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The History and Future of Modulars


The American dream of home ownership still prevails and is as strong today as at any time in the past. For Americans a nation of homesteaders, a home of one's own, with land to rear a family, is the quint essential dream. Decent, affordable housing has been a common quest since this country began. In the late 1800's, the present method of framing a house was employed. As usually happens the technique was developed to make better use of indigenous materials. It has, more or less, remained that way. So has the method of construction- for the most part we continue to build a house one stick at a time with little regard to raising productivity and efficiency. The solution to overcoming this stagnation lies in the use of modern-day methods and techniques and overcoming a misconception that "factory-made" houses somehow don't measure up to on-site stick-built structures. Availability of affordable, quality housing, now depends on the utilization of technology originally developed in America and since the end of World War II, fine-tuned in other countries. Specialization of labor together with assembly line principles carry the best potential for our housing future.

...A modular/industrialized house is considered the strongest of any frame house built...

The search for a conventional looking factory produced house has been completed by The Modular Connection: the end product is indistinguishable from site-built housing and is available in single and two-story units over a wide range of designs. Buyer preferences are included before production starts. These houses are well designed aesthetically and with a high energy rating efficiency for low heating and cooling cost. At The Modular Connection there's an awareness of a new picturesque movement desired in the market place. Houses reflecting traditional American taste such as Victorian, Colonial, English-Tudor, Contemporary and many other designs are part of our product portfolio. Finished houses range from 850 sq. ft. lake units to more than 3,000 sq. ft., four bedroom, three bathroom luxury homes. There's a wide selection of floor plans, styles and sizes to meet every discriminating taste.

...A buyer should understand that building codes do not guarantee quality. Careful investigation and comparison by the prospective home buyer, to detect important differences, is essential.

Descriptive terminology can be confusing because of the semantics and subtle changes that have occurred during the past few years. The term "manufactured" housing has become a vague description relating to any house or unit produced in a factory. That was not alway's the case. In years gone by the term "mobile" was used to identify trailers for low cost accommodation. At one time the term "manufactured" meant modular units. Mobile home manufactures today provide units that can be installed on temporary or permanent foundations in order to qualify for mortgage loans and are now classified as "manufactured" homes.

"Mobile" units offer a limited selection in terms of floor plan and design, and are generally at the low end of the housing price scale. The trailer park is giving way as some developers plan entire subdivisions of landscaped mobile housing. This type of unit usually has an integrated chassis and wheel assembly for transportation. The code standard to which mobile units are built is considerably more lenient in material and design requirements than state and local building codes. Modular/Industrialized homes, on the other hand, are the most complete embodiment of the factory-produced housing concept. The Modular Connection has made this method their specialty. These homes are constructed in a factory and shipped to the destination in two or more sections that are installed on a permanent foundation at the site. A modular/industrialized house is considered the strongest of any frame house built, conforming to exactly the same standards and codes as site-built housing. A buyer should understand that building codes do not guarantee quality. Careful investigation and comparison by the prospective home buyer, to detect important differences, is essential.

The Future

Even the most conservative predictions anticipate housing prices will continue to rise. Prime land is becoming more difficult to locate, development expense and labor costs will move up and pressure will mount for higher selling prices to the buying public. The unique advantages inherent in the modular approach are predicted to make this method the dominant force in building. Efficient manufacture of products with buyer appeal is sure to accelerate this thrust. The unique advantages inherent in modular construction have benefits that can work to the advantage of the residential construction industry. Becoming the dominant force will not be achieved in any revolution but in a continued gradual integration of the modular method into the conventional building process.

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