.

Designers can suggest workable solutions to ensure the integrity of your home while improving its functionality. Stress the importance of limiting the designer's work to your initial preferences and budget. Otherwise, you may end up with a much larger and more expensive design.

3. Preparing the Site and Budget Planning

Before you delegate the home building process to a modular home manufacturer, you need to take care of the preparations. This work includes:

  • Choosing the right location for your home and buying land. You need to make sure that the land you buy is suitable for modular home construction.
  • Obtaining the necessary building and construction permits.
  • Building the foundation and crawlspace/basement (if you plan to build a basement, you need to coordinate the dimensions with the home manufacturer).

When you get estimates for a modular home, none of the above work is included. Make sure to plan your budget accordingly. The time it takes to complete the preparation phase depends on you. It can take from several weeks to several months.

Additionally, consider the work to be done after installation:

  • Technical installations — heating, ventilation, electrical hook-ups, sewage, plumbing, communications. You need to reach out to authorized local companies to arrange this work properly. They should be ready to provide these services once the house arrives.
  • Interior finish — once technical installations are completed and the house is installed, you need to work on such things as internal doors, floors, window trims, stairs, and much more. Consider finding the right companies in advance to speed up the process. While your Modsolid home will come with these finishes already installed and completed, and your home is move-in ready, this isn't always the case. Make sure that you clarify this so you know what to expect.

When it comes to modular home budget planning, unexpected issues may arise. Always make sure to leave 5% to 10% of your budget for such occurrences.

4. Ordering and Building Your Home

To order your home, you need to find the right manufacturer. Things to consider when choosing a modular home provider are:

  • Costs — different companies in your area can offer different prices. Unexpected costs aren't a rarity (transportation fees, crane set up fees).
  • Timeline — how fast can the company deliver the house? On average, it shouldn't take more than 6 weeks.
  • Location — a manufacturer closest to your new home's location is usually a good choice.
  • Brands the manufacturer works with — from insulation to bath fixtures, it's important to know which companies provide the materials for your home.
  • Size — bigger manufacturers tend to charge less while smaller companies provide more personal attention and guidance.
  • Previous work — respectable modular home providers have portfolios. They can also offer you a tour of the factory.
  • References — the best reference for a modular home manufacturer is a house they built 10 or more years ago. How does it look now?

Once you choose a provider, order your home, and sign a contract, the engineering design phase will begin.

Depending on the size and complexity of the house, the design can take between 4 and 10 weeks. Once it's ready, manufacturers can start the production process, which is rarely longer than several days.

5. Installing Your New Modular Home

Once the modules or elements are ready, the company will start shipping them to your location. The transportation will be arranged in stages to accommodate the gradual installation process.

Transportation costs may not be included in the initial estimate of home construction. A buyer may also be responsible for arranging a crane. It's imperative to discuss the transportation and installation process with the provider separately.

Once the home is installed, you can arrange all the necessary hookups like electricity, plumbing, communications, and so forth.

Is a Modular Home Right for Me?

If you are looking for fast, green, and cost-efficient home construction, modular homes can be an excellent choice. People who prefer brand new and highly customized homes with a reasonable price tag often prefer modular buildings.

Modular home manufacturing is more predictable than traditional on-site construction. That's why it's much easier to get an accurate breakdown of costs and timelines before the project starts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How long does it take to build a modular home?

A: It takes 4 to 10 weeks to build a home in a factory and then 1 to 4 weeks to install it. The preparation phase may take anywhere from a few weeks to several months.

Q: How much does a modular home cost?

A: The average price of a modular home is about $150 — $200 per square foot. However, it doesn't include preparations, communication hook-ups, technical installations, interior finishing, and transportation. In the end, the actual manufacturing price is only about half of what you could be paying for the entire project.

For more information about building a modular home of your dreams, please contact us at any convenient time.

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