Over the past year I have been critical of what the media, especially the west coast media, has been saying about the future of modular housing. I have pointed out that just about everything they have written would lead one to believe that the future of modular housing rests with the new wave of “green” builders and designers that produce “Lego” style homes.
These new “Johnny come lately” manufacturers have put their products and ideas on every website, press release and blog they can find and some people are actually buying into the idea that $200-300 a sq ft is what is required to get a green and energy efficient modular home.
Well let me tell you the truth! And it will set you free.
One of the oldest and biggest modular home companies in the United States has been quietly changing the way their modular homes are being built and if they can do it and still keep their homes affordable, then that’s something to shout about.
Excel Homes, based in Camp Hill, PA has recently announced 3 new programs that will present their company in a new light and guide the company into the post recession home market.
Earlier last year, Excel told all their builders that the factory can provide “complete” Energy Star approved housing in one package. They are going beyond the normal “grey labeling” that most factories use and provide everything from Energy Star design services to final “at the site” testing for total Energy Star compliance labeling.
In December Excel released news that every home they build will be “fire sprinkler” ready. This will cut design time for any builder that has to build where this is required by code. Since every house they build will be ready for sprinkling in the factory, the workers on the line are trained to install them to code. No learning curve.
This month they announced the last part of the three point initiative. Factory prepared Affordable Housing. Every builder I visit has asked me where they can find a company with the best affordable housing and I tell them not to equate affordable with cheap. Now Excel has taken the challenge of affordable housing and introduced a line of homes to meet the needs of the new home buyer. Today’s builders need this type of home and Excel has jumped into the fray with one of the best on the market.
In addition to lower cost with all of the style of other homes, the Starting Line Up offers these benefits:
- VERSATILITY – Some designs, like our 556 square foot “Trailblazer,” can be used as guest houses, pool houses or a backyard office.
- EASE OF COMPLETION – Starting Line Up homes require less work by the builder and finishing team, with some homes shipping 95 percent complete from an Excel Homes manufacturing facility, with only minimal work required to finish the unit on-site.
- SPEED – The smaller size of the Starting Line Up options also means a quicker turnaround for builders and anxious homeowners. With the modular construction process, homes can be built, delivered and set in under six weeks.
- ONE TRUCK – The Starting Line Up homes can be shipped on a single carrier and, in most cases, can be finished by the set crew.
- NO CRANE – Some designs, like the smaller Trailblazer, can be roll set on a foundation, eliminating the need for a crane, and come complete with the exception of a small portion of the roof and the final utility connections.
Here are renderings of the first of five homes in the new series. It’s called the Craftsman Cottage and is only 945 sq ft!
What does the future bring for Excel? I recently learned that this old line company is moving ahead with what will be one of the best, if not the best, Green home options in the industry. They already provide a lot of green materials and systems for their builders but with this move I understand they will become as involved in “Green” with their builders as they are with Energy Star.
So move over Michelle Kauffman, there’s a new sheriff in town with all guns blazing with Energy Star, Green Building, Affordable Homes along with staying ahead of the industry with things like Fire suppression systems.