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How are modular homes assembled?

Ritz-Craft takes you behind the scenes of a modular home job site

The most common question asked by people who are unfamiliar with modular homes involves how these custom homes are erected on-site and affixed to a permanent foundation. This process of joining each of the modules together and affixing them to a permanent foundation is known as the “set.” The modular home set process will vary in length depending on the complexity of your home. For the sake of this article we will use a Ritz-Craft home that was set last month – a 4 module, 2,600 square foot, two-story home that was set on a full basement foundation.

To begin the setting process, the modules that formed the 2,600 square foot, custom two-story home were transported to the building site where a foundation for the home had already been completed. The completed foundation included a piece of wood (known as a sill plate) that had been bolted to the top of the foundation. A set crew and a crane were ready and waiting for these modules to arrive.

Once the set crew was ready, a 110 ton crane was used to lift each module and set it into place on the sill plate of the foundation. After each module was set and aligned perfectly, it was securely fastened to the foundation and also to the other modules. Strips of aluminum (known as strapping) are used to secure the perimeter band of the bottom modules to the foundation. The type of strapping used will vary from home to home in order to meet any necessary requirements for varying wind zones.

An example of how a crane is used to lift, and then set each module, can be seen in our Vine to the left.

Once all of the modules were set and fasted, the crane was used to raise the roof. As portions of the roof were raised, a knee wall was inserted for support. Panelized sections were then lifted by the crane and inserted to complete the gable end walls of the home and to close off the structure in order to make it weather tight.; Decorative gables were also placed on the front elevation on the home – increasing the overall aesthetics and curb appeal.

The set process for this custom, two-story modular home began at 6:30 in the morning. By 9:30 a.m. each of the four modules was set into place. By 12 noon, the roof was assembled and the crane was off of the job site. At 4 p.m., the home was fully dried in and ready for the on-site completion work to begin.

Now that the home is set and is weather tight, the local home builder will complete the necessary on-site finishing work. All in all, the new home will be ready for occupation in mid-July. That brings the total build time to around three and one half months. We challenge you to find a stick-builder who can accomplish the same amount of work in this short time period.