If you've always wanted to build a house from the ground up, but you aren't sure you have the patience (or the time) to make the seemingly endless number of decisions on everything from electrical outlet and light switch placement to counter surfaces, you may be investigating your alternatives. Often, a modular home can provide a high-quality alternative to a site-built home, giving you the ability to customize your future home within a range of parameters rather than setting you loose with limitless choices.
However, a modular home is not without its own complexities when it comes to the installation process, and you'll need the services of a heavy-duty crane to hoist your home from a flatbed trailer to a poured foundation. Read on to learn more about the construction of modular homes, as well as the specific types of heavy equipment you'll need in order to erect a modular home on your own piece of property.
How are modular homes constructed?
The term "modular home" is often used interchangeably with "manufactured home" (formerly "mobile home"), but there are a number of key differences. A manufactured or mobile home is designed to be portable and is usually constructed with lightweight materials that may not meet the local code standards for a permanent residence.
On the other hand, a modular home is constructed to the same dimensions and specifications as any other site-built home – but it is constructed in multiple "modules" in a climate-controlled factory rather than erected on the building site. This unique construction allows modular homes to be custom-built much more quickly than many site-built homes, and without worrying about inclement weather or other environmental factors that can often delay construction.
Most modular homes are customizable within a range of specifications; while you may be able to select from among models that offer eat-in kitchens or galley kitchens, upstairs bedrooms or downstairs bedrooms, or other floor plan variances, you won't have the freedom to request custom designs, built-ins, or other options available for site-built homes. Many can find these restrictions oddly freeing, as fewer options can make it much easier to decisively choose a path.
What equipment will you need to install a modular home on your building site?
While your modular home is being constructed, you'll need to prepare the building and installation site. This generally involves pouring or otherwise installing a foundation; an inadequate support surface can cause your home to settle dramatically after installation, and it's best to allow your foundation some time to settle on its own before placing a heavy house atop it.
In most cases, you'll opt to pour a concrete foundation in lieu of mortaring cinder blocks or concrete blocks together. This will require a cement mixer and several workers to operate the mixer and direct the flow of semi-solid cement mix into the foundation mold.
However, the star of the show in any modular home installation is the overhead crane used to hoist each "module" over the foundation and put them into place. You'll need to ensure the crane you choose is rated to accommodate the weight of each module, as attempting to lift a too-heavy module can put both the crane driver and any bystanders at risk if support cables snap or the crane itself begins to fall to the side. Talk with a crane service, such as A C Jones Trucking Inc, about different crane options that would be best for your situation.
After the modules have been placed, a construction crew will seal these modules together, firmly attach them to the home's foundation, and apply any finishing touches, including siding, decks, and flashing. Within a remarkably short period of time, your new modular home will be move-in ready where a bare foundation stood just a few hours earlier.