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How to Prepare For a Modular Home Site

Jul 23, 2008
Modular homes do require detailed site work so that smooth delivery and set-up can take place once the modular home arrives. The best thing is that all of this can be completed while your home is being constructed in the factory. Generally, the process includes three major areas which are excavation and grading, foundation formation, and utility access which includes water, sewage and other utilities.

Excavation is required for the foundation "hole," as well as any needed access for the crane and crew. The degree of excavation depends on your lot's terrain and soil composition. If it is heavily wooded, greater amount of clearing will be needed so that the foundation hole can be made and so that the modules can be delivered. The crane that places the modules on the foundation will also need appropriate room to set up. If there is an abundance of ledge or rock on the site, blasting and subsequent landfill may also be needed. Each of these cost more or less depending on the lot's character.

Foundations are critical for modular homes, and a structural or foundation engineer is needed to make sure it is done correctly. Modular homes cannot be placed on slabs, but instead must have a 4 foot elevation minimum. If you are building in a colder climate, foundations wall must also be 4 feet I below the ground to prevent frost from causing movement of the structure as it freezes and expands. Depending on whether you have a crawl space or a basement, this means the foundation walls can be up to 12 feet in height. The most important factor is having a level foundation platform for your modular home. The platform itself must be within inch of being perfectly level to ensure proper attachment of the modular components.

Utility access is also a must for your site before the arrival of your modular home. Trenches may need to be dug for electrical, cable and telephone lines so that your home can connect to community services. Some locations have accessible water and sewage lines, whereas others do not. If these are not available, septic systems will need to be developed, and wells will need to be created to service your home. These are necessary to have completed before the set crew arrives.

If a septic system is needed, a septic design must be created by a licensed engineer or sanitation expert. Every building lot has a rating that described how long it takes water to percolate through the soil, and therefore, this determines where or if a septic system can be placed. Depending on your lot, this could require additional excavation, landfill, and technical expertise (all of which add to the cost). Likewise, well can be dug for water access, but it is impossible to know how deep and how much metal casing will be required in the process. The deeper the source, the greater the pump pressure requirements for assuring water availability to your home.

Each of these tasks must be performed and completed so that smooth installation can occur the day your modular home arrives. Unlike a site-built home construction which has to be either delayed or interrupted during the site preparation process, your site can be completed while your home is being built in the manufacturing plant. This increases efficiency and saves a tremendous amount of costs.
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. Contact Michael Zenga today and let ZN Custom Builders answer all your questions about modular homes today!
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