Latest USM News

Prefabulous Small Houses

Prefabulous Small Houses

Sheri Koones, Best Selling Author’s latest book is available for preorder. Prefabulous Small Houses Prefab home construction has arrived. The benefits of buildings a prefab home (they are better built,  use resources more efficiently, and are healthier to live in) apply just as well to vacation homes as they do to primary residences. Prefabulous Small Houses explores the beauty, variety, design, and environmentally positive benefits of prefab construction through the wide variety of prefabrication methods in use today and with prefabulous examples from across the country. The houses range in size from 400 sq. ft. to 2,000 sq. ft. and are built with modular, SIPs, panelized, log home packages, kit packages, and hybrid systems. Building with prefab usually means spending less for a better quality home. And it also means building greener; all the houses featured are highly energy efficient and sustainable. About The Author Sheri Koones is a bestselling author and expert on prefabrication whose previous books include Modular Mansions, Prefabulous, Prefabulous + Sustainable, Prefabulous + Almost Off the Grid, and Prefabulous World. She won the prestigious Robert Bruss Real Estate Book Award from NAREE in 2008, 2011, and 2013. Koones is also a columnist and...
Custom Modular Home Installed in the Black Hills

Custom Modular Home Installed in the Black Hills

It was a sight to see in Black Hawk in the Black Hills as installation of a million dollar modular home took place, using a 150-ton hydraulic crane to lift and set the modules into place. The custom home was built and trucked to the Black Hills from Utah by Irontown Homes. While it’s still gaining popularity in our area, one local contractor says modular homes can help save the client about a third of the amount of normal construction time and in some cases can be more cost effective. Bill Barber says, “It allowed the owner to make some early decisions on what they wanted and see their product built in a controlled environment. It can speed up construction; instead of building in inclement weather in the wintertime, they’re building in a shop in a controlled environment.” The installation posed a difficult challenge for crews because of the narrow roads and heavy equipment needed to install the units. Modular homes differ from mobile homes because modular homes follow a federal building code, which imposes higher standards. Brad Tomecek says, “The concept of the design is to feel like you’re in the trees, so it’s a small detail but all the windows go floor to ceiling and actually they go past the ceiling from the inside which starts to give you these very irregular vertical openings, so it’s almost as if you’re outside looking through the trees. Barber, who is the site’s general contractor, says units of this caliber and modern designs are new to our area but they are a fun challenge. Read the entire article: Black Hills...
Modular Affordable Housing Project Back on Track

Modular Affordable Housing Project Back on Track

The world’s tallest proposed modular tower may actually reach its full potential. Developer Bruce Ratner has finally resumed work on his 32-story residential building next to the Barclays Center after a five-month hiatus stemming from a dispute with construction giant Skanska over the pre-fabricated design. As a result of that legal fight, Ratner gained control of Skanska’s factory in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where modules for the proposed tallest modular tower were made. Now Ratner’s company, Forest City Ratner, said it expects the factory will be operating at full capacity by the end of the month. The experimental building was billed as the first of a new generation of affordable skyscrapers, with Ratner even boasting once that his modular plans would “crack the code” on high-rise development in the city. But with the factory coming back online, the project is back on track. We are committed to completing the world’s tallest modular building by using the same technology that we started it with,” Bob Sanna, executive vice president of Forest City, told the Daily News. “More workers are returning to work as the factory gets back into full swing.” The company says about 50 people are already back at work, and 150 more union workers, who were furloughed by the closure of the factory last summer, have been asked to return to work. The developer is also hiring internally for construction management positions. The building, known as B2 BKLYN, would be the first residential building at Ratner’s long-delayed Pacific Park, the 22-acre, 6,000-plus unit mixed-use residential and commercial development formerly known as Atlantic Yards.  Read the entire article: New York...
Stunning Modern Prefab Made from 7 Modules

Stunning Modern Prefab Made from 7 Modules

Karoleena Homes founders Kurt and Chris Goodjohn started their careers constructing conventional stick-built homes in southwestern Canada but after three or four years, they had an epiphany. “This is stupid,” Kurt recalls telling his sibling. “The way we build houses is dumb.” Their frustration led them to seek out prefabricated, modular solutions that re-thought all the problems they saw with the delivery of homes using conventional methods—problems such as labor issues and construction delays. In 2005, they founded Karoleena and began offering what they call “designer prefab homes.” The firm’s Springbank dwelling—in a suburb of Calgary—demonstrates a jump in scale from its earlier work. The two-story, 4,350-square-foot house comprises seven modules set on top of a poured-in-place concrete foundation with basement. The total cost of the project was $2.4 million—about $450 per square foot. “It was our first big custom home,” Goodjohn notes. “There’s a complexity of design,” which the brothers say helps prove that prefabricated construction can be used at this scale and still look good. The home’s plan is straightforward, with an entry between a three-car garage and the square main body of the structure. A central staircase provides access to the fully finished basement (which was constructed on site) and the smaller second floor, whose three bedrooms are set back from the first floor’s outline and extend over a portion of the garage. The focus of the main level is the interconnected living/dining/kitchen spaces that span the rear of the home in an open layout. “They’re rectangles and squares,” Goodjohn says of the prefabricated pieces, but the individuality of each is craftily concealed in the final...
Should I Consider Buying/Building a Modular Home?

Should I Consider Buying/Building a Modular Home?

Modular homes are differentiated from site-built homes. In New York State, the Residential Code of New York State defines a factory-manufactured home (modular home) as a structure designed primarily for residential occupancy. Its components are entirely, or in substantial part, manufactured in manufacturing facilities and are intended or designed for permanent installation, or assembly and permanent installation, on a building site. Modular homes must conform to applicable provisions of the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code (Uniform Code) and must bear the insignia of approval issued by the New York Secretary of State. Homes manufactured after Jan. 1, 2006 must have a manufacturer’s warranty seal, a building permit, and an installer’s warranty seal. No person or business may manufacture, sell, install or service a manufactured home unless that person or business is certified, and at least one certified person must be on-site. Certificates of Occupancy may not be issued until warranty seals are installed in the largest closet in the largest bedroom in the home. Contrary to popular belief, the concept and building of modular homes are not of recent vintage. Beginning in 1895, Sears, Roebuck & Co. offered do-it-yourself home kits and building plans, sold via mail order. From 1908–1940, about 500,000 of these homes were sold–there is one right here in Riverdale! From 1945 on, when soldiers returning from World War II needed affordable homes to be built as quickly as possible, modular construction has become an accepted part of home building in the United States. Most of us are accustomed to site-built, or “stick-built” homes, which are constructed at the building site. In...
Green Building Trends: An Architect’s Perspective on Modular Construction

Green Building Trends: An Architect’s Perspective on Modular Construction

By Kathy Werder In October 2000 a massive flood in Uckfield, England, put parts of the town under 6 feet of water severely damaging a McDonald’s restaurant. Just two weeks later, that same McDonald’s was up and running again. How? With speed, quality and efficiency, modular construction has become the ideal solution for both temporary and permanent space required in sectors such as healthcare, higher education and low-rise offices. Today McDonald’s is at the forefront of modular construction technology in the United Kingdom and has set up several franchises using the sustainable modular construction model. Each structure took just four weeks to build, and a reduced impact on the environment and the improvement of whole-life performance are among the many benefits. Advancement of technology in the 21st century has given rise to this faster, more cost-efficient method of building construction. It is so named because each individual unit (module) of the building is prefabricated in a factory while the foundation is prepared at the actual construction site. After the modules are ready, they are then transported to the site and assembled on top of the foundation. So, as opposed to traditional construction, the two phases in modular construction (foundation laying and building) happen simultaneously instead of sequentially. This is mostly why modular construction is more cost-effective and time-efficient compared to traditional construction. Here are some more interesting facts about modular construction. 1. Modular building is Flexible and Can be Customized to Suit your Budget Modular construction can be easily dismantled and re-assembled to another location.  In some cases, the entire building can be recycled thus reducing the need for new raw materials. ...
Modular Construction: Keeping Waste Out of Landfills

Modular Construction: Keeping Waste Out of Landfills

When we think about the overflow of our nation’s landfills, we probably picture limiting our food waste; recycling plastics, glass and paper; and keeping out potentially harmful hazardous waste. What we probably don’t consider is one of the largest sources of waste generation, construction and demolition (C&D) waste.  It is estimated that anywhere from 25 to 40 percent of the national solid waste stream is building-related waste, with only 20 percent of C&D waste being recycled. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimated, in 2003, that 164 million tons of building-related waste was generated in the United States annually. Those are pretty staggering numbers.  But, how can we scale these down to understand the amount of construction and demolition waste generated in a typical building project? A standard new building project produces an average of 3.9 pounds of waste per square foot.  To put this in perspective, a mid-sized 50,000 sq. ft. office building will produce 195,000 pounds of waste. That’s almost 100 tons! If that project first includes building demolition, then these figures increase dramatically. This same 50,000 sq. ft. building will now be responsible for creating 4,000 tons of waste, or a staggering 155 pounds per square foot. The Modular Environmental Advantage With the rise of modular construction as an affordable and efficient alternative to traditional construction, there is now a sustainable option for keeping tons of waste out of our nation’s landfills with each new build. Modular buildings are designed and constructed as individual sections, called “modules.” The individual modules are fabricated off-site in a manufacturing plant using traditional assembly-line methods. Once the modules are built they...
California MultiFamily Prefab Project Updates

California MultiFamily Prefab Project Updates

Updates on Valencia Grove Multifamily Project built using Prefab Construction in Redlands, CA The Valencia Grove Project built using Prefab Construction will contribute significantly to the City of Redlands economy and job creation efforts. Approximately $35 million was secured for the first phase, which consists of 4% Low Income Housing Tax Credits, tax-exempt bonds, and conventional financing. During this phase, 62 of the original 115 units were demolished to make way for 85 new affordable housing units. Utilizing an innovative Prefab Construction format, factory-built affordable housing units were installed and this substantially accelerated the construction schedule and saved on site labor costs. The 228 unit-community includes three park/playground areas, a recreational center with a swimming pool, an educational facility, and community gardens. An on-site deconstruction/construction training program has been implemented to maximize the amount of salvaged material and provide valuable job training and experience for residents. This slideshow requires JavaScript. Contact US Modular Home Builders for more information! info@usmodularinc.com 888-987-6638  ...
Prefab Dream Home Becomes a Reality

Prefab Dream Home Becomes a Reality

Working with US Modular, Inc. has been a great process so far. Abe Ferreira, the CEO, took our project on himself. He took the time during the Thanksgiving holiday to meet with us on our land and discuss the process with us in detail for over an hour. Abe has been very responsive every time we call with questions and absolutely patient with us during the design phase of building our house. It is a big deal for anybody to take on a project like building a house. It can be very stressful and anxious at times but Abe has been be able to put our minds at ease and reassure us every step of the way. Abe has been an answer to our prayers and we are so excited to start the next step of building our dream home with US Modular! Sincerely,   Matt and Amanda Servant info@usmodularinc.com 888-987-6638...
Prefab Grows Up

Prefab Grows Up

Forward-thinking builders have long sought ways to improve the traditional stick-built, on-site process. Enter prefab, whose most recent iterations offer the latest in quality control, speedy delivery, innovative materials, and sustainability—a long way from its early 1900s roots of Sears, Roebuck & Co. mail order. Prefab has undergone fits and starts. Resistance has come in a litany of perceptions, from inferior quality that conjures visions of mobile homes to the belief that standardized designs leave little or no room for customization to fear that workers’ jobs will be axed. But Frank Baker pushes back. Thirty years ago, after working for General Motors, Baker started a company that makes SIPs for prefab houses and then founded Insulspan in Blissfield, Mich. “The challenge is that a prefab house requires greater advance planning since you can’t make decisions on the fly on a building site,” Baker says. “You need to be much better disciplined ahead of time.” But the upside, he adds, is that once that’s done, it’s far easier to execute the house. In addition, jobs aren’t lost, just moved inside the factory. “For years we’ve been saying that nobody would think to build a car on a driveway, so why would builders construct a house that way?” asks Donna Peak, executive director, Building Systems Council of the NAHB. Newer prefab construction techniques use precut parts,  panelized systems, concrete forms, and  modules. Yet the number of U.S. homes assembled this way remains small—about 2 percent of the country’s new single-family housing starts, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Buyers are attracted by a host of reasons, such as competitive initial...