In the wake of wildfires, modular home builders have stepped up to provide speedy rebuilds at reduced costs to help fire victims get back on their feet.

In recent years, California has been devastated by wildfires—with the largest and deadliest fires in the state’s recorded history occurring in 2018. With record numbers of homes lost to fire and an ongoing labor shortage, fire victims determined to rebuild have found that traditional site-built construction is more costly and time intensive than ever before.

To help ease the housing crisis, prefab companies across the nation are providing their services to fire victims at reduced rates. One such firm is Southern California based modular home builder USModular, Inc. The company offers not only discounted pricing, but also faster build times, pre-determined costs, and fire-resistant designs.

“We are typically 50% to 70% faster than stick built homes,” says Bill Cavanaugh, VP of USModular, Inc. He adds that the firm is currently in the process of building a home in Malibu. “In areas affected by catastrophes, we can be orders of magnitude faster—as there simply isn’t the availability of trade labor to complete stick-built in a timely fashion.”

“The trade shortage is especially evident when areas are impacted by a catastrophe such as a wildfire. There’s zero elasticity in the labor market, so local prices go up and the timeline get pushed out—the worst thing possible for people whom just lost their home.  We address this taking the time to build a full-time team that we invest in. Because we have centralized, full-time trades, we’ve been fairly insulated against the shortage.”

USModular, Inc delivers most of its homes 90% complete—including exterior siding, millwork, finished plumbing, appliances, and other features—which vastly reduces the time required for on-site work. As a result, people can typically expect to move in to their modular homes in just six months after the start of construction.

“The labor shortage has spurred interest in prefab, as the public and especially developers are recognizing the many benefits that prefab offers (chiefly quality assurance and time, as described above, and cost for many expensive areas),” explains Bill Cavanaugh of USModular, Inc

“Especially in areas affected by wildfires, where builders, skilled trades, and inspectors are in high demand, our offsite process can help home owners complete their rebuild six to 12 months faster than would otherwise be possible.”

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