Modular home construction is nothing new and has been around since the early 20th Century. Sears Roebuck Company was the first company to offer modular homes, known as Sears Modern Homes. These modular homes, which were a bit simpler to build in their early days, were sold through their popular catalog. You can read much more about this on their Wikipedia page.
Nationwide Homes joined the modular home construction industry in 1959, making us one of the oldest modular home companies in the U.S. Read about our tradition on our history page.
Below are facts about modular home construction. We will define the modular home process and compare modular home construction to other forms of home-building, primarily homes built 100% onsite and also manufactured homes (also known as HUD-Code Homes).
Let's start by defining a modular home - this is a home constructed in a factory, away from your property, in a controlled environment and then delivered to your job site. "Modular home" is the most common term used, but they are also known as - systems-built homes, factory-built and off-site construction. Modular homes are built to the same local and state codes as 100% site-built homes and are considered "real property." This is important when you apply for a new home loan.
Nationwide's Martinsville, Virginia factories employ over 100 associates that sell, design and only build modular homes to a system of approved, independent builders/contractors. These builders have (some still do) built homes 100% onsite until they learned about the benefits of modular construction. The construction of a modular home is approximately 85% complete at our factory. Once the home is delivered to your property, Nationwide Homes, in cooperation with the independent builder will erect your home on your foundation. The builder will then complete the approximate remaining 15% of the construction onsite. This may also include all site work, including garages, porches, driveways, sidewalks, water & septic, yard, etc.
To see the process in detail, check out our Anatomy of the HiPerformance Modular Home.
Homes that are 100% built onsite - also known as "stick built" or "site built" - is just that, all the materials are delivered to the jobsite and constructed using various subcontractors and 3rd party vendors. You probably have seen bundles of lumber, sheathing and roof trusses on a property. This is the most common building method in America today. However, it typically takes a bit longer to build a home and there are factors that you should consider:
This maybe the most common building method today, but modular construction is rapidly becoming a popular alternative due to all the benefits - see Modular Home Facts below.
Manufactured homes are built to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development codes (HUD) and must be permanently attached to a black steel frame, which acts as a support for the floor system. Once the home arrives to your property, the wheels and axles are removed. Other names for these homes are - mobile homes, singlewides, doublewide, triplewides, trailers and HUD homes. These homes are typically considered "personal property." Manufactured homes are also built in a factory and delivered to your property; however, they often use lower-cost materials than modular homes.
Manufactured homes are very simple to build - they are either built using one unit (singlewide), two units (doublewide) or 3 units (triplewide) and are typically ranch models only. These homes often do not include finished drywall, sometimes using decorative wall panels similar to wallpaper.
Manufactured/Modular Hybrid homes are also known as "on-frame" modular homes. These are typically built by manufactured home companies' when they build to the minimum local and state codes so that they can market their homes as modular. They are not true manufactured homes, nor true modular homes. These homes are typically still built on permanent black steel frames. Hybrids are typically built with lower quality materials and are therefore more affordable, and they can be sold & financed as "real property" such a modular or 100% site-built home. However, this is starting to change in many areas - if a home has a permanently attached steel frame, the building permitting offices are starting to take notice and consider them manufactured homes even though they are code-compliant enough to pass as a modular home.
These Manufactured/Modular Hybrid homes, like manufactured homes, are typically only built as ranch homes and can come in one, two, or three sections. Hybrid homes can also be built as cape cods, but not two stories due their steel frames.
Tour this new model
Nationwide Homes opens a new HiPerformance model in Martinsville, Virginia. The Homestead V is one of 8 models in our popular collection of homes - Homestead Collection. Homestead Collection homes...
"I was a customer for Southeast Homes (Wendell Varnes) in 2010/2011. Mr. Varnes was referred to us through Nationwide Homes. The project was a 3/2 coastal, 2 story-2,100 square foot modular home built on piers.
We were building a part time home in South Carolina but our home state is Georgia. We were nervous about the process since we were out of state and not readily available to be on site. Mr. Varnes made this process very smooth and he was easy to work with. He would always interject his ideas and suggestions throughout the process. We only have to meet a couple of times throughout the entire process. We handled communication via the phone and/or email.
The modular home turned out beautifully and more importantly well built. The home was built to code and all permits and inspections were done with no issues. There were some "punch list" items as you will on any new construction and those items were taken care of timely.
Mr. Varnes has good solid employees/contractors that he uses for various stages such as plumbing, sheetrock, paint, electrical, roofing...etc. I personally met many of the subs at the job site and was very comfortable with them and their work.
Mr. Varnes still has a key to my home, even though it is done for some afterthought items I wanted to get done. I have full trust and confidence in him. Mr. Varnes is a man with integrity, ethics and morals and I highly recommend him for any construction job."
Hilton Head, SC
Nationwide Home must pass 300 quality inspections throughout the modular home building process before it is delivered.