Major world urban centers today feature buildings whose imaginative spires and shapes were previously unattainable using standard architectural practices. While they appear to share no common history with simpler family dwellings, appearances can be deceiving. Construction of both skyscrapers and manufactured homes today relies increasingly on the use of modular, pre-finished sections or units born on an assembly line.
When factory-made housing comes up in a conversation involving real estate personnel, there is usually an immediate disclaimer. Most want to distance themselves from the issues that surround the often-mocked and maligned double-wide mobile home, also known as a house trailer. The sagging reputation that dogs those units has historically been based on real issues, from having little resistance to bad weather to the aesthetic shortcomings living in a lane-wide rectangle.
Even so, the truth is that these unlovely, boxy residences also share a common family tree with the newer versions of modular housing. Although the dividing lines separating different types of manufacture are a little blurry, a typical mobile home is a completed and assembled unit when it leaves the factory. There is no need to pay for local inspection, for example, because interior production standards are uniform.
Traditionally, these mobile rectangles could be joined together on one level, but were not rigid enough to be stacked without collapsing. Some still display the vehicular version of vestigial organs in the form of wheels and axles that may be reactivated when a road trip is necessary. These units often depreciate faster than brick-and-mortar dwellings, and the type of materials used during manufacture are difficult to customize once they are in place.
Compared to its stodgier relatives, truly modular construction is the hipster of the family. This construction method takes completed but separate components and puts them together on location. There is no extra-wide tow truck necessary to bring the unit home, and parts can be aesthetically arranged to create a multiple-story home that can be as visually interesting as any suburban house.
A modular home is also considerably more stable structurally than its more mobile relatives. Foundations must conform to the same local regulations as other newly-built residences. Completed sections are shipped on flat-bed trucks, with final assembly on site. The finished product is often structurally stronger than a comparable home built conventionally, and can be easily customized according to the taste and budget of the buyer.
Although none of these buildings will ever really be able to compete with ostentatious suburban status-symbol mansions, they feature other attractive advantages. Energy efficiency is built into the modular fittings, and the section tolerances are often superior. These buildings are able to survive damage from severe hurricanes or tornado-strength winds, and their foundations provide better support during an earthquake.
Housing costs have once again reached their previous high levels, and modular housing units are providing buyers with less-expensive choices that in line with current values. Even though they are limited to one location, modular structures are now considered to be as safe and sound as any building, and deserve their newly minted reputation. For many buyers, they are an increasingly attractive option.
Read more about Manufactured Homes Have Become A Realistic Alternative.
Author: Tracie KnightThis author has published 31 articles so far.