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How long does it take to build a modular home?
Whether you are buying or building, getting your hands on a new home isn’t a process you can hurry. Even if you’re purchasing a ready-built, turnkey home, the process can (and should) take months. You’ll want to do all your research to figure out what you want in a home, where you want to live, and what’s available. But that’s all advice for another blog post.
Here, we will give you our best approximation of timelines for building a modular home with Prestige Homes and offer you some insight into what’s involved at each stage of the process. “Approximations” because, as you will come to see, there are many factors that can affect the time it takes to get from initial ideas to move-in day. While we can only speak to our process, this will be pretty typical for any modular builder and you will also see areas where a modular build may offer efficiencies over a traditional “stick-built” approach.
The bottom line
Including the time it takes to do your research, finalize the design of your home, to the day you move in, it’s going to take anywhere from 6 to 10 months to build a modular home with Prestige Homes.
Let’s get that out there right from the start. Unless you are purchasing a stock home right off the lot (and demand means these can be few and far between), you should expect the process to take this amount of time.
Mini-homes will tend to be at the lower end of this spectrum, with more complex modular builds – like a larger, 2-storey house – pushing towards the top end. That said, there are many factors that can add time to even a mini-home build, like additions such as garages, decks, and porches.
At Prestige Homes, we want to be clear and transparent about these timeframes to make sure your expectations are set and met. It’s important to keep this in mind if you are planning to build with us. Crucially, it also means that if you want a summer move, you need to start the process the previous fall, and if you want to be in your new home by Christmas, you need to reach out to us in the early spring.
Or, to put it in a catchier, more easily remembered terms:
For a summer move, call in the fall.
For a Christmas move, ring in the spring.
These are the most sought-after move times, but it’s only by planning ahead that they become realistic.
With that bottom line delivered right up front, let’s get into the nitty gritty of what’s involved in a modular build – every step of the way.
Modular Merit: When you build with us, you will rarely experience a weather delay and your half-built home will never be exposed to the elements, as all our homes are built indoors, in a climate-controlled factory.
Consideration Phase (2-4 weeks)
So, you’ve decided you want a new home. Now you’ll need to decide if you want to buy or build. That’s really step one and there are lots of things to consider that will factor into this decision. If you decide to build, you’ll want to do your research and figure out if a modular home is the right option for you. From there, you’ll need to look into the modular builders in your area. Take a look at some floor plans to get a feel for what’s possible. Browse the company’s previous builds, scrutinize its history and reputation, and check out some customer testimonials. Feel out some finishes and cook up a little inspiration.
Once you’ve done your homework, it’s time to reach out. Perhaps you’ll want to make contact with a couple of builders on your shortlist. Talk to a human and get a feel for the company. Are they friendly, enthusiastic, keen to help? Do they return your calls in a timely manner and provide you with all the information you’re looking for? These early interactions can speak volumes to what you can come to expect from a relationship that may last the better part of a year, so it’s important to feel a sense of comfort and reassurance with your builder from the get-go.
In the case of Prestige Homes, all our homes are sold through our network of independent retailers. While the homes are constructed in our climate-controlled factory in Sussex, New Brunswick (where we have built over 14,000 homes since we began operations in 1973), we do not sell homes direct from the factory. That’s why it’s important that your first call is to the Prestige Homes retailer in the area you plan to build your new home or cottage. They are the experts who can provide you with all the information you’ll need, including samples of hardware and finish options, plans you can look at and use as a base to discuss customization options, and ballpark pricing. Some – but not all – of our retailers also have display homes you will be able to tour.
Once you’ve looked over some plans, discussed customization and finish options, and have been given an accurate price estimate based on your unique wants and needs, the time will come to make the decision that you want to move ahead with the build. Once you have made that decision, a deposit – which can be applied towards a future payment for the house – is typically required in order for us to start creating drawings and it is at this point we will enter the next exciting phase, where you’ll see the vision for your home really start taking shape.
Modular Merit: Because our homes are built in a factory, site work can be completed at the same time construction is taking place, so it doesn’t delay the build!
Design Phase (4-12 weeks)
In the design phase, we really get into the details of your home. This phase is about getting specific and finalizing plans. In short, no stone will be left unturned. You will work with our expert retailers to pick out all your finishes – from siding to shingles, flooring to cabinets – and make sure everything that’s going into your home is to your liking. At Prestige Homes, we pride ourselves on a high level of customization.
At the same time, we’ll begin looking at the site your home will be built on. (Of course, when building a home, you will need to have a piece of land to put it on, and that’s something we can help with, too.) A site visit will typically be arranged at this point to make sure there is sufficient room for our trucks to access the area to deliver the home, as well as to determine what work will be involved at the site.
Modular Merit: When you build modular, all costs are itemized and signed off before the build begins, so there are never any hidden or unexpected costs. What you sign off on is what you pay!
If everything is 100 per cent to your liking, your signature on a Purchase and Sale Agreement (your contract with us) and payment of a minimum 5 per cent deposit will mark the end of the Design Phase and the beginning of the Construction Preparation phase. In other words, at this point, all responsibility shifts to us and you can sit back, relax, and wait for your home to be built.
Construction Preparation Phase (4-6 weeks)
Before we start sawing, sanding, and hammering out your home, we have to get our ducks aligned at the factory. While those earlier floorplans and elevation drawings were great to get an idea of the final home, our Mod Squad of expert modular builders will need a little more to go on.
During this 4-to-6-week period, we will be busy finalizing more detailed construction drawings, such as electrical and shop drawings. We must make sure that nothing is overlooked and every detail of your home is committed to paper before we ever swing a hammer. Once this work is done, the house will be issued for construction and on we go to the next exciting phase.
Factory Construction Phase (10-14 weeks)*
*Firstly, let’s get that asterisk out of the way. This time estimation is just that – an estimation based on the average time it takes to build a home, notwithstanding exceptional circumstances. Rarely will it be less, but quite possibly it could take more time to complete construction of your home.
Variables such as time of year, the number of orders we currently have in the queue, and timeframes to secure materials from our suppliers can all have an effect on how long it takes to put your place together. There are times when things get substantially busier and timelines have to be extended; however, we are always diligent to keep you informed of any developments along the way.
Modular Merit: Once you have worked with our experts to choose every detail of your home, your work is done. No trips to the hardware store to pick out flooring. No unexpected or costly surprises. Just sit back, relax, and let us custom-build your home.
Of course, there are lots of materials we keep in stock at our factory, such as lumber, drywall, roof shingles, and standard plumbing fixtures. These are things we know are going to go into every home. But with the great amount of customization we offer you in the design of your home, many of the materials will only be ordered once your home has been issued for construction. Things like windows, doors, and specialized products that we don’t stock at the factory can take as long as 6-8 weeks to come in, so in many respects timing depends on your tastes!
This is the key reason we can’t speed up the construction process. If it was as simple as building just your home and all the materials were right there ready to go, well, let’s just say that you might be surprised just how quickly our Mod Squad of modular builders could have your home expertly built and ready to roll! But the reality is that it takes time to get all the materials in their hands and all 360 points of our rigorous internal inspection process thoroughly checked to ensure your home meets your expectations – and our own.
During construction, you will also have the opportunity to come for a factory tour*. We’ll give you a hard hat, reflective vest, ear plugs, and toe protectors, and you’ll be guided through our factory where you’ll be able to witness firsthand your home under construction.
As your home nears the end of the line in our factory, so will your wait. We’re not quite there yet, but your move-in date is in sight!
*At time of writing, factory tours are not being offered due to COVID-19 protocols.
Simultaneous Site Preparation Work (4 weeks, approx.*)
*This time, that asterisk is good news! These 4 weeks aren’t in addition to the other phases. Site preparation work – such as securing permits; any clearing of the land that might be necessary (removing trees and other debris to create a space for your home, and accessibility for our trucks); leveling of the land to allow for proper drainage and laying of foundation; well and septic installation (if the home is being placed outside of city limits) – can all be completed before your home even shows up, shaving weeks off the overall building process. This is a unique advantage to building modular!
Site Finishing Phase (4-8 weeks)
We always try to complete as much work in the factory as we possibly can, but depending on the complexity of your home, there can be as much as 4-8 weeks of work left to be completed onsite to finish the house once it arrives. Again, mini-homes are typically – but not always – at the lower end of this spectrum, and it’s important to note that there are factors that may cause these timelines to be extended, such as unusually busy periods and winter weather.
While weather rarely impacts the construction phase because our homes are built indoors, we are still somewhat at the mercy of the elements when work moves to the site. For instance, the cold can make it difficult to affix siding, and we wouldn’t want to be attempting to make your home weather-tight during a rainstorm or heavy snowfall! Adverse weather conditions can also delay delivery, should, say, a blizzard hit on the planned delivery day, making it too treacherous for our trucks to take to the highways.
During this final phase, the house will arrive on a truck (or multiple trucks, depending on the size of the home) and placed on the foundation. Next, the house is raised and connected, siding is added to the gable ends, and final connections to water, sewer, and electrical service are made.
On the outside, any exterior stairs and decks will be built. Inside, any necessary drywall repairs will be taken care of, along with work to cover the joints where the pieces come together. If there is a basement in the home, the walls will be studded and insulated as required by building codes. Any additions such as garages will also need to be completed on-site, along with any specialty items that can’t be tackled in the factory – for example, forced-air furnace or HVAC systems, custom tiled showers, etc.
Inspections will also take place throughout this process to make sure every detail has been addressed to the strictest of quality codes. Not only will your home be subject to our own strict inspections – it will also have to measure up to building codes, as well as the added scrutiny of Mike Holmes’ Holmes Approved Homes team.*
*Holmes Approved Homes modular home inspections take place onsite, while mini-home inspections take place only at our factory.
Modular Merit: Building in a climate-controlled factory negates the risk of water damage and weather delays, while building ‘inside-out’ makes for a more energy-efficient home. To learn more about the build, check out this video.
Happy-Ever-After Phase (the rest of your life)
All that’s left is for us to hand you the keys and introduce you to your new home. Our experts will conduct a thorough walkthrough with you and provide a detailed orientation to ensure you understand all the systems and features. (Don’t worry – there won’t be a test, and we will leave you with in-depth written instructions!)
AND DON’T FORGET THE GOLDEN RULE OF PRESTIGE HOME CONSTRUCTION TIMELINES:
For a summer move, call in the fall.
For a Christmas move, ring in the spring.
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