As noted in this Website, CMHUSA will build a house the ordinary way (outdoors) or will re-engineer the house plans and build it using CMHUSA-accpetable modules. For a more durable, comfortable and safer home, CMHUSA advocates for the use of heavyweight modules, subject to CMHUSA (or equivalent ) oversight throughout the process.
Disclaimer: Not all modular homes are acceptable to CMHUSA. To demonstrate the point, CMHUSA will sometimes give a tour of a modular house that was poorly built in a factory and then poorly built once on the actual building lot. Likewise, a great many homes built the so-called ordinary way are poorly built . . .
. . . so let's talk about poorly constructed homes built the ordinary way:
Try this: Walk through a house being built outdoors the ordinary way as it is being framed . . . and watch for clues. Even something small may signal you that there may be larger issues that you don't see. And larger issues may affect durability. A small red flag, for instance, may be a developer's substitution of wood "chipboard" for real wood when building stairways.
Even if a true master carpenter were brought in to frame a house that is being build the ordinary way, and insists that the developer use better material, the "elephant in the room" is that the house (being built the ordinary way) would likely collapse if subjected to the brutality of Tests One and Two described in this Website.
On the other hand, let's talk about a CMHUSA heavyweight: In this Website, you will see photos of a skilled craftsman building high-quality stairways in a modular factory, where the beautiful vertical piece of the step (called the riser) is oak, as is the part that is stepped on (that's called the tread). And there is a second photo of an equally nice stairway that uses high-grade hard yellow pine, even though it will soon be hidden under carpet. These stairways will serve well for the life of the home. And yes, it is common to use oak and hard yellow pine in site built homes, too. Thus the challenge is that there is no single clue to look for.
Now for the comfort aspect: With roughly 15 to 20 or even 25 to 30 percent more wood, CMHUSA-acceptable heavyweight modules will likely be quieter and feel more solid.
CMHUSA is often asked What factory is good? and What factory is best? and What factory does CMHUSA use? Well, CMHUSA generally answers with two words, "It depends." Here's why:
As an industrial engineer, Vernon Baker of CMHUSA never fails to be in awe of the differences from one factory to the next. Some factories can be acceptable to Mr. Baker and CMHUSA under some conditions and some factories not ever. That aside, let's say there is an often-acceptable factory that just a week earlier built a gorgeous, heavyweight modular home. Is that a sufficient basis to assume that the factory will do as well for the next house in the queue? No. A factory that does well with a particular house may have had some level of outside input to momentarily effect a change in the process for that house only, altering the quality of that home only. The next house in line might be business as usual. In any event, roughly 80 percent of a modular home is built in a factory. So knowledge of the factory aspect of the building process can be wise.
Vernon Baker was recruited as an industrial engineer by General Electric. At that time, GE was exploring how to manufacture better-built walls that could be used in homes.