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Modular Home Timeline

Jul 18, 2008
Because modular homes are built in part in the factory setting, and because components of the building process are split between your builder and the manufacturer, the timeline for modular homes can be a little different than site-built homes. In an effort to help you anticipate what to expect, a typical schedule of events will be described to help you through the process. These can be divided into 4 phases: the homework phase, the planning phase, the construction phase, and the finishing phase. All in all the entire process takes about 10 months for a modular home from start to finish.

The Homework Phase (Average time 2-4 weeks)

This is all about you. During this time, you decide four major things. These include what you can afford, what you want, where you want to live, and who is going to manufacture and build your home. Most of us do a lot of this intuitively, but taking this seriously has its benefits. Meet with a banker or lender to figure out what your real budget is for a home. Sample several design varieties and narrow down what style best meets your needs as well as what are essentials and what are wishful items. Locate the area of the community you wish to live in and survey the prices in the area. Lastly, research your builder. Checking with the Better Business Bureau, Home Builder's Association and other local agencies are helpful, but so is speaking with friends and neighbors about their experience. Make sure your builder has modular home experience and ask to speak with references.

The Planning Phase (Average time 4-8 weeks)

In this phase, you select your builder and begin to select the actual design you want and with which modular home manufacturer. If needed, an architect can assist with the design and plans. This part is necessary before you can actually estimate costs of construction and secure your financing. The financing is based on costs of construction and the size of the dwelling. Once financing is secure, and designs and plans are finished, you are now ready for the actual construction.

The Construction Phase (Average time 8 weeks)

With approved architectural plans and secured financing, the project now splits into two. The modular home manufacturer begins construction of your home modules, and your builder obtains all necessary building and utility permits. Once the permits are obtained, site preparation work begins with excavation, grading and foundation formation. Also it is the builder responsibility to arrange subcontractors to be available for the finishing portion of your home, as well as making sure a set crew and crane operator is scheduled. Compared to site-built, this phase for modular home construction saves tremendous time as things are happening simultaneously that normally would happen in tandem.

The Finishing Phase (Average time 12 weeks)

The set crew and crane operator along with your builder greet your modular home and set it onto the foundation. Now the final work of "buttoning up" and "tying in" begins. The home is 85 percent complete on arrival, but electrical and plumbing connections, HVAC connections, landscaping, some trim and painting, etc. make the final touches to your home. If the foundation is done well, and subcontractors are arranged, this process goes smoothly, and you are ready for your final inspections and certificate of occupancy within 120 days.

As you can see, the process is around 10 months in total. Sometimes this is faster, sometime slower, but all in all it is half the time compared to site-built construction. It should be stressed that effort in the homework phase can be the most valuable as this will help all the other phases move smoothly.
About the Author
Michael Zenga is a Modular Home Builder in the Boston, MA area. He founded ZN Custom Building, in 2002, which specializes in modular home construction. Known as the Modular Building Specialist, Michael Zenga can help you with all your modular home construction needs.
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