Thursday, June 13, 2013

Energy Efficiency and Building Codes Hot Topics at Breakfast

One of the biggest advantages modular home builders have over their site built siblings is the factory. For a site builder to try and navigate his way through the myriad of products out there that are being touted as the next best thing in insulation to the ever changing and oppressive building codes, it has to a daunting task to do alone.

But the modular home builder is not alone. He or she knows that a phone call to either their sales rep or the factory will, nine times out of ten, result in an answer. They may not like the answer but at least they will get one.

At my monthly breakfast meeting yesterday that includes modular home builders from VA, PA, WV and MD, the big topics of discussion were insulating exterior walls and fighting code enforcement departments.

Some of the Wednesday breakfast meeting bunch
As I sat and listened to what the builders were discussing, it became abundantly clear that I wasn’t keeping up with all the types of energy conservation methods available to build exterior walls. There are SIPs; SISs; foils; 8 & 12” walls with thermal breaks and insulation ratings of R-18, 21 and all the way up to R35; air infiltration systems; air exchanges; New Energy Star regs; LEED requirements; bandboard insulating methods and other things just too far out there for this guy to understand. Fortunately, these modular builders know their stuff when it comes to all this and most of it comes from working with their modular home factory.

That working relationship is enhanced when it comes to local and national building codes. Factories must know all the codes where they deliver homes and some even have full time people dedicated to following what each state and county require for their homes. I can’t imagine what a site builder today has to go through to build a home without anyone to help them. They have to learn what’s new in the code world by waiting for the code inspector to show up, reject his work and then find out why. What a time consuming problem.

I even learned that some unscrupulous homeowners that want to save money on their remodeling and even new home construction are using state license numbers obtained from builder’s ads, trucks and site signs and using them when they apply for a permit. The builder never knows until a problem arises and the insurance company or a state agency steps in and sues the builder. This practice appears to be spreading, so check every once in awhile and make sure someone isn’t using your license number without your permission.

As I sat there, I marveled at how open and helpful each builder was to the problems they each face. Viva Modular Housing!

I would like to thank Dennis Hoffer, Sales Manager at Sporoco, a supplier of construction materials to the factory housing industry, for attending yesterday’s breakfast. His insight into new insulation methods and products made the builders sit up and notice. Expect to start seeing some of his products soon in a modular home near you.

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