Modular Homes Speed Disaster Recovery

Modular homes are playing a crucial role in speeding disaster recovery in areas hit hard by recent disasters, including Hurricane Katrina. Because of the speed of construction, durability of construction, advanced engineering and lower costs, builders are increasingly turning to modular construction to replace what so many people lost and to establish structures that will better-stand the forces of severe weather in the future.

Modular homes, also called systems built homes, were long misunderstood by government oversight agencies and the general public, often confused with “manufactured homes” and mobile homes. However, perception has quickly changed as the affordability, energy efficiency, durability and speedy construction of modular homes has become more publicized and understood.

“Many people thought that modular homes were little more than cookie-cutter manufactured mobile homes,” says Grant Smereczynsky, CEO of Building Systems Network, a nationwide provider of custom-designed modular homes. “But this assumption could not be further from the truth. In reality, modular homes are meeting housing needs nationwide, both for affordable, high-quality housing and for an expedient solution to help those displaced by hurricanes and other natural disasters. They are not cheaply built manufactured homes, but are engineering marvels that are stronger, more energy efficient and more cost effective than traditional site built homes.”

Builders throughout the Southeast, in areas hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina, are using modular homes to rebuild cities and replace the government issued trailers that have served the residents as temporary housing since the disaster. Builders in Mississippi and Alabama have recently announced modular home designs that can withstand 150 – 160 MPH wind speeds.

Modular homes are being built at an average cost that is 20% less than traditional site built homes in New Orleans, one of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina. Architects are working with modular home designers in New Orleans to create homes and buildings that emphasize the cities historical and cultural roots, as in the famous French Quarter of the city. Area builders say that modular construction is particularly cost efficient for them because of the high cost and short supply of labor and materials for on-site rebuilding. modular home builder

Modular homes are constructed in pieces in controlled factory environments. The pieces are then shipped to the site where they are assembled. Because the pieces need to be shipped, they are built much stronger than traditional site built homes, using ten to fifteen percent more construction materials than are normally used. These safety benefits are passed on to the homebuyer, which is especially crucial in areas susceptible to hurricanes and other severe weather situations.

Modular homes are more energy efficient that traditional homes, leading the way in the green building movement, and are constructed in weeks rather than months, reducing the interest and number of payments on construction loans, thus reducing the overall cost to the homebuyers. Since modular home builders provide 80 to 85 percent of the home, the buyer avoids the risk of giving money to a builder and not having the home built to their specifications, or of having their price inflated by numerous change orders. All of these savings make modular homes a perfect solution for people trying to rebuild their lives and need all the financial resources they can spare

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