What Is a modular Home
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Ask custom home builders in the U.S. about “survival” Test One and Two (below).

If you read nothing else in this website, read this page.

What is a modular home?  Custom home builders might first mention this: it’s an example of how technology can make a better world.  The odds are that today’s home buyers over the age of 30 grew up in a home built the “ordinary way,” outdoors.  That is, it was likely built from stacks of lumber and material left outdoors on the ground. But that is not how modular does it.

As advocated by CMHUSA (and increasingly touted by such publications and organizations below), there is a better way to build:  It’s today’s holistic, A to Z modular engineering process.  Note that CMHUSA makes the distinction of what it refers to as “true” modular.  

Always think defense.  Durability is good.

Although CMHUSA may (in some cases) consider building a house outdoors, the so-called ordinary way, CMHUSA strongly advocates for the benefits of true modular construction.  Keep in mind that with modular, 80 to even 90 percent of the main body of a home can be built indoors; hence, the prospect of no water, no moisture, no mildew and no mold to either degrade materials or adversely impact human health.  A further health-related byproduct of building with “modules” is the prospect of a better defense against weather or seismic events.  Withstanding violent manmade testing as the new homeowner watches, the home’s engineering and durability may logically offer a better defense against the random violence of Mother Nature.  But always the caveat:  When it comes to a monstrous weather event, even a decidedly better-built home may be no guarantee of survival.

Despite the superior structure of a “home A, ” a weaker “home B” may look identical.

Is this house built with modules?

Can you physically see a modular home’s strength?  Probably not, not unless you know where to look.  For example, the thickness of the space between the first-floor ceiling and the floor of the room above will likely be double that of a home built the ordinary way–that’s a huge advantage.  That space is expensive, but it adds both strength and a precious quietness–but no, you will not see it.  To get a home with this feature and yet not pay a dime more, choose modular. 

Is this house built the ordinary way?

Yes, but you cannot tell by looking at this image.  Another point:  A house built the ordinary way is built outdoors—thus in the rain, sunshine, ice, snow or blistering heat.  Thus, there may be consequences:  For instance, if trusses get wet, what happens to the warranties as “connectors” are loosened as wet wood expands and then drys and shrinks back?  Also not visible is the most glaring penalty in having a home built the ordinary way: the absence of modules, thus, “no protection by modules.”

Publications that have something to say about modular.

“Professional Builder Magazine”: What this article is saying is that “the single-family modular home built today” has evolved, just as telephones have evolved to the smart phones today.  [But here’s the thing, a CMHUSA comment not part of the article, although the elegance of modular and site built may be identical, don’t be fooled: DO NOT ASSUME THAT ALL MODULAR IS WHAT CMHUSA REFERS TO AS TRUE MODULAR.  NO MATTER WHAT YOU BUY OR HAVE SOMEONE BUILD, CHECK THE SPECIFICATIONS.  DON’T PAY FOR WHAT YOU THINK IS A HEAVYWEIGHT, FOR INSTANCE, AND BE SOLD SOMETHING ELSE.  KNOW THE SPECS.]  See https://www.probuilder.com/modern-modular-builders-redefine-what-modular-home-means

“Realtor Magazine,” in article “Making the Move to Modular,” says: “Today’s modular homes are also energy efficient, hurricane and earthquake resistant, sustainable, customized and competitively priced with other comparable designs.” See http://realtormag.realtor.org/home-and-design/architecture-coach/article/2013/08/making-move-modular

“EcoBuilding Pulse” a publication of the American Institute of Architects, says: “. . . green building depends on critical construction details, such as accurate sealing, flashing and insulation. Working in a climate-controlled environment [talking about a factory] that resembles a cabinet shop more than a construction site, technicians and craftsmen labor comfortably on all levels of a structure [CMHUSA comment: There is precise, easy access for more attention to detail by both the skilled workers and the inspectors.] . . .” See http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/projects/product-review-modular-homes_o

Test One and Test Two

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THIS IMAGE IS NOT MODULAR.  It’s no one’s fault that the following tests might destroy your current home (if your current home is built the ordinary way).

After all, production builders in major subdivisions and even custom home builders generally build homes that will never be moved.  Such builders will explain that such homes do not need the durability to be raced down a highway or survive Test One or Test Two.  To get the benefits of true modular, buy true modular.  Look for custom home builders who build it–and build it properly.

  • Test One:  A violent test for a section of a house.  Test One is to transport finished modules down highways at 55-plus miles per hour, hour after hour, on good roads and bad. Yes, you can safely bet that such killer forces might well tear apart a home built the ordinary way, leaving pieces of sheetrock, glass and insulation scattered along the highway for 50 miles.
  • Test Two:  also harsh and potentially devastating. Test Two is to lift the modules high into the air using a massive crane.  Already weakened by Test One, whatever might be left of an ordinary-built home would likely break apart—remember the scene in the movie “Titanic.”
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THIS IMAGE IS OF A MODULE.  “Freakishly strong!” say onlookers.

Even with the added weight strain of having up to 15- to 20- to 30 percent more wood than lesser homes, the massive CMHUSA modules do not slump or collapse during lifting.  (Tip:  Keep in mind that the heavier the weight, the greater the massive strain to the mass being lifted, and the better-built the giant modules must be.)

Next come the large bolts: Once in place, the modules will be bolted to one another, cranking up the strength of structure even more.

By the end of the first day, a true CMHUSA “heavyweight” home–the high-endurance, heavyweight modules no longer appearing as distinct modules–will from that moment on look as if the house had been built the ordinary way.

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From quite small to well over 10,000 square feet, some plans over 20,000, a home built with CMHUSA (or equivalent) modules may be a safer refuge in America today.  What do you think?  Does it make sense that a true modular home with heavy, engineered modules may be a safer home?  Testing may may tell you yes.  Articles such as in the “Realtor Magazine,” above, may tell you yes.

And there is the prospect that you will personally witness the heavyweight modules of your new home publicity survive the brutal forces of Test One and Test Two.  Always amazing to video.

But remember, the world is not a perfect place.  There can be no guarantee of survival when it comes to an Act of God.  The point:  Only you can decide which construction approach is the one you want for your purposes.



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