by Sheri Koones
Modular houses are composed of one or more sections that are factory built, transported by truck, and set on a foundation. Modular houses may be made of two modules, as is the Sunset Breezehouse shown here, or they can be assembled from a kit of prefabricated parts.
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These houses can be built in any style. Even a log cabin can be built in modules. Some home buyers use the manufacturers' designs; others have the company customize those plans; still others prefer to hire their own architect.
Modular houses used to be perceived as cheap, hardly an improvement over a mobile home. But as design and construction improved, the trend has been toward custom houses that are larger and more architecturally interesting. This improved quality has been paralleled by more people purchasing modular constructions. In 1994, 109,000 modular houses were built in the United States. By 2004, the number had almost doubled to 206,000, according to an industry journal.
Saving Money, Time, Resources
Modular companies purchase materials in bulk, and savings are passed on to the consumer. Factories generally are located in areas with low labor costs, and money saved on labor further brings down costs.
Time savings is another factor. Most modular houses can be built in seven to ten days, set in a day or two, and completed in as fast as three weeks. The less time it takes to build, the lower the labor costs and the less time the homeowner must carry a construction loan.
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This article is excerpted from Prefabulous: The House of Your Dreams Delivered Fresh from the Factory by Sheri Koones, with permission of the publisher, Taunton Press, Inc.
The Sunset Breezehouse by Michelle Kaufmann Designs: modern, environmentally friendly, and prefabricated.
Photo: Tom Story, Sunset Magazine
A side module during construction in the factory.
Photo: Michelle Kaufman Designs
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