Modular vs Others

The table below sets out the differences between modular homes and other types of home building. This information has been reproduced with kind permission from Modular Today. Their website also has a wealth of other information relating to modular homes.

Northstar is a truly system built manufacturer, as we only build modular homes.

Building Codes Modular homes are treated as traditional homes and must follow local building codes and regulations as well as the International Residential Codes. They also must follow local zoning regulations. Homes built in a factory following the Federal Government HUD Codes - not the local building codes. The HUD Code requires that all mobile homes are manufactured on a non-removable steel chassis (also known as a steel building platform). Mobile homes are subject to local zoning regulations. Traditional homes are subject to the local buildings codes and to the local zoning regulations.
Floor Plans/Design No construction occurs until the homeowners pick the design. Typically builders provide sample plans to help guide you in your customization. Some Modular home Manufacturers offer highly customized homes in both interior and exterior appearances. In some cases it is even possible to have your personal architect design a home and then forward the plans to your modular builder. With Northstar, each and every plan is customizable, and we will work to design anything you would like within the modular parameters. There is very limited customization. Normally you purchase a mobile after it has been built. However the number of manufacturers allowing you to design and customize your mobile home is increasing. Mobile homes are typically single floor homes as they must be built on a non-removable steel chassis. Can be customized to the owner’s preferences. Sometime developers will buy large plots of land, divide it into smaller plots and build identical homes next to each other. You can also hire an architect to design your home according to your preference or purchase home plans online and then hire a contractor to follow those plans. This method of building gives you the most customized option for building as the home doesn’t have to be built in sections that suit transport widths.
Maintenance Cost These homes are built in a climate controlled factory using the same high quality materials that are available for use in traditional homes and more precise building techniques that are capable inside a factory. Modular homes are intentionally designed with additional insulation and other energy savings to reduce your maintenance costs. These homes follow the HUD Codes designed in the 1970s so they are generally not as energy efficient as other homes. Since they are built on-site in all types of weather the quality of the product varies greatly. Research has shown that traditional homes are more likely to require repairs and higher maintenance costs than modular homes.
Resell Value Modular homes increase in value over time. Once they are completed it is nearly impossible to see the difference between traditionally built homes and modular homes. These homes can also be improved or expanded. Generally mobile homes depreciate in value since it is very hard to improve or expand an existing mobile home due to the constraints of the steel chassis. Mobile Homes have been compared with Cars in the past, they depreciate in value over time. Traditional homes will increase in value over time. They can be improved and expanded to accommodate needs if need be.
Timeframe The normal timeframe for the construction of the Modular Home is 8-14 weeks, but totally depends on the size and features of your home. There are additional time savings since construction can begin in the factory at the same time your foundation is being created on your site. Weather has a much reduced impact on the schedule as it can only affect the foundation works, not the entire building process. Typically you can have a mobile home delivered almost the same week since they are usually built and awaiting a purchaser. The normal timeframe is several months. All construction will occur on site, therefore work projects cannot start until the previous project is completed. The work schedule is dependent on the weather conditions, and in the northern states typically foundations cannot be dug in the winter months.
Appearance Appearance can be the same as any traditional site-built home. You can add any style of window, door, wall or architectural feature you prefer. Once completed you cannot tell the difference between modular and traditional homes except for on the inside where the mating walls come together to form a thicker 2x8 wall. They can be in any color but typically all look similar since they are usually one story buildings. They can be single, double or triple wide. The appearance can be customized to the home owner’s preference. Traditional homes can accommodate any architectural preference and are not restricted in any way by the design having to fit the ‘Modular System’
Building Process Modular also enjoys the benefits of assembly-line building in a manufacturing facility. This removes delays cause by the weather and vandalism damages. It is a more efficient process that reduces the cost when compared to traditional homes. Building materials and tradesman aren’t exposed to weather which in turn results in happier tradesman and a better quality home! The process gains from assembly-line manufacturing. This saves time and money which results in much lower prices to the consumer. Labor costs are also greatly reduced since the same craftsmen work on each home and master their section of work. Many Mobile home Manufacturers only offer a fixed range of offerings as far as floor plans go, this enables them to have prints and engineering which they use time and time again helping them reduce costs and have quicker delivery times. This can be the most costly building process as it typically requires nearly the entire house to be custom constructed. It is also vulnerable to weather delays and vandalism costs. This process is the most likely to result in damaged building products like warped wood from rain/snow/sun/wind exposure.
Aliases (Other Names) - modular homes
- mod homes
- systems built homes
- section homes
- pre-built homes
- pre-engineered homes
- mobile homes
- manufactured homes
- HUD homes
- trailer homes
- traditional homes
- stick built homes
- site built homes

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