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Factory built housing.
Gary L Holmes Architect, GLH Construction
October 8, 2012 in Design Dilemma
Factory built housing has been an architectural objective since we began building shelters. With the exception of mobile homes, it hasn't become a reality yet, & mobile homes don't try for architecture anyway. This may be changing, CA. has in place Factory Built Housing regulations for CA Building Code approved and factory inspected custom designs. Irontown Homes in Utah is shipping custom designs to CA. BluHomes in Vallejo has built and installed the Sunset Idea Home of 2012 in Healdsburg. There's light looking through the tunnel.
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Jessica Young
Modular homes are factory built homes for the most part and can have plenty of architectural interest.
October 8, 2012 at 10:24am   
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Gary L Holmes Architect, GLH Construction
Hi Jessica; you'll note that I said "mobile homes" are not trying for architecture, "modular homes" I agree are a step in the right direction, thanks for the comment.
October 8, 2012 at 10:33am     
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Paradise Restored Landscaping & Exterior Design
Okay you two - you've got me interested - headed to the net to check it out -
October 8, 2012 at 10:43am   
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Custom Home Planning Center
I did my first Structural insulate panel house in 1982 and it took 22 years for it to gain as a significant consideration. I don't expect the record for modulars or architectural mobile homes to make much of an inroad for at least another 10 years. Housing and builders and to a degree the buyers do not like change, even if it improves the home.
November 10, 2012 at 4:33pm   
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Gary L Holmes Architect, GLH Construction
I agree, the hurdles for Factory Built Housing to break into the conventional housing marketplace are formidable. But BluHomes (bluhomes.com) and Irontown Homes (irontownhomes.com) are doing it now, not 10 years from now. Their architectural design and green material flow gets them into any neighborhood and the current California Factory Built Housing ordinance formalizes the approval process for modulars. Personally I don't think they are currently providing cost savings and construction time savings commensurate with a factory produced product, but their customers are fanatical about the benefits they feel they're receiving over conventional construction. We'll see if factory built benefits start to deliver before customer buzz runs out of steam. In the meantime, housing designers should be informed about this approach for when the right client and the right site comes along.
November 12, 2012 at 2:48pm   
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Custom Home Planning Center
I tried to work out a house design with a few of the local modular building companies here in Va. two said our designs we build not yours. The other was willing, but hadn't gotten the green aspect into production. I do like the Wisconsin company that is doing modular concrete for coastal applications. It is still an industry that is dependent on the buyers perception of value not its' true value. I'd like to see a modular association develop a distress response team to boldly go in to areas like Katrina or Sandy or tornado destroyed or wild fire areas supported by Federal grants, rather than mold infested over priced trailers.
November 12, 2012 at 7:04pm   
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Gary L Holmes Architect, GLH Construction
Getting a housing factory to build a custom design is sometimes like fitting a square peg in a round hole. My earlier mention of bluhomes and irontown homes is an example; bluhomes does their designs, irontown homes will do your design with their factory procedures. If you can find modules that work for your design that can be arranged the way you want them not the way the manufacturer laid them out that might be easiest. Here's a link that looks pretty comprehensive covering factory builders across the country:
http://modularhomechoice.com/Modular%20Home%20Builders.htm

Hope that may help you find a willing custom factory builder.

I like your idea about getting FEMA to use modulars for disaster relief. I worked in Operation Breakthrough by HUD in the 70's, "bureaucracy city" but they finally got some units built. They eventually found out the factories have to be reasonably local because delivery has to be affordable.
November 14, 2012 at 9:29am   
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Elise
Don't forget the original Sear Kit Homes, ordered by catalog and shipped via rail from 1908 - 1940. http://www.searsarchives.com/homes/
November 14, 2012 at 9:37am   
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Gary L Holmes Architect, GLH Construction
Thanks Elise, that's a fascinating site about Sears Modern Homes, I'll take some time and enjoy it. I did take a second and Google about what stopped the Sears program. This site, http://itotd.com/articles/610/sears-modern-homes/ says it was the Depression, so maybe when we get out of this current recession there will be another chance for Sears Modern Homes.
November 14, 2012 at 1:34pm     
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olldcan
Karoleena has wonderful modern prefabs and ships/installs anywhere, customization is not a problem but there pretty chic I must say. So even there standard finishes are nothing to scrunch your nose up about. Worth a look, now I have to check out the sears archives link :)
http://karoleena.com/
November 14, 2012 at 1:41pm   
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Elise
Gary, You're right the Depression ended it. Also FDR started ramping up WWII preparations in 1939, and by 1940 most factories were converting to war manufacturing efforts. So that fits the timeline of the Sears Modern Homes decline also as profits were able to be made elsewhere.
November 14, 2012 at 2:49pm   
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Custom Home Planning Center
I'm getting ready to try again with the apartment portion of my 2013 "parade of homes" house. It meets the transportation and construction size that was defined by my last go round and it will sit on a cast in place foundation behind the garage as a 1 bedroom 850 sq. foot unit. I'm bridging 32' with the master bedroom to the front of the where the remainder of the house is on slab. I'm using the under apartment
basement as a safe room with only a couple of high windows and an egress from under the bridge portion of the house. I'll take a look at your list for any manufactures I might have missed last time.
November 14, 2012 at 3:20pm   
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