St Louis Custom Home Builders Buzz: Custom, Green, and Modular

Modular Home Construction
Here is a shot of a home being built in the Contempri Homes factory in Pickneyville, IL.

I’ve written before about modular home construction, and how more and more of our clients are asking about the process. To help them learn more about it, I had to do my homework. And the more I’ve learned, the more I realize it’s a legitimate way to build a new home.

Part of my homework included a trip to Contempri Homes in Pinkneyville, Illinois. There I was able to see the construction process in person. What impressed me the most was the concept of building a custom home backwards. That may sound funny, so please let me explain.

When homes are built in a factory, manufacturers install the drywall first, then work backwards installing exterior sheathing and siding last. This allows the crews to work from the back side, paying close attention to properly caulking and insulating the structure for an air-tight envelope. This is critical when building high performance homes. In addition, using full lengths of unbroken drywall at all wall intersections and corners helps improve the thermal envelope. Drywall also comes first when building the roof and it runs to the exterior edge of the walls so there are no air gaps at the ceiling perimeters which can be very difficult to seal.

Modular Home Construction
Here you can see studs in to the drywall from the exterior of the modular home.

I already knew of the other benefits to modular construction – working in a controlled environment which is not susceptible to the weather, being able to control and reuse waste, new homes being built in a matter of weeks instead of months, and that a modular home undergoes more inspections than a site built home. But what excites me the most is that modular homes are also being verified green through programs such as the National Green Building Standards, Energy Star, and USGBC’s LEED.

I’m sold and ready to build our first modular home, and fortunately we have a client interested as well. They are a wonderful young couple from South St. Louis County who already have a lot. They’ve taken a very active role in learning about modular construction as well, having already visited two modular factories.

Contempri Homes Factory
The Hibbs Homes crew stops for a photo opp with the Contempri Homes crew.

They’re interested in building modular for several reasons – a better built home, environmentally friendly construction, and saving money. The modular industry says you can save up to 15% building a modular home and we’re going to put that claim to the test.

We’re going to share information about the project from start to finish, writing about all phases of the construction process here on the blog. You can follow our journey by subscribing to the blog via our RSS feed using your favorite reader, or you can have it delivered right to you by subscribing via email. It should be an interesting one, and hopefully you’ll come along for the ride!