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There are many factors that must be considered when building a home, and a modular home is no exception. No modular home is 100% modular, and as a result, pricing estimates can vary from builder to builder. Below however, is a list of factors that will likely remain unchanged whether you build a modular home or a traditional stick-built home. Site preparation will typically be priced similarly for each type of construction. Once the site work and foundation are completed, the remaining work (i.e. the house itself) is referred to as the sill-plate up.

Site Clearing

Clearing your lot of trees is one of the very first steps that needs to be taken when building a new home. Depending on what kind of trees you have and how many there are, these costs can add up. However, there will rarely be a difference between the site clearing necessary done for a modular home as opposed to s stick-built home. They both will take up the same amount of space. For example a 4,000 sq ft home will require the same amount of clearing for both types of construction.

Minimal Difference Between Modular and Traditional Construction for Site Clearing


Excavation and site grading is one of the most variable pricing aspects to consider when building a home. This is because there are many factors that go into preparing a lot for a foundation. and therefore the cost can difference can be dramatic. The main factor is always the type of land you are building on. A flat lot without boulders underground or above ground will always be less expensive to excavate. If the property is comprised of ledge, rock, clay or hardpan; costs can increase dramatically.

No Difference Between Modular and Traditional Construction for Excavation


Site grading is much more than just getting a lot to look the way you want. Properly graded land will minimize water problems in your own house, as well as your neighbors’ houses. On occasion, there will be the case when extra grading is needed to accommodate the delivery and transport of modular parcels, but this cost is usually minimal when compared to drainage concerns.

Minimal Differences Between Modular and Traditional Construction for Site Grading


Usually, the basic cost of a foundation is based on the size of the home. There are other conditions to need to be accounted for when pricing. If the house is to be located on a slope, additional excavation will be necessary in order to completely level off the foundation footing. In cold weather areas, frost walls may be necessary in order to protect the foundation from cracking. Active earthquake areas will require extra support in the foundation, whether it be through extra re-bar or extra-thick concrete. Other personal decisions about the basement itself, such as complete waterproofing, or adding a walk-out will also add considerably to the cost.

No Difference Between Modular and Traditional Construction for Foundation Pouring

Foundation Considerations for a Modular Home
Source: ModularHomeBook.com

Municipal Water or Well Drilling

If water is readily available for hookup in your neighborhood, it can have significant initial savings over drilling a private well. If you are able to access a public water supply, the main costs will be determined by how far your home is from the main water line. The cost of a well can vary widely, depending on the layout of the land, the type of land that needs to be drilled, and the depth of the water table.

No Difference Between Modular and Traditional Construction for Water Lines or Well Drilling

Sewer or Septic

Sewer drainage systems are similar to a water supply in that cost depend on how much distance the sewage needs to travel to reach the main sewer line. The costs associated with building a private septic system can range greatly due to local regulations, the type of ground that needs to be excavated and whether a septic field is necessary. Many areas do not have public sewer, especially rural or suburban areas. Ask your local city officials about these factors before making a decision.

No Difference Between Modular and Traditional Construction for Septic or Sewer Installation

Utility Hookups

Gas and electric hookups can be deceptive in the amount of work they require. You may not need or want gas at all, but a built-in gas line can increase the value of a home even when it’s dormant. Today, electricity lines are typically installed underground, which can have a multitude of benefits down the road but can also have serious costs associated with it when planning a home.

No Difference Between Modular and Traditional Construction for Utility Hookups


A driveway is a widely variable cost based on both necessity and personal preference. The length and width of a driveway, as well as the material its paved with, are the most weighty factors. However, options like heating coils and additional aesthetic curves can add up in a hurry.

No Difference Between Modular and Traditional Construction for Driveway Paving

Walkways & Masonry

A walkway from the driveway to the front door is necessary, but the amount it will cost also depend entirely on your tastes and budget as well as the are to be covered. Masonry such as walls and chimneys also depends on tastes. If your plan does include a fireplace and a chimney, it will cost the same to build it against a modular home or a traditional home.

No Difference Between Modular and Traditional Construction for Walkways or Masonry


As is often overlooked factor when building a home, surrounding the house with a beautiful yard is very important to pricing. Landscaping includes planting and nurturing new grass, buying and installing bushes, shrubs and trees, as well as any gardens you may want. Again, this is almost entirely based on personal preferences. Many families choose to keep it simple to keep costs down at first. Later, the landscaping projects mature.

No Difference Between Modular and Traditional Construction for Landscaping

Decks & Porches

Typically, porches and decks are not included in the design of a home because costs rely completely on the land the home was built. These are usually completely optional, but can add a great deal of personality to a home. Not to mention a great deal of value. (Some Porches can be built in the factory as part of the home design.)

No Difference Between Modular and Traditional Construction for Decks or Porches

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