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Behind-the-scenes look on what it takes to prepare, receive and connect a prefab accessory dwelling unit.

What to expect when buying a modular home

Sales people make buying a modular home sound easy. However, even though you might think that your ADU is just a small home, it is still a home – with all the details that go into a regular house: utilities, foundation, coordination of subs, waste management etc.

There is a number of things you need to be ready for.

First, construction is messy. It will be a hard hat zone for a while, even though this period is typically not longer than a month.

Second, site work is done by humans. Often coming from different background than yours. If there is something that causes you concern, please speak to their supervisor. More often than not, it is a matter of simple misunderstanding or cultural differences.

Considering current labor shortage in construction, we value each and every sub or crew member that comes to work on your property. Stay assured, we are all here to make you happy with your new home.

What is needed to make sure you could actually live in your modular home?

What your contractor is planning to do

Trenching for utilities. ADUs are built in backyards where people have done work previously. We often deal with existing drainage or irrigation lines. If it were a new development, we would use equipment. With limited backyard access or lots of pipes underground, we often have to dig manually.

Work on foundation starts with rebars. It does not look pretty, but this is what causes the first inspection. The city is checking if we are sticking to the plans and if we are where we should be – with correct setbacks and distance from the main house. 

Forms are ready, let us pour. Probably, the loudest part of this type of construction. It takes half a day, but leaves your home grounded for years to come. The forms will come off in the next couple of days, and we are ready for the unit. This is most often also the time for site clean up and any extra soil haul off.

Ready for the unit? We need one more permit!

Next phase is more exciting.

Now that the foundation is ready, we have to wait for one more permit. Traffic control. Remember, your unit arrives on a vehicle. Then gets “craned in”. This typically means we need to stop the traffic on your street. So we apply to the city for the permit, and only when we get the green light – bring the unit in.

This is the part that regularly gets featured in social media, and seems the most exciting not only for you, but for your neighbors too. The crane is hard to miss, and “landing” a whole house is a sight to behold. Feels like magic every time, but for your construction team just one day in many.

For the construction crew, work is not complete yet. They need to build you the deck so that your could safely step in and out of the new house. All utilities need to be connected. Everything inside the unit needs to be checked for any transportation damages. 

Backyard home

Once the utilities are connected and the deck completed, then your contractor will call for the inspection. At this point the unit is completely functional. Washer and dryer, dishwasher and water heater, air conditioning unit – are all in working order. Time for the occupancy permit. And for some celebration. 

Our feasibility reports are trusted by many modular builders.

Not sure if a modular home is for you?

We have more ways to build in our portfolio. Look at the image below – can you tell, if it is a custom built home, a modular one or built out of a home kit of prefabricated elements?

NB: warranty

A modular home has been manufactured off site, this means the factory has issued the warranty. Make sure you know who to call in case of any questions.

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