Labor shortages and high material costs prompt some to take an alternative approach to rebuilding

Sonoma native Norm Clover sold his home in Glen Ellen less than two years before the October 2017 fires swept through, burning more than 350 homes to the ground in northern Sonoma Valley. His old house survived, but his mother’s house on Sylvia Drive did not. Nonetheless, Marjorie Clover might be considered in an enviable position compared to some, since Clover, now of Park City, Utah, owns a  modular construction company , specializing in craftsman-style panelized home packages, and he has put her on the short-list to get her home rebuilt by Christmas of this year.

Unlike pre-manufactured modular homes, which are almost fully constructed in a factory and delivered to the site on the back of a flatbed, panelized homes utilize prebuilt walls, delivered with windows installed, that are assembled on site. This building model cuts down on labor costs as well as time, and reduces on-site building waste, compared to a home built in the traditional fashion – often called a “stick-built” home, where the majority of materials are brought in and assembled entirely onsite.

Clover said his modular homes are inspected and certified in the factory. Once the 40- by10-foot walls are delivered to the building site, a crew can set an entire house in five to 15 days.

Clover said he hopes to begin construction on his mother’s house this spring, but his timeline has hit two snags. He is still waiting for the plans and permits to be approved by the county, something that has proved less than expeditious, and he’s having a hard time tracking down enough local labor, like framers, to get the job done.

“One of the bottlenecks I see in Sonoma County right now is there are not enough available framing crews to get a house up in that time,” he said. “You need manpower to get a house up.”

This sentiment is being echoed around the county as fire victims turn their attention from cleaning up to rebuilding. With nearly 6,000 homes burned across the county, competition and cost is rising for construction materials and labor.

Prefab or modular construction can help you, your family members, friends and acquaintances in your community to get back to the life you knew before the devastating wildfires in Northern California .

Visit USModular, Inc. website for information