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Samantha Taylor, Modular and Design Manager at SBSG, provided insight into the origins of stigmas around modular construction in the excerpt below from an article published by Pacific Mobile Structures.

Origins of Stigmas Around Modular Construction

“The perception of modular construction is dependent on its application,” says Samantha Taylor,Modular Manager at Steenhof Building Services Group. The general public drives prevailing opinions and stigmas when it comes to anything, including modular construction. The general public is most familiar with modular construction through modular homes. 

Manufactured homes are low-cost housing built in sections and can be single or multi-width. They can be transferred to a property and permanently affixed. If they are not permanently affixed, financing options are limited. Manufactured homes follow the Federal HUD Code. 

On the other hand, modular homes are higher-cost homes consisting of multiple factory-made pieces, or “modules,” that are assembled and permanently placed on site. They are eligible for standard financing options and follow local, state, and regional codes just like traditional stick-built homes. 

Because modular homes were popular amongst the middle class and those who might find it more challenging to pursue homeownership otherwise, modular homes became known for their low costs and eventually were viewed as low-income housing even though that was not the case. 

With the perception of low-income housing, the quality of manufactured homes was called into question. There were some shortcomings that modular homeowners faced such as leaking exteriors and poor heating systems. Many point to 1976 as the year the stigmas around modular construction really took hold. 

In 1976, Congress set out to address the issues manufactured homeowners were experiencing and authorized an HUD Code to mainstream the homes by improving and standardizing them. But the problems didn’t go away. Then, in 1994, the HUD Code was updated to further address these challenges. Today, modular homes and buildings are constructed to meet and follow all the same codes and building criteria as stick-built construction, but the stigmas remain. 

To read the full article, click here.

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