New Modular Construction

7 Replies

I'm considering a new multifamily modular construction in Southern California.  I'm just curious to know, with so much of the construction phase being performed off-site for prefabs as opposed to stick-built properties, why there remains to be such a large discrepancy in new construction cost among locations?  For instance, it's $190/sq ft in SoCal, but in some other places it's $100, absent the cost of the land.

Are there modular builders that offer a more-or-less consistent pricing regardless of location?

Also, who's a recommended modular builder in SoCal?

Thanks!

David

The costs you will incur an addition to the mod units would be your initial site, work, footers, foundation, crane cost,set up contractor fees, HVAC systems, finish electrical, finish plumbing and trim out.  Your mod unit costs should not vary much from plant to plant.  Shipping charges will vary from plant locations.   I can refer you to a company with a wall system that is a bit different but can save you money over modular units.  There is more work done on site but should save you money offer, time and offer more benefits than modular construction.  The only real benefits mod construction offer these days is time and units are built in controlled environment.  They are typically more expensive than site built except for areas of the country with higher labor costs.  Feel free to pm me.

I love modular construction. We used to work for a start up modular builder in Washington State. The methods of construction, especially if they are automating parts of it are far superior to site built.

For example we used special machine for cutting and framing the walls. The machines would take the wall and optimize the cuts to get the most out if each piece of lumber, minimizing waste and material costs. Then the framing machines would place everything within a 1/32" tolerance. Site built tolerances in framing are +\- 1/2". That can be HUGE when you look down a wall and see tilts and waves.

In addition not only are the boxes built to building code standards but they have to be built to DOT standards as they travel on a semi trailer from dopant to site.

We also found that the construction timeframes are greatly reduced if you phase your project properly. While the boxes are being built get all you site work and foundation work done and quality checked so that when boxes start arriving you pick right from the truck into place. This will greatly reduce your carrying costs and get you from construction to revenue generation much more quickly. We could get a box from a pile of lumber to finished and ready for transport in 14 working days. Crazy huh?!?

As mentioned your box cost shouldn't vary too much. Just your transport and site costs based on your site location and distance from the plant.

Originally posted by @Suzanne Griffiths :

I love modular construction. We used to work for a start up modular builder in Washington State. The methods of construction, especially if they are automating parts of it are far superior to site built.

For example we used special machine for cutting and framing the walls. The machines would take the wall and optimize the cuts to get the most out if each piece of lumber, minimizing waste and material costs. Then the framing machines would place everything within a 1/32" tolerance. Site built tolerances in framing are +\- 1/2". That can be HUGE when you look down a wall and see tilts and waves.

In addition not only are the boxes built to building code standards but they have to be built to DOT standards as they travel on a semi trailer from dopant to site.

We also found that the construction timeframes are greatly reduced if you phase your project properly. While the boxes are being built get all you site work and foundation work done and quality checked so that when boxes start arriving you pick right from the truck into place. This will greatly reduce your carrying costs and get you from construction to revenue generation much more quickly. We could get a box from a pile of lumber to finished and ready for transport in 14 working days. Crazy huh?!?

As mentioned your box cost shouldn't vary too much. Just your transport and site costs based on your site location and distance from the plant.

Do you have any recommendations for modular builders in Washington state?

I'll check with a few of my contacts to see who is still doing modular in the area. The company I was working for wasn't able to sustain the economic downturn after 9/11. Method Homes was doing SFR's, but not with the equipment we were using.

You might want to look at Deltec homes in GA. It is panelized housing. Faster assembly times to build the outer walls, you can design the interior walls any way you want si9nce they are not load bearing. Meets building codes in all 50 states I believe. They also do design as well. Deltechomes.com

What's the cost of living in California compared to other places? What's the cost of labor? What's the cost of utilities? What's the cost of taxes? What's the cost of materials? What margin are these companies looking for? What is the building code? Answer these questions and you'll start to understand why a modular company on CA has different pricing than a modular somewhere else. Not to mention that whole earthquake thing.

let me know the region of southern cal. I have some excellent contacts for you. It is a nice product and very needed for more affordable housing. The biggest obstacle lately has been getting water meters to site as in southern cal we still have that drought.

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