Today, we want to look at a method of construction that can be used for certain elements of the home to reduce construction costs significantly. This would be modular construction. A lot of people think this includes the entire home, but it does not. That, of course, is possible, but we are only speaking about certain elements of the home where this can be used that will help lower the overall cost by significantly reducing labor and storage costs.
What is Modular Construction?
Contrary to popular belief, these are not just glorified cookie-cutter boxes. There are certain times when modular construction can benefit new homeowners, especially if there are space restrictions where large stock supplies cannot be held. Using modular construction enables the builder to work on various sections of the home at the same time which that would not otherwise be possible.
Additionally, these modules are built to code, so you have no worries on that front.
There are two different types of prefabricated construction: permanent modular construction (PMC) and relocatable buildings (RB). RB buildings tend to be more business-oriented, while PMCs are meant to be put in place and not moved. Generally, a PMC is what you will be using if you decide to go this route.
Modular construction is very popular in large-scale construction where certain elements of the build are repeated, such as large apartment buildings and hospitals. Smaller contractors, however, are starting to make use of this practice in home construction. We have seen entire ductwork projects preassembled and brought to the site for installation.
As we noted above, there will be projects were storage is a challenge. This is an opportune time to use modular construction. The contractor can build that aspect of the project at a different facility, then move it to the properly when it is ready for the install. This can be done for a full home, as I am sure you have seen a house rolling down the highway at some point. I can still remember the first time I saw one, wondering how it was even possible to build an entire home, ship it to the location, then drop it down on the site.
Benefits of Modular Construction
One of the most significant benefits is the speed in which the project can be completed. Once the modules are dropped off at the construction site, they can be installed in a matter of days or weeks instead of weeks or months. Costs across the board are usually cut, which is especially true in areas that are subject to bad weather delays.
Quality is often better in these homes as well. Because of the controlled environment, the same workers are building the same thing day in and day out, which his not always true for construction crews. These modules are often built to higher standards, in fact, because they have to be able to withstand the handling and transportation from the site to the construction site.
Materials costs are also going to go down because there is significantly less waste in modular construction. Because various projects are being worked on at once, scrap for one job can be used for another, reducing overhead costs. You are also not losing materials to bad weather after being exposed to the elements.
That leads us right to our next benefit, which is having the home built in a controlled environment. There is no rain, no changing temperatures, etc., that can damage or impact the inside elements of the construction while it is happening. I remember seeing a construction site that had been completely framed and drywalled when a major storm hit and the tarp came off, exposing the inside of the home to outdoor elements. This is when issues such as mold and other moisture issues can be present from day one.
We realize modular construction is not for everyone, but for those with a lower budget who want to control costs with lean construction, this is a very viable option.