How Modular Homes Promote Planning Discipline

Over the years we’ve built modular homes for several customers who had stick built their previous home. Since most of them were happy with their home, it’s interesting to consider why they decided to build a modular home next. Invariably, it was because their stick building experience was marred by substantial cost overruns or considerable time delays – usually both. It doesn’t take much to convince these customers that modular homes promote planning discipline in a way that makes them less likely to suffer from sizeable cost overruns and missed deadlines. In fact, they often start the conversation by telling us why modular homes offer better protection against these costly extremes.

One Customer’s View on Why Modular Homes Promote Planning Discipline

“Building a modular is going to force me and my wife to make good decisions up front. Although we’ll lose the opportunity to make changes as our home is built, this will protect us against ourselves. We were our own worst enemies the last time. We signed a contract without knowing all the details. The builder gave us allowances for many of the important materials, such as cabinets and floors. Until we started making decisions, we had no idea that what we wanted cost thousands of dollars more. Not only did the costs go higher and higher, construction took longer and longer. We even got killed with several additional months of interest payments to the bank. I will gladly give up the opportunity to make changes on the fly to ensure greater control of my budget and schedule.”

Another Customer’s View on Why Modular Homes Promote Planning Discipline

“I admit I didn’t spend enough time thinking through the design of my home. Almost immediately after my builder started framing the interior walls, I noticed some design flaws. First, I discovered the foyer closet was too small. Then I decided it was better to make the dining room smaller so the kitchen could be bigger. Next I realized the door to my study was swinging into a bookcase. And it didn’t stop there. Since I couldn’t live with my mistakes, I asked the builder to make the necessary changes, which included tearing down the walls he had already built. Needless to say, he passed all of the additional costs on to me with some very pricey change orders. And by the time these and several other changes were completed, we were several months behind schedule.”

The factory assembly line requires all of the materials to have been selected, which is why modular homes promote planning discipline
The factory assembly line requires the preselection of all materials, which is why modular homes promote planning discipline

Why Modular Homes Promote Planning Discipline

Compare these experiences with what you will have to do if you build a modular home. You and your dealer must complete almost all of the planning steps before beginning any construction. That’s because your manufacturer can’t begin construction without knowing what it’s going to build and how much it’s going to charge. This forces you and your dealer to make final decisions about your home’s design and its building specifications. If you’re pressed for time when stick building, it’s very easy to start construction and postpone the meetings and decisions to a later date. The temptation is to think you and your builder can make things up as you go along. Modular dealers would be just as prone to do this if they could get away with it. The fact that modular homes promote planning discipline is a major advantage to you. As most banks will tell you, poor planning almost always leads to cost overruns and construction delays.

For more information about why modular homes promote planning discipline, see Why Build Modular in my book The Modular Home.

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