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Some Philadelphia builders would like to see increase of modular construction

4/17/2012 | Construction Blog, Real Estate Blog

Our Philadelphia readers may have heard of modular home construction, otherwise known sectional prefabricated homes. These homes are constructed from multiple modules or sections built in a remote facility and delivered to the building site. Individual modules can be as much as 90 percent complete when they are shipped from factor to building sites, including walls flooring, ceilings, stairs and finishes.

According to a recent Philadelphia Inquirer article, many builders use this method of construction and would like to see it become more popular in the area.

Modular construction has been going on in Philadelphia for some time, and a number of builders in the area make use of it. One of the major benefits of modular construction is reduced construction time. A two-story, 2,500-square-foot home, for instance, can be constructed at a factory in a week. Once they make it to the site, modular units can be completed in eight to 10 weeks. Non-modular homes take between five and six months.

Once plans are complete and construction begins, they cannot be changed. Completed plans are sent to a state or municipality for review to verify that building-code requirements are satisfied.

At present, the average cost to build a home in Philadelphia is more than it is worth on the market. Many builders say using modular construction could significantly reduce prices in the Philadelphia area. Some have even suggested building a modular-component factory closer to Philadelphia in order to reduce transportation costs.

Regardless of whether a building company uses modular construction or standard methods, the contracts involved can be complicated. It is wise to consult an real estate attorney to ensure that all potential problems are addressed before they develop.

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, “Modular construction is common in Philadelphia,” Alan J. Heavens, April 15, 2012.