The Factory Advantage

The modular factory system combines engineering know-how and factory-production methods to design and build more efficiently and with greater quality control. When done well, the efficiency results in lower costs and the quality control results in a better product.

Even stick-built houses today use a growing number of mass-produced, factory-built components, including pre-hung windows and doors, roof trusses, interior moldings, drywall, and kitchen and bath cabinets. More and more aspects of home construction are being completed in factories because the factory environment helps to organize the construction process. By using automatic assembly equipment and repetitive assembly-line techniques, factories assemble component parts more efficiently and with greater consistency in product quality. This is true whether the components are assembled to make a window or an entire house.

The modular method of home building is considered superior to site-built construction. Many stick builders have converted to modular houses, driven in part by the severe shortage of skilled construction workers. A study by the National Association of Home Builders, which is made up primarily of stick builders, found that two of three builders are now forced to hire workers with skill levels below those expected for their jobs.

This labor shortage has eroded craftsmanship, driven up prices, and caused delays, shoddy construction, and unhappy homeowners. Frustrated by these problems, custom stick builders have turned to modular homes as a way to introduce some control into the building process. Modular manufacturers have, in turn, enticed them by presenting new house plans that meet the needs of builders' style-conscious customers.

Consumers in search of a custom-built home are also giving modular home designs a more favorable look. Sometimes they turn to modular houses because they cannot get a stick builder to respond in a timely fashion. More frequently, superior quality, faster completion time, and better prices are the primary inducements, along with greater energy efficiency, extended warranties, and flexible design options. Customers who want high-quality finishes as well as high-quality construction increasingly understand that they can get both with a modular home.