Think about the last time you purchased a new car. You went to the car dealer and described the features you wanted. They went through the options, found a car they had that was the closest to what you requested, and let you take a test drive. If you had very specific requirements you could order the car with the exact options you wanted (maybe) and get it in about four to six weeks. If you were the typical car buyer, at no time in this conversation did you even question how the car was assembled, ask if the braking system was built to a defined industry standard, or question how much horsepower the engine produced. You had an expectation of performance and quality and if you had any problems – that is what the warranty was for. This scenario isn’t the same when building a custom home.
THE CUSTOM HOME BUYING PROCESS
When you build a new custom home, the process is very different. It actually varies widely by the region of the country and the state you are building in. It can also vary wildly within the same state if you are building in an urban area versus a rural area. First you have to find a custom home builder that will build the type of home you want. The process to get an estimate or quote can take weeks or months. Decisions have to be made, hundreds of decisions. A car is a commodity to most, a home is where you and your family will live. You may buy more than a dozen cars in your lifetime, you will probably only build 1-3 homes.
Building a custom home isn’t for the faint-hearted. It will take longer than you expect and the decisions go well beyond “Do you want heated seats and the Nav system?”. During the entire process, the typical home buyer will never ask what building code or version of the building code, the home is being built to meet. More are asking about the energy efficiency of a home today but few really understand the impacts of how a home’s construction impacts how it will perform. Building a custom home is a significant undertaking yet people do it every day as if they were buying a car.
TRADITIONAL ONSITE CONSTRUCTION
While each state adopts a specific building code, how do you know that your home is actually built to the required building code? Your car, which is built in a factory, has quality inspections and its parts meet standards typically set by industry standard setting bodies. A home may or may not have inspections performed. Either for quality or for code. In most rural areas of the U.S. there are no building inspectors. In many states builders aren’t licensed or tested. It all falls on the home buyer to make sure they hire the right builder to build their new home.
Did you know that building codes can be updated every three years across the country? Imagine building in an area with no inspections and no builder licensing. How do you know your home is built to the state required building code? How do you know your home is built to perform properly when it comes to energy efficiency? Building a custom home onsite using the old, conventional ways of building means the home buyer needs to make sure that their builder is up to date on training and understands current building codes. There needs to be a defined process of how the contractor and his subcontractors insure the completed custom home meets building code. This places a lot of responsibility on a home buyer that may be building their new home for the very first time.
THE MODULAR HOME APPROACH
When it comes to building a custom home with modular construction, a home buyer gets the assurance that the home is built to current building code for the state that the home is going to be built in. Modular construction turns the home building process into a manufacturing process. Think about the quality of today’s new car. Its quality is an afterthought, it is assumed. When your home is built in a factory you know it was inspected for quality AND to meet current building code. It had to be. While many rural localities may not have building inspectors, factories are required by most states to have 3rd party inspection programs in place. While homes built onsite can’t always make the same guarantee, you know your home built in a factory meets building code (and probably exceeds it in many cases).
Take a tour of a modular home factory. A typical tour can take about an hour. See firsthand how a home built using a manufacturing process, that is built indoors, and that is constructed using a consistent process is made. Then compare it to one of the homes under construction that you may pass daily in your travels. There is a night and day difference. Because the construction of so many homes is concentrated in one location consistency is enhanced, quality is built in.
BUILDING YOUR NEW CUSTOM HOME
Because modular construction builds the quality in, you can focus on what you care about. With the flexibility of modern modular construction, you can design and build practically any custom floor plan you want. Just about any option you can request for a home built onsite can be added to your modular home and provided with quality and value only found in homes that are constructed in a factory. This means that you have the time to focus on the things that are truly important to you and your family. With modular construction, you don’t have to focus on what’s going on behind the walls of your new home.