Monday, May 31, 2010

Exciting new company "New Old" Green Modular Homes

When many people think of custom modular homes, they think of a family finally realizing their dream of building their own home on their own land out in the country. Well, from June 4 to June 17 you can come see a beautiful custom modular home designed by Country Living Magazine in Manhattan. That's because a modular home company with a bold new concept has worked with the magazine to design a country style cottage called the "Hudson" to be built and placed by the World Financial Center in Lower Manhattan.

The Company is New World Home, LLC and the concept they promote is to merge historical home design with contemporary construction techniques to produce a house that blends seamlessly into its environment. They call these historic looking sustainable homes New Old Green Modular or NOGM. The result is a beautiful home that fits in perfectly with the existing homes around it while saving the owner money on utilities and leaving less of a footprint on the environment. The Hudson Cottage is scheduled to be open to the public on Tuesday June 4 on 220 Vessey St. The house has been featured in nearly every New York newspaper and magazine and the opening of the Cottage to the public is becoming a much anticipated event. If you have an interest in modular homes and you find yourself in the New York City area in early June, I highly recommend you check this house out-I know I will.

Rather than try to describe the details of the homes available by New World Home I think I'll just add a link that will send you to their website, which does an incredible job of explaining the concept of the company, the building process and the different models in an interactive manner.
Their site is

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Avoid an expensive mistake when building a modular home

So you want to act as your own contractor. One of the advantages of building a modular home is that since much of the work is performed in a factory environment, many home buyers take the opportunity to save some money by acting as their own contractor for the remaining jobs left to complete the house. Because a modular home can be set on the foundation in a day or two, the owner-builder is more able to manage the remaining work, so many home buyers take the opportunity to supervise at least some of jobs. This can help the home owner (sometimes called owner-builder) to keep costs down and possibly build a larger home than they might otherwise be able to afford.

In this post, we'll be concerned with one particular area of the modular home construction process- the Foundation. If you have begun researching modular home construction you have probably become aware of the misconceptions many people have about what a true modular home is, and why it is totally different from a mobile home, or trailer. To review, a modular home is a home that is largely completed in a factory environment to the specifications required by State and Local building Codes for the particular piece of land it will be placed on (unlike a mobile home which is only required to conform to HUD standards and sits on a frame so it can be moved). A modular home is placed on a permanent foundation, just like a traditional site built home. The foundation is one of the areas mentioned earlier that some owner-builders contract themselves in order to save money on their new home. While I am not going to discourage anyone from taking on this task, I would just like to provide a word of caution that may save you thousands of dollars and some headaches. Simply put, make sure when you hire out a contractor to build your foundation, make sure you hire a licensed contractor who has previous experience in building foundations for modular homes. I will explain why now.

If you have ever seen a modular home being placed on its foundation, it is a very amazing thing. A crew of people basically guide an entire home, or module by spinning it as it is being lowered by a crane onto a permanent foundation. One of the amazing things is that even as large as a house can be, the crew can get the house to fit squarely on the foundation to within about a quarter of an inch all the way around. And once the modular home has been set on the foundation it would be very hard for anyone driving by to tell that the house was not built on site.

With this in mind, we need to consider the fact that since a modular home is already mostly completed when it is set on its foundation, that leaves very little room for error by the group that builds the foundation. In a traditional site built home, if the foundation is a few inches off one way or another, it can be corrected as the home is being constructed without too much inconvenience. On the other hand, if the foundation for a modular home is off even a few inches, it can cause some very expensive problems to correct. I have heard of instances where the modular home was being set on a foundation and it did not fit correctly. If it is determined that the house was built to the correct specifications and the foundation was incorrect, the builder (which in some cases is the person buying the house acting as his own contractor) is responsible for correcting the problem. This can be very expensive, since the only way to correct this is to either hire an engineer to come up with a solution for fixing the problem in a manner that is safe. The other option is if the foundation was not measured correctly and the house was not even put on the foundation in the first place is to repair the foundation first, then set the house. This option is costly as well because it will probably involve an extra day of renting a crane to set the house, as well as the cost of the set up crew. These expenses can add several thousand dollars to the project.

So to conclude, I certainly do not want to discourage you from acting as your own contractor when building a modular home, I just want to point out that the building of the foundation is one area that you need to be particularly careful with, since even a seasoned veteran who has been building home foundations for years may not be aware of the extra importance of the accuracy in building a foundation for a modular home.