There are some similarities between building a traditional build on site home and constructing modular homes, however, the process is completely different.
We’ve prepared this guide so you can get started on the path of owning your very own modular home and to assist you to become familiar with the modular build process.
1. What is a Modular Home?
Essentially a modular home is a building constructed in the controlled environment of a factory. Just like the car you drive, your cell phone and the computer or mobile you’re reading this on, your modular home would be built in a factory. Factory building means a higher quality product, less time to build and cost effective build system. Factory manufacturing is accepted as a solution for constructing most things we use today, so why not a house?
The current building industry hasn’t essentially changed in over 150 years. Archaic building methods lead to less quality (leaky houses are a prime example), slower build times and higher costs.
“Modular manufacturing is about creating a quality replicable process.”
Like the car you drive or the computer you use, and even most likely the clothes you are wearing right now they are most likely manufactured in a quality controlled process. Manufacturing has come a long way in a relatively short space of time and the technology and infrastructure now exist to bring this home building methodology to the market on a scale not seen before in New Zealand.
Modular Building is not the product, it is the means to produce a product in the most efficient way possible. This leads to higher quality, lower cost and faster delivery times.
Modular buildings are sections, or “modules” of a house that are made and assembled in a factory setting, prior to getting transported to the construction site. There are multiple modules of the house that are manufactured through this method. When the modules are completed, all the modules are assembled together onsite. Nowadays, this modular building method is widely used in New Zealand and most other developed and developing counties around the world.
All Modular Homes still need to be designed and built to meet the NZ Building Code standard NZS3604, need a building consent, and undergo regular inspections throughout the build process. Like all houses build in New Zealand, they receive a final inspection and receive a COC – Certificate of Completion.
2. The process of Making Modular Homes?
Building modular homes is something that presents significant technical challenges, however these challenges are outweighed by the advantages of faster build times, more cost effective housing and a higher quality product.
The modular sections are built in a factory with specialised equipment and the appropriate fixed infrastructure. Once each module is completed, it is transported to the site and place on the foundations to be assembled into a completed house. With modular homes, about 90-95% of the building work is done in the factory and then final assembly is completed onsite.
While creating modular buildings, it is essential to have a well-designed and engineered plan. When sections of a building are being made in a different place, there is always a possibility of inaccuracies. Sometimes, even the most minor mistakes like a misalignment can cause major fitting problems onsite. Process Quality Control are put in place to ensure that all modules are built to within very small tolerances, typically 0.5mm.
3. Financing of Modular homes
There are banks in New Zealand that specialise in providing loans for modular house builds. Specialised brokers such as NewBuild finance also provide services in this area and are specialists at putting deals together that benefit the customer.
An example of a Modular Homes factory in the USA
4. The Advantages of Modular Homes
One essential advantage of modular construction development over site-assembled is that modular homes are built with a higher level of quality control. Each module of the house is made in exactly the same manner each time, leaving out the risks of manufacturing or calculation errors. Each module goes through a rigorous quality control check before delivery to site.
Similarly, homes built in a factory are safe from any environmental damage that could potentially affect the construction process like rain, or excessive sunlight causing wood to warp.
Lastly, modular homes are more affordable than site-constructed homes because of the efficiencies offered by factory manufacturing, economies of scale and efficient build practises.
Modular Homes offer far faster build times than traditional building methods because all building is concentrated in one place and is more intensive in the building process. All materials are in the same place and not needed to be transported to site individually.
Other benefits include less building waste, more sustainable building practises, higher level of building precision, more efficient use of materials and better designs.
5. Construction Time for Modular Homes
The size and design of the house ultimately decide how long it will take for it to be built; however, the general guidelines of factory manufacturing is the completion of the project should be done in around one to two months. Once the completed and transportation to site is completed, then the final flashings are installed and services connected. In most cases landscaping such as fencing and lawns are laid as the last stage in the completion of the home.
Overall, modular housing is a great option for individuals that want to create their dream homes in a in a cost effective, less time consuming and more sustainable way. The modular construction option gives clients a complete way to customise their spaces while being inexpensive and faster than on-site construction.