Save Money, Save Time with a Factory-Built Home
A decade ago the term "factory-built home" conjured up images of poorly
constructed homes that looked exactly alike. The term has been changing
over the past several years to indicate sturdy, well made houses. The most
common types of factory-built homes today are modular homes and manufactured
homes. Modular homes are built in a factory, in modules or segments, then
transported to a building site where they are assembled into houses.
Manufactured homes are houses that are ready to live in before they arrive
on the site.
With the entrance of factory-built homes on the market, the cost and the
time it takes to construct a house has been reduced. Of the factory-built
houses, manufactured houses tend to be the most affordable. According to
past Census statistics the average per-square foot cost of a manufactured
house is $26.79, while a site-built home is $56.28. Modular housing costs
are slightly less than a site-built home, as a cost is associated with
transporting the modules from the factory to the job site. Proponents of
modular houses cite the extra precautions taken to ensure the home travels
well, (such as screwing dry wall to the frame, versus using nails, and using
two to three more screws per stud to prevent slippage) make the home
sturdier than a site-built home.
The price of lumber is always a major factor in home building costs, and
less of it is used in the construction of a factory-made home. It's not
that factory-made homes require less wood than their site-built cousins, but
rather, the fact that panels are used to assemble the home, eliminating
costly waste lumber. Labor costs to construct a modular home are also far
less than a site-built home since they tend to be limited to a plumber,
electrician and carpenter to do touch up work.
In addition to saving you money, constructing a factory-built home also
saves you time. In site-built construction, all aspects of the house must
wait for the foundation to be completed. A modular house can be built while
the foundation is being laid. The foundation is generally completed in four
to six weeks. Modules are about 95 percent complete when shipped to a
building site. Once at the site, two or more sections 12 to 14 feet wide
and up to 60 feet long are combined to create the finished building. Once
the house is at the site it can be completed in four to eight weeks, whereas
a site-built home takes a minimum of six months.
Factory-built homes are no longer cookie cutter images of each other that
were so common years ago. They come in all shapes and sizes with a variety
of customizations. At one time choosing custom features on a factory-built
home was expensive for the buyer. Manufacturers had to employ draftsmen to
customize the houses, which was expensive, so manufacturers charged high
rates to customize a home. With today's computer technology, manufacturers
can easily change aspects of a house based on customers' wishes at little or
Whether modular or manufactured, factory-built homes have helped to bring
down the cost and the time required to build a home. As technology
continues to improve, increased improvements will no doubt be seen in the
home building arena.
Sources: Alan J. Heavens, The Philadelphia Inquirer; Sue Anne Pressley, The