System Built Housing
The words pre-fab, modular, off-site constructed or manufactured home can make some people cringe. Homeowners, developers and traditional builders sometimes shudder at an image of a single-wide trailer on wheels or maybe sitting on concrete blocks. Increasingly, however, there is a new definition, a new technology for a home that is, in fact, manufactured but looks nothing like a trailer. They are called systems-built homes.
New homes in upscale neighborhoods and subdivisions, show-homes, second homes and multifamily projects are being “systems-built” to rival and exceed the quality and investment of site-built homes. These homes offer flexibility and affordability, along with structural integrity and architectural presence. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), after a review of homes destroyed or damaged by hurricane Andrew in Florida, found that “overall, relatively minimal structural damage was noted in modular housing developments” (FIA-22, Item 3-0180).
These homes are built in enclosed, climate-controlled environments - including the floors, walls, ceiling, insulation, plumbing, roofs and all the other major elements - using the latest technology in methods and products with factory-backed warranties. In fact, 80% of each home is built in this controlled environment. The amount of material going into each individual systems module typically exceeds the material of site-built homes. This method of construction produces a home built with “control and quality:” control in the structure and quality as a result. The controlled environments and assembly line work stations, as well as rigorous quality control inspections and strict adherence to national, state and local building codes, mean a quality product in a fraction of the time. There is less waste, no weather damage, potential mold or contractor no-shows to deal with.
Facility-type construction offers countless environmental and procedural advantages over site built homes. The factory operates with eco-friendly and recyclable procedures. Once the home is delivered to the site, the use of systems-built products can lessen the impact to the project by decreasing traffic to and from the site and the length of time from start to completion of the project. Less material waste means less construction material dumped into the local landfill, reducing the project’s carbon footprint.
There are many areas of savings using systems-built products. Commonly the price per square foot is at least 20 percent less than conventional construction. Additionally, the speed of factory production and site completion means shorter-term construction financing, which can also add up to savings. There is no “shrinkage” or theft of site materials. Temporary on-site services and construction management are also reduced.
The ability to construct with all construction trades in one location and in such a timely manner is an additional benefit. This efficiency equates to value as the factory is able to use quality name brand products without additional costs passed on to the homeowner. Lastly, with a systems-built home, you have guaranteed pricing of the factory home with no cost over-runs!