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Old 03-21-2011, 04:16 PM   #1
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Building a house - modular or stick-built?


This topic isn't as DIY as it could be but I'm hoping you guys can help me out.

I was planning to have a house built by bambooliving.com here in Hawaii. My wife and I have since seen one in person and we weren't thrilled so we've decided to take another route. We're looking for something with a more contemporary design now.

Has anyone built a modular (not manufactured) home before? There are a lot of different contemporary modular home companies and each one does things a little differently. Some provide a turnkey home and others act more as consultants/facilitators and put the buyer in touch with manufacturers directly.

Modular should go up a lot faster than stick-built and it sounds like there can be cost advantages too, but I'm still considering stick-built. Can anyone compare them from experience?

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Old 03-21-2011, 05:17 PM   #2
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Building a house - modular or stick-built?


To compare, you must have expectations, possible changes in the canned plan and be able to identify the costs and responsibilities.

Once it gets there and the foundation is complete and accurate, it can be faster than other methods, but you still have the preparation, utility connections, landscaping and finishing (unless you get it with a big red ribbon and encompassing and complete guarantee).

You want a comparison, but have not provided much information, so the best thing to do is talk directly to people on both sides.

Dick

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Old 03-21-2011, 06:34 PM   #3
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Building a house - modular or stick-built?


I'm getting the impression that modular is actually more expensive than stick-built. I am told that a house can be built here for $150/sqft or less and I haven't seen any modular homes online for much less than $250/sqft. I found this which kind of put together some things I had been wondering about:

http://americanbuilders.com/articles...vs_prefab.html
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Old 03-22-2011, 12:32 AM   #4
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Building a house - modular or stick-built?


We are seriously considering a somewhat pre-fab for my son's place. Google Nelson homes. They can design everything, and will pre-fab the walls, build the trusses (which for you is likely NOT a good idea), and sell you most of the materials to finish it up. I have seen a couple of their houses here and they looked very accurately built. The walls are the simple part of a house, and if done by machines in a controlled environment, they can be very well made. They ship enough (at least to AK) to get you weather tight; you do the rest. The walls are all numbered, so 3 or 4 cats can stand them up, put on trusses and get the place weather tight in a week. It was very difficult for us to compete with their prices, so when he goes farther up (we put up the basement) we may well give them a call. Other companies may be as good or better, but the Nelsons that I have seen were good work. The only thing I don't like is the use of OSB; if they'd build w/ plywood, that would be a huge plus, in my book.
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Old 03-22-2011, 12:10 PM   #5
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Building a house - modular or stick-built?


Thanks jklingel. Based on the research I've done so far, stick-built seems less expensive. What I need to do next is get very specific about what I want and get specific prices from a few modular companies and a few local general contractors. One problem with that is the modular companies I've found want around $2k to do a feasibility analysis before you can get really accurate prices and they seem very busy right now with lots of work. I think any GC would work up a quote for free (although I could be wrong) and I get the impression they aren't too busy right now. This is a major shift for me as I was totally set on the modular concept over the last couple weeks as I've been researching it. If you're doing all the site-work yourself though I wouldn't be surprised if you see a savings.
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