As modular home builders wrap up a successful 2015 building season, there is a big gorilla looming for 2016 in the form of more and tougher building codes at state and national levels.
Expect the most significant changes to occur in insulation and energy efficiency.
In Connecticut for example, the building code amendment committee has already met 15 times this year and 2 more meetings are scheduled before the end of the year in preparation for adoption of a fully revised building which they are targeting the Spring of 2016 for implementation. One builder that has been working with the committee says that it is no easy task keeping up with all the new codes being imposed.
We all know that every business and profession needs rules but the new home building industry gets an almost completely new set every 3 to 6 years.
Many states reject some measures for the sheer cost of implementation, for instance, NFPA recommendations that sprinklers be mandated in new homes, with California, Maryland and Washington, D.C., having adopted the requirement for newly built homes, adding tens of thousands of dollars to the cost of construction.
But many code addenda are motivated by the goal of saving money over the life of the structure, whether by limiting wasted energy or by limiting accidents or damage from extreme events like hurricanes.
In the wake of Superstorm Sandy in 2012, builders should expect coastal states to increase the ability of coastal homes to withstand high winds and water through tougher reinforced walls and elevated foundations.
In a study published in October by the Florida Solar Energy Center examining the financial impact of a quarter-century’s revisions to Florida’s building code, researchers estimated at 13 percent the overall savings the newer building code produced instead of the 50% savings they had predicted in 1985 when all the new energy codes and regulations began being imposed on builders and consumers.
If it is a lot to assimilate for the average homeowner, all the more so for the local modular home builder. It’s hugely sophisticated and all the more so because now you have to be the subject-matter experts.
As long as we live under caveat emptor, it’s really the responsibility of the individual builder to know. You have to do your due diligence and make sure you hire the right expert.
This could be one of the best reason ever for site builders to go modular as our factories have always been on the forefront of these changes making every home built to the latest codes.