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Be Your Own Modular Home Builder

Jul 12, 2008
Because about 85 percent of a modular home is built in the factory before it arrives to your lot, many homeowners opt to be their own general contractor. This indeed has many advantages in additional cost savings and as well as control. By applying for a "sweat equity" finance loan there is a degree of savings, and overall being your own contractor can save you 10 to 30 percent in expenses. This makes this option attractive for some.

However, you will be earning your savings as you handle the tasks for which the builder is responsible. You will either complete or arrange subcontractors to complete several components of the site work and finishing work for your modular home. The following items are areas that will deserve your attention:

Land/Lot - Finding a lot for building is one of the earliest steps, but additional factors are required as well regarding the lot. This includes finding a surveyor to survey the lot, as well as an excavation crew to mold the lot according to where drainage patterns and clearing must occur. Also, a site plan drawn up by an engineer will be needed so that building permits can be obtained. This encompasses soil samples as well as drainage grades as well.

Foundation - Either a structural or foundation engineer will need to be contracted to assist with accurate foundation plans. Once designed, concrete services and framing will be needed to form the foundation accordingly. This is an important step particularly for modular homes.

Permitting - A laundry list of permits are needed including a building permit, electrical permit, foundation permit, etc. In addition, before completion, pest company evaluation of the soil and structure is needed, as well as a department of health inspection for many towns.

Crane and Set Crew - These may be provided by the manufacturer, but you are still responsible for overseeing their work and making sure they are available for the set-up process. You may decide to hire them outside of the manufacturer as this could save additional money; but be sure they are experienced in modular homes.

Connections and Finishing Work - Here you will need several subcontractors to assist with necessary items in completing your home after arrival. Subcontractors include electricians, plumbers, HVAC personnel, painters, flooring specialists, drywall repair experts, countertop installers, and possibly roofers. While the button up and tie in work is not vast, it is varied enough that an array of specialists are required.

Landscaping - This includes both "soft" landscaping such as plants, lawn and trees as well as "hard" landscaping such as driveways, walkways, decking and patios. Asphalt specialists may be needed for driveways as well as concrete or masonry specialists for other areas.

While this list is not entirely complete, it does cover the major areas. Compared to a site-built home, the task of being your own builder is far less challenging. Modular homes do facilitate your own involvement in being the builder which can save you a great deal of money in the end.
About the Author
Michael Zenga founded ZN Custom Building in 2002 which specialized in building modular homes in the Boston, MA area. Their Be Your Own Builder service always clients to act as their own building manager thus saving significant building costs.
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