Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Dwell House

In discussing this project with friends, I always find myself trying to explain what "modular" housing actually is.  For many I can simply say it's a “Dwell House” as they are avid readers of the magazine.  For others the term modular or prefab is reminiscent of trailer homes (sometime referred to as double wides) or something (god forbid) like the famous FEMA trailers circa Hurricane Katrina.

Modular building has been around for sometime time and trace it back to Buckminster Fuller over 80 years ago. They can take on many forms including traditional looking housing. The home to the left was built in a factory by Clayton Homes, a company corporate visionary Warren Buffet recently acquired. But in this case, I will be referring to modern modular construction.

From my perspective a modern modular home is constructed using three-dimensional boxes or “modules”, and generally start with either wood or steel framing. These 'prefab' homes are built to the same code as that of an on-site construction project, but these are created in a manufacturing facility.   The interior and exterior, walls, electrical, plumbing, floors, kitchens, bathroom, roofs and stairs are all completed in the factory. The modules are typically 90-95% complete when they come off the assembly line and then prepped for transportation to the site.

After completion, the modular home is shipped in sections to the site via truck, train or barge, and then attached to a permanent foundation at the building site. Several modules can be connected side-by-side or creatively stacked to create a finished home.  The end product is a home that is typically stronger than traditional construction.  Once the home is attached, it is considered real estate and appraised against other custom site-built homes.

Some of the many benefits of modular construction include (many of which I will discuss many in future posts):
  • Factory/Assembly line construction means higher quality
  • Worker repetition means worker process specialization with reduced defects
  • Super Energy Efficient
  • “Zero Energy” consumption from the power grid and in turn a zero carbon footprint
  • Lower building cost
  • Shorter overall project time
  • Improved time and cost predictability
  • Reduced maintenance
  • Exceed typical structural requirements, creating a stronger, solid home.
  • Less risk of time lost to weather

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I get it and anyone who reads Dwell sould instantly know what you are referring to. A video is worth 1000 pictures and hopefully everyone who reads the post will watch the video to see exactly how the homes are put together.