If you have suffered through the process of site-built home construction, you very well may have witnessed some delays in the construction waiting for building inspectors to arrive and approve a phase of building before moving forward. Or worse, maybe there was a deficiency, and something had to be fixed and re-inspected before proceeding. Either way, delays result in unnecessary frustrations and costs.
Have you ever seen a team of quality assurance inspectors watching your home as it was being constructed at each step of the process? Well, that is what happens in the modular home industry. Within each factory, there are several third party inspectors that make sure your modular home meets federal, state and local building codes in compliance with where your home will eventually be set. All modular homes are inspected and successfully meet UBC (universal building code) and IRC (international residence code) criteria, and thus, it often exceeds local building code requirements. Visual examinations are performed by these inspectors on all physical structures and systems of the home as it is being built. This includes electrical wiring, plumbing fixtures, walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors, roof, attic, insulation and components of the HVAC system.
Essentially from roof to floor in these homes are monitored from start to finish. Once your modular home arrives to the site, you or your builder will already have completed necessary inspections of the foundation and other site preparation items so that the modules can be assembled and secured. Once all the tie in and button up procedures are completed, a final building inspection will be needed on the home including electrical and health department inspections most of the time. This will then allow you to receive a certificate of occupancy (CO) and move into your home.
Because quality assurance measures are so high within the modular home factory, inspections of this portion are rarely an issue. Again, it is typical that the quality of construction exceeds the local building code requirements. But what if I am going to live in an area with special requirements? No problem.
Once your design and location are submitted to a modular home manufacturer, third party inspectors automatically review the local and state building codes for your area. If special items are required, the blueprint for your home's construction is altered to accommodate these needs. For instance, in some regions additional wind and snow loads are required because of the climate, and these factors must be added to the strength and construction of your home. It is more likely that a local subcontractor may fail to meet requirements of the building code than it would be for a modular home factory inspector.
By conforming to UBC and IRC criteria for quality building, consistency in home quality is always achieved. Because of this and the need for increased reinforcement for purposes of shipping, a higher quality standard is met within the modular home industry. By having inspectors monitor your home's assembly daily, quality is guaranteed, and this is why modular homes make the most sense.
Michael Zenga founded ZN Custom Building in 2002 which specializes in Modular Home Construction in the Boston, MA area. Known as the Modular Building Specialist, Michael is an unabashed advocate for the industry and contributes related articles to many publications. If you have a question about modular homes or inspection driven quality, contact Michael Zenga today!