Custom Modular Homes USA 

How we do it

 These photos are inside a factory. Each home is custom. Click views to enlarge.

33tA house can be built the ordinary way (outdoors on an open site). But there is a better way: Although CMHUSA will build the ordinary way, it strongly advocates for the benefits of heavy-duty modular construction and green modular homes (subject to proper oversight). 

Mr. Baker is pointing to these soon-to-be hidden supports used to anchor kitchen cabinets for the life of a home. Perfectly good leftover wood is used rather than sending it to a landfill. Taking up less landfill space is a "green" practice. (Tip: Regardless of who builds your new home, these hidden supports should not be left out.) Notching the lower support into the studs is precise and fast in a factory that uses proper workstations. Click "On your side: Industrial engineering and operations research" to learn more about workstations and Vernon Baker.

 

39tThis view will soon be hidden forever. This temporary access to the backside of sheetrock is never possible when building a house outdoors on an open site (because rain and mold destroy sheetrock). However, inside the protected environment of a factory, workers have this perfect access. They can directly deal with air infiltration and energy loss. Foam (the orange color in the photo) around an electrical outlet is required by code, but only in a factory can air infiltration fixes be done this directly and surely—a green advantage.

Can you guess the purpose for the piece of scrap sheetrock that Mr. Baker is holding? It's strength. With access to the back of sheetrock, attaching these strips to seams adds strength for the life of the home. Again, less scrap sent to the landfill is better for the environment.

 

13tThis photo is of a wall. It is being built while lying flat on a heavy steel jig. The jig workstation enables precision squareness and a quality surface for sheetrock. For exceptional strength sheetrock is glued. It may also be nailed or screwed. You have already seen how sheetrock seams can be strengthened from the back (but only in a factory).

It happens to be pouring rain. Inside this factory, however, the sheetrock stays perfectly dry, and extra steps can be taken that will benefit any new custom home designs and the families who enjoy them.

 

83tWhen CMHUSA builds heavy-duty modules to form your custom home, there is a step to protect the subfloor during construction . . .

Ah-choo! The temporary plastic shown in this photo is very easy to do in a factory. It prevents the usual mess that is tracked, spilled, sneezed or (sorry) spat onto an exposed subfloor, becoming ground-in filth trapped under hardwood and carpet for the life of the home. Why not prevent this potential source of a family's endless coughing and sneezing?

The thing is, whether you have allergies or not, this step costs almost nothing and is easy to do (if building in a factory).

 

35tEvery house has this space for plumbing. But not every house uses this as an opportunity for steps (at little cost) that can benefit a homeowner for the life of the house. 

For any floor plan, CMHUSA may use this as an opportunity to build in features at little or no cost to the homebuyer. (No, we are not referring to an access panel.)


 

 

16tHome design ideas are endless. Increasingly, modern house plans benefit from the durability and far greater weight of being built as heavy-duty modules. The list of steps and considerations can be long.

And when CMHUSA is the builder, the list grows longer.

 IF YOU ENJOYED THE ABOVE 6 PHOTOS AND COMMENTS, YOU MAY WANT TO GLANCE THROUGH THE REMAINING 44.

40tA safer home is better for the family that lives in it. So inspections are important; therefore, anything to make a home easier to inspect is important. This photo shows what is possible, but this can only be done in a factory, early in the formation phase.

In this factory, note the massive steel stairway. It leads to safe walkways. The walkways lead to the roof of modules being built. Such ease of access allows workers to pay greater attention to detail. It also makes shoddy workmanship, such as failure to make critical connections, more difficult to conceal.

And yes, inspectors will also have this perfect access.

 

41tIn building a house outdoors in bad weather or when the ground is still wet, even the most skilled worker high up on a ladder might miss doing something important. Thus the question for you as the homebuyer: What is the likelihood that someone else will climb up there and discover the mistake?

If you were an inspector, outdoors on a muddy, nasty lot, one choice would be to climb up a damp, dirty ladder—perhaps climbing one, two or three stories high. A less hazardous choice may be to try to see everything you need to see from the inside of the house. However, inspections indoors in a factory are entirely different: Inspectors can easily and safely walk along a solid walkway that reveals every square inch.

 

43tBolts and metal hinging systems instead of nails can be exceptionally strong. In this case, strong is an understatement; these bolts are huge!

The actual purpose of the nuts and bolts shown here is for ease in transporting modules and finishing the roof when delivered to the house site. Clearly, connection installations for a properly built modular can be impressive.

Yes, modules are have important advantages over building the ordinary way, but never assume that all modules are of the same superior quality or that all modules are acceptable to CMHUSA.

 

 

44tAs in anything else in life, no two manufacturers are equal in the product they produce.

Some are brilliant much of the time. Some should be avoided. Complicating things even more, there can be unacceptable variation even within a factory normally acceptable to CMHUSA. Have CMHUSA on your side.

 

48tThis view is from a walkway. What you see is pure precision. For your hard-earned dollar, this is what is possible using massive equipment in a factory. To be sure that every aspect of the new house works precisely, as it should, these enormously heavy parts are temporarily being erected—a kind of trial run for giant parts—just to ensure a perfect fit before the modules reach the homeowner's lot.

This may seem like an inordinate amount of work in order to double-check, but it is executed with ease.

Custom house plans, when engineered with factory precision and proper oversight, are the construction of choice of CMHUSA.

 

50tAmazing strength. This view is looking down from the walkway, looking down at the attic structure. The grayish material is the back of the sheetrock (the room below it is a bedroom). Now for the "amazing strength" remark: Do you see the yellowish lines where the grayish-colored sheetrock meets the wood ceiling joists? Those yellowish lines are glue. This is just one small step, but it gives the ceiling far more strength. For the homeowner and family, the more strength steps the better.

Conversely, in site built houses that Mr. Baker has personally sheetrocked over the years, as in any other home built the ordinary way, such strength steps are not done. Since site built homes are not built to be transported, they can look the same but have remarkably less durability.

 

51tHere's another view of a trial run, where the various components of the house are temporarily put together by skilled operators. This is a perfect time to detect any issue and correct it.

Mr. Baker considers this just another form of inspection—and the more inspections the better.

 

55tWindows and doors should be kept in a safe and dry place until time to install—easy to do if building a house indoors in a factory.

Each factory takes a different approach to this, but the high-efficiency goal is to move the windows to exactly where needed just before they are needed—a mix of "just-in-time" delivery and minimizing labor costs by minimizing disruptions to workflow.

CMHUSA seeks to ensure that factory savings come from efficiencies, not from robbing quality. 

 

57tStoring, handling and hanging sheetrock indoors—always within the protection of a factory—is the ideal.

In a perfect world, all new homes would have the advantage of being built within a dry, controlled factory environment.

 STILL READING? PAT YOURSELF ON THE BACK!

58tBetter than recycling is . . . "repurposing."

Recycling is a genuine focus in a thoughtful factory, yes, but some go a giant step further by repurposing. Repurposed material never has to leave the manufacturing plant to be processed somewhere else. Elsewhere in this Website is the example of a factory grinding up its scrap sheetrock to be used as lime on farmers' fields. Another example: Off to the side in the background of this photo are the shorter pieces of wood to be used in upcoming modules. Yet another example: For wood that is too small to repurpose, there is the example of a top factory that invested in a true state-of-the-art (and said to be cleaner and greener) heating system to heat its manufacturing facility.

 

59tRain drops were falling as this photo was taken, but inside the factory conditions were perfect. At this workstation this gentleman is setting up a process to accurately make an assembly called for in a plan. He will then make as many parts as needed. Each will be precise. Specialized material handlers will then come retrieve the parts and deliver them to where they will be needed in building a giant module. The parts will be delivered shortly before carpenters need them, thus allowing everyone to keep working and not have to stop and wait, or stop and build the parts themselves, thus holding up the entire operation.

Notice the short pieces of wood that will be used. This perfectly good wood will not be treated as scrap.

 

60tThis workstation produces an exceptionally strong and precisely accurate result. Again note the stacks of dry wood at the ready just behind the worker. On the other hand, for a house being built outdoors on an open site, someone would have to leave the house being built, walk across muddy ground (if raining on a day like this), sort through a stack of damp lumber and carry some of it back to the house being built.

In a factory, every step is practiced over and over, reducing wasted motion and wasted labor costs. That's an aspect of factory and industrial engineering.

 

64tYes, the neatness here is like this every day; that is, each time Mr. Baker has been here over a 20-year period. To the extent neatness in a factory operation translates to greater attention to detail in the product being built and greater operating efficiency, everyone benefits.

It may be a rainy day, yet all is correctly stored and dry as you see. (The huge concrete floor is under a giant roof.) Notice the stack of red-colored OSB in the far back right. Oriented stand board is a common building material in new homes, but don't let it get wet!

YOU'VE READ THIS FAR DOWN THE SCREEN? YOU'RE UNBELIEVABLE.

70tEach factory is different in its approach to systems engineering. As exhilarating as these environments may be (for Mr. Baker as an industrial engineer), the role of his company CMHUSA includes looking at the specifics of a project and the specifics of a factory. None of this is automatic.

A factory's goal may be to build a home from beautiful house plans, but many issues can affect quality. Have CMHUSA on your side . . .

. . . after all, the in-factory aspect of a modular home may be 80 to 85 percent of the final project. 

 

78t Whether CMHUSA installs the cabinets before or after the modules are delivered to the final house site may be a logistics issue.

In this example, this set of cabinets is being installed as the house modules are being built in the factory. Cabinets can be anything from the very popular raised panel oak, to the cabinets you see in this photo, to any brand name on the market, and even to the product of a local shop.

 

132tPretty finishes, decorative moldings and amenities that grace a home are always important. That said, this is a perfect time to contrast something equally important that is not decorative at all: the home's structure and durability. Although CMHUSA will either build the ordinary way or will build using heavy-duty modules, this CMHUSA Website clearly advocates for the durability of modules.  

If a homeowner and family's choice is modules, that involves a unique skill set. Have CMHUSA (or equivalent) on your side.

 

 

 

86tWhat a convenient way to access cabinets. In this factory, a material handler rolls them over and positions them for the installer.

Practice, practice, practice: Well rehearsed materials handling throughout the factory process saves labor costs.

 

87tEvery cabinet has its connection method, material choice, hinging type and so forth. Cabinetry pricing ranges from the affordable to the more extravagant. From dado joints to dovetail joints to mortise and tenon, there is a reason for each and CMHUSA offers it all.

If you want a well designed kitchen and beautiful, solid cabinetry an affordable price, CMHUSA can do that. If you want a kitchen that rivals or surpasses anything in Southern Living Magazine, call on CMHUSA for that.

 

88tHandled with care. Once the cabinets are installed, here come the drawers.

If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you will be able to see the white slide on the far-right drawer.

This European slide mount is fine; in fact, it is the same one that Mr. Baker has in his modular home on the Potomac. Nonetheless, CMHUSA offers other slide mount types with more expensive features such as those made to be concealed under the drawer, and those with ball bearings made from high grade steel.

HERE IS A LARGE ROOM WITH A SEE-THROUGH FIREPLACE IN THE CENTER.

81tMr. Baker is standing where a fireplace will be installed in one of the modules of a new home. About 20 feet from Mr. Baker's outstretched arm, across the factor floor, is a second module. Eventually the module he is standing in will be joined with that other one, doubling the size of the room.

The result will be an exceptionally large open space with the fireplace in the center. Now try visualizing this: In the next photo is the floor plan. Mr. Baker is  standing in module B. Just above the letter "B" is the fireplace. The module that was mentioned beyond his outstretched arm is the one with the letter "A."

 

113tBuilding 80 percent inside a factory eliminates 80 percent of the problems, such as, "Sorry, the subcontractor's truck broke down." And maybe later in the day . . . "It might be trash in the fuel line."

CMHUSA will seek to make the building process far more pleasant than if the house plan were built outdoors on an open site.

 

115tOK, if you found the bay window on the plans (shown at the bottom of the "B" module), this photo shows the bay at the sheetrock stage. Once the baseboard trim is installed and the protective plastic removed from the carpet, this room will make a statement. But remember this, although this floor plan is lovely, floor plans can be anything you want. CMHUSA has 200 or can draw from scratch.

A bit of trivia: Even though the sheetrock is installed, the outside may still be uncovered. Still being uncovered on the outside might be catastrophic if this home were being built outdoors on an open site. Rain (and mold) would be able to destroy it. The factory advantage of not having to install the outside covering right away is that air infiltration and insulation strategies not otherwise possible are now easy.

 

90tFor delivery, each individual finished module will wrapped in high-strength plastic, just as are multi-million-dollar yachts that you may have seen being transported down the highway.

Regardless of how little or how much your new CMHUSA heavyweight home costs, every CMHUSA heavyweight will provide the homeowner and family with durability and the feeling of solidness, comfort and value. A smaller home of less than 1,500 square feet may call for only two to three modules; other floor plans of 2,000 to 12,000 square feet and higher will call for considerably more modules. But regardless of the square footage and the number of CMHUSA heavyweight modules, each home will have the oversight from start to finish of CMHUSA.

 

 

92tDry, safe storage is important even for the tiniest specialty trim. All material in a factory is cared for and is respected for its lifetime role in an upcoming home.

Why let wood, sheetrock or any other material get wet at any step of the construction process? If there is a choice, why risk any lingering health issues or other impacts over the years?  

 

105tThis is an installation in progress for a feature that a homebuyer specified. The sky is the limit for bathroom design and amenities.

CMHUSA offers almost any type of tubs and showers, where choices range from basic tub/shower classics, as Mr. and Mrs. Bakers have, to high-end frameless showers with body sprays, rain shower heads, steam units and large-scale porcelain tile walls.

 

111tNo two factories are the same: This photo offers an interesting insight into manufacturing layout flexibility.

Reviewers say toss this photo out, but it's one of Mr. Baker's favorites. What do you think? Should we keep it?

 

glue-tA small detail? No, not small at all!

The adhesive in this 55-gallon drum is of huge importance to overall strength. It helps ensure that a module performs as a monolithic structure. That is, it is this material, not just mechanical fasteners such as nails, staples and screws, that helps transfer load forces from component to component. 

THE FOLLOWING PHOTOS ARE INTERESTING TO MR. BAKER. EACH SIGNALS MIND BOGGLING EFFICIENCY.

IMG 1020-tThis view captures an array of architectural styles. But what is amazing is that in a very short time this scene will be completely different as these modules go out the door, on their way to form beautiful homes.

Each roof shown here will become a marvel of strength.

In the next photo, note the roof structure with the two dormers on one side and two out of sight on the other side. Less than 24 hours earlier, this heavy-duty home was transported in the form of modules to this site near Washington, D.C.

 

24 hours is fast. That's right, this house was not here 24 hours ago. IMG 1144tAppraising at just over $820,000, this home features a wide, inviting stairway to the second floor, a craftsman-like stairway to the third floor, and yet another stairway to the full basement.

Just outside Washington, D.C., this home replaces an older site built home recently torn down. As you might guess, the cost of acquiring the older house and the "tear-down" were not cheap. (Sorry, the large contraption filling the left side of the photo is a truck with ladders.)

 

IMG 1021tCost of modular homes. A properly run factory has unique ways to refine efficiencies. Material that you see in this photo was brought out to the factory floor from the factory warehouse. It's just what is needed for the day. Controlling costs is not automatic. It is the homebuyer who will ultimately pay for inefficiencies or benefit from efficiencies.

Also bringing value to you and your family are other important considerations as well . . .

CMHUSA does not advise on how it ranks factories. For CMHUSA oversight, have CMHUSA build your dream home. 

 

IMG 1043tThe photo second from the top of the screen shows orange foam insulation. Likewise, this photo shows the direct application behind the sheetrock, right at the source of air leaks. As you now know, this could not be done when building a house outdoors on an open site.

The wall of the module shown here will be mated to the wall of another module, doubling the wall thickness. The "band" board along the bottom (the vertical piece closest to the factory floor) is loaded with nails. Although CMHUSA would build this house from scratch outdoors on an open site, if a homebuyer wanted it done that way, CMHUSA much prefers the solidness of building in the form of giant modules. Modules (if the process is properly executed) will yield a structure that is far more durable, even though the two houses may look identical.

 

IMG 1045tIn this factory these beautiful oak staircases are built from scratch right here in the plant. This particular stairway uses oak for the treads and for the risers. Notice that the treads are covered to protect them during construction.

If ever you see some type of chip board being substituted for the stairway risers (the vertical piece), let's just say that craftsmen of yesteryear would not have understood. For instance, one of Mr. Baker's grandfathers was a carpenter; the other a maker of fine furniture. Both no doubt would have had to be convinced of the substitution's merits.

 

IMG 1051tHere's a better view of the green colored Zip sheathing that you may have noticed in an earlier photo. In this case, the homebuyer specified Zip (Zip System Sheathing and Tape) and Anderson Windows.

The point: CMHUSA will gladly consider building anything that a homebuyer wants. Engineering systems that CMHUSA can build can range from the the more usual to a state-of-the art and everything in between. For example, CMHUSA will be happy to design complex, holistic energy systems.

 

IMG 1050tEveryone knows that buying product in bulk can save money. But to drive home the point, imagine the discount if buying cultured marble vanity tops by the truckload. (Those in this photo are on the factory floor being prepared for houses currently scheduled.) Rather than truckloads, sheet rock and plywood are better-suited to being bought by the train car load.

For custom homes and custom and all possible specifics, whether granite, quartz, marble, synthetic marble and incredibly tough Formica, think of CMHUSA when you think of custom home builders. 

 

IT'S NOT JUST WHAT CMHUSA WILL PROVIDE, IT IS THE CMHUSA OVERSIGHT THAT GOES WITH IT.

IMG 1052tMore and more homebuyers are opting for two (2) of these 200 amp panel boxes, thus giving them a 400 amp service, great for whole-house generators and so forth. 

Luxury house plans can be better-built if the house plans are re-engineered as luxury modular homes. Another point: Any option important to a homebuyers can also be part of affordable modular homes.

 

IMG 1054tThe six-panel, hollow-core door at the far right seems to be used in most homes these days. The same design is also available in solid core and even in solid wood. The door next to Mr. Baker has a contemporary look and will go in one of the new homes currently on the factory floor. Two- and three-panel doors, and every other door on the market can likewise be used.

If you have in mind a door design not on the market, CMHUSA can build it.

Each of these doors in this photo are in the batter's box, ready to be installed in a matter of hours.

 

 

 

IMG 1057tHard to tell at first glance, but this photo shows the roof overhang and how well it's built. A lot of homes these days don't have overhangs . . . but having them is a good idea. And having them built heavy-duty is better still.

However, there is an aspect of this that does not meet the eye. Do not assume that CMHUSA approves of how an overhang is built simply because it is heavy-duty.

 

IMG 1059tA fireplace insert will go in this space. This particular vertical element extends to the ceiling. Simple but beautiful, don't you think?

Whatever you wish to achieve, ask about the CMHUSA approach to architectural design and let's look at it together. From the straightforward to the complex, if it's your home, it's the details.

 

IMG 1060tThis stairway has six steps, then a landing and then another series of steps. There is much that can be seen in this photo. What cannot be seen is equally important, regarding what was done and what was not. 

Talk to CMHUSA about your next new home.

 

IMG 1061tThis sliding glass door by Anderson is eight feet wide, as you can tell by the width of the two pieces of subflooring beneath it.

Even though the glass is already quiet wide, the entire wall could be glass if a buyer wanted it to be. Regarding any particular project, please understand that there may be some that CMHUSA will decline.   

 

 

IMG 1082tWhen Mr. Baker looks at a manufacturing operation, there are subtle and critical indicators, some of which may be good, some of which may be better to avoid. The CMHUSA goal will always be to offer better value for the homebuyer's dollar. 

This photograph shows how busy and truly remarkable systems engineering and its advantages can be.

 

IMG 1084tA ceiling can be as high as a homebuyer may wish. A full two stories? Yes. Three? Of course.

With proper oversight, modular can can also excel at handling the rigors of multifamily. Hallmarks can be strength, safety, design flexibility and efficiencies. For questions about multifamily construction, contact CMHUSA.

 

IMG 1098tThis building plan detail will stay with this module during the entire time the module is in the factory, at every step of the building process. In this case, the detail is a bay window.

In the photo below, notice how the structure conforms to the building plan detail.

EVEN LOWER TIER FACTORIES DOUBLE BAND . . .

IMG 1093tThis bay window is being built to last.

By the way, supporting this structure from underneath is a part of the house referred to as a band. In a site built house the band is a single thickness, often a single 2 X 10. But for almost any home built in a factory, even for factories that produce a mediocre product, the band is twice as thick: two 2 X 10s that are "doubled up" around the entire floor system. (Tip: In more and more site built homes, builders are no longer using even a single 2 X 10. Instead, they are substituting a thinner piece of chip board.) 


 Will your next home be built by CMHUSA ?

 

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