What are the Differences between Modular and Manufactured Homes?

When talking about different kinds of homes, there may be some confusion in regards to the terms used to discuss what kind of house is being built. Prefab, Modular, Panel Built, and Manufactured are sometimes mistakenly used interchangeably, but they all mean different things.


Short for Prefabricated housing, “Prefab” or “Modular” is a broad term that encompasses several different types of building. Technically, any home that has sections of the structure built in a factory and then assembled on site can fall under the “prefab” designation. Both Modular and Panel Built fall under the umbrella term of prefab, but just as different types of dogs are all canines but differ from each other, Modular and Panel Built both qualify as prefab, but are still different.

Panel Building

This type of construction can be useful in building houses that don’t work neatly as modules and it can be just as structurally sound as other types of prefabricated building. Commercial prefabricated building is often done this way as it allows for wide open spaces and high ceilings. It is also much less expensive to transport a building in panels than in modules if it is large enough.

In the video you will notice that both the first and second story floors are bare when they are lifted in. This is not always the case. Sometimes manufacturers will already have placed anything that can be bolted down. Toilets, sinks, dishwashers, and anything else that can be properly secured during travel can be pre-attached to the floor and cabinets and light fixtures can be pre-attached to walls. This means less work for the builder and saved time and money for you.

Modular Building

This picture shows a module being lowered in place by a crane. With modular building, the house is constructed in separate box-like modules which are then secured together to form a whole. Since the modules have to be transported on the backs of flat-bed trucks over highways, they generally have to be no longer than the truck and no wider than 16’. This traditionally meant that every room in the house had to be less than 16’ wide, but with new technology, old barriers in modular building are breaking down and houses are becoming infinitely customizable.

Modular building usually doesn’t allow for additional structures like garages or porches to be built in the factory, but by combining panel building and modern modular building techniques, modular home factories are able deliver your home up to 90% complete.

While built in a factory like prefabs, there is no construction that happens on site. Manufactured homes are constructed on a steel frame, shipped on its own wheels, and then laid on a crawl space, or a slab of concrete. In some cases, the wheels that got the house to the build site aren’t even removed, just covered up with side skirting. The picture on the right has had skirting added to try to conceal that it is a manufactured home.

The Difference Between The Two

Building Codes

Prefabricated houses of all kinds must adhere to state and federal building codes and undergo regular inspections, just like any site-built home. This ensures that prefab homes are at least as safe as their site-built counterparts, though there is evidence that a well-built modular home is even more sturdy than a similar site-built home. Manufactured homes on the other hand only have to adhere to HUD standards (Department of Housing and Urban Development) which has much more lenient rules and regulations.

Resale Value

Unlike prefabricated homes which are considered real estate and so maintain or increase in value over time like a site-built home, manufactured homes are considered personal property.

Building Limitations

While prefabricated housing used to be limited to very basic designs, modern building techniques have allowed prefabs to become just easily customizable as site-built homes. Unfortunately, manufactured homes are still very much constrained, and have extremely limited options. Most manufactured homes dealers will have the home pre-built and then just sell from their available stock. This means that any customizations made would be done by the owner.


Prefab homes are traditionally wood framed, but the push toward modern styles and sustainable living has forced the industry to adopt steel-frame construction for some projects. This allows modular and panel built homes a flexibility in design that allows for custom architecture. Some manufactured homes still have the tin-can look of years gone by and some have been modernized to look almost like a standard home, but there is little to no room for exterior alterations or creativity.


Perhaps the largest difference between prefab homes and manufactured homes is the quality of the final product. Modular homes are built with factory precision using 25% more material on average than either site-built or manufactured homes. According to FEMA, they stand up better in extreme weather, and they require comparatively little maintenance.

Contact the experts in Prefab and Modular Construction:  USModular Home Builders



Modular Build-Not Your Grandparent’s Mobile Home

Modular Building Systems is a method of construction, not a building type. It greatly differs from temporary buildings, such as construction trailers or mobile homes. These are custom-designed commercial buildings just like their site-built counterparts. Using modular does not change the design, structural system, or finish materials options available to the owner and architect. The only difference is in the method of construction.

After the design is finalized with an architect, construction plans are sent to a factory where the majority of the building is erected. Development team then uses prefabricated elements for as many building components as possible. Everything from walls and mechanical systems to painting and carpet can be completed on the assembly line. The difference is that 60% to 90% of modular buildings are completed offsite in a controlled production environment, including all MEP, fixtures, and interior finishes

While modules are assembled at the factory, site work can begin at the same time, such as laying the foundation or prepping utility connections. This greatly decreases the time needed for total construction. A modular build is often completed 30-50% faster than conventional structures.

Once the modules are ready, they are shipped to the site and fastened together. The final construction stage includes completing exterior systems such as cladding and roofing components and internal spaces like lobbies, stairwells, and elevator shafts.The beauty of the finished building is that occupants will not be able to tell how the structure was built.

60% reduction in build time

Exceeds Energy Code by 33% on average

Scalable design to meet future enrollment growth

Superior acoustic environment

Able to develop in Multiple Markets

This technique can produce a single building, an addition, or a campus setting, but it is most beneficial for projects with highly repetitive spaces. Think of duplicate rooms common to schools, dorms, offices, apartment housing, senior living, and hotels.

Modular construction has also been used for standalone buildings, such as banks, chain restaurants, satellite bureaus, and retail. Any building without irregular layouts or large expanses will benefit.

The only limitations to size are those dictated by material use and code. For example, the world’s tallest modular building in NYC is over 33 stories and under construction. Buildings can occupy any square footage specified and are easy to expand. Modular construction is also a great way to add an addition onto a traditional building.
The Core Benefits From factory precision to faster installation, modular construction offers an attractive range of advantages:

1) MORE Efficient Scheduling: One of the greatest benefits is the ability to dramatically reduce the time needed for construction. Factory efficiencies allow building components to be completed quickly and without weather delays. No more contracting with multiple crews – the factory has all of the key player’s onsite to handle multiple building requirements.This makes modular construction suitable for owners who need buildings quickly, properties with hard dates for occupancy, and areas where seasonal weather restricts or even halts construction.
2) IMPROVEMENT on jobsite Nearly completed modules ease the need for site equipment and staging areas, making them ideal for complicated sites. Perhaps your property is in a remote location or has accessibility difficulties. You may be in an urban or campus setting and have a narrow building site. Modular construction is likewise a great alternative for areas where an experienced or affordable labor force is difficult to come by.PMC affords a cleaner worksite with fewer disruptions. With the majority of work completed offsite, issues such as noise, dust, debris, and weather complications are greatly reduced.The lower numbers of people, equipment, and traffic at the worksite also decreases the number of construction hazards. The chance for accidents and related liabilities caused by such a volume of people.

3) JOBSITE Waste Reduction: Because the factory process decreases the potential for errors, material use is more carefully monitored. By controlling inventory, resources and building materials are better protected. An assembly line also offers more opportunities for recycling throughout the process.Modular really works well with lean construction – it’s engineered to cut out any construction waste. For example, steel studs are usually cut to a standard length and shipped to a jobsite where they’re cut to the needed size. Instead of wasting 2 feet of metal, the studs are created on the factory line to the exact length required.”

4) DEVELOPER Quality Control: Just like a car assembly line, a prefabricated building module has built-in quality checks. Modular building factories are dedicated to crafting highly effective buildings with inspections at each station, eliminating on-the-fly decisions or unexpected complications that can occur in the field.The construction process is carefully engineered to create a sequence of steps that is repeated precisely on every module. After installation, capital improvements to extend the building’s life, such as HVAC or roof replacements can be made on the same schedule as a conventional building. The same maintenance and inspection requirements common to traditional facilities will also apply to modular buildings.
WHAT are modular buildings ? are comparable to buildings strictly built onsite in terms of quality, life span, and materials used for construction. They are not intended to be relocated, though individual modules can be replaced.
5) LONG term sustainability As with traditional buildings, modular construction easily incorporates sustainability. Specify the use of recycled materials, LED lighting, high-efficiency mechanical systems, and sustainably harvested wood and low-flow fixtures just as you normally would.While the process itself affords more opportunities for sustainability, other green benefits include:

Improved IAQ – Moisture reduction, use of dry materials, and time for off-gassing result in fewer VOCs.

Compatible with LEED – Modular buildings can compete in the same categories as traditionally built ones. They can even yield an advantage in credits for Sustainable Sites, Materials and Resources, and Energy and Atmosphere.

Reusable – Whether you need a new layout or your building has been damaged, modular buildings can be disassembled so individual modules can be replaced or refurbished.

Tighter Envelope – PMC typically results in a tighter envelope, which improves energy efficiency. This is due to the durability required for transportation and the lack of weather complications such as moisture and water intrusion.

Renewable Energy – Modular construction can accommodate alternative energy sources, from solar panels to a geoexchange system. Buildings can also be designed so renewable energy can be added down the road.

“Greater use of prefabrication, preassembly,modularization, and off-site fabrication techniques and processes. It has created the implementing of greener processes using these materials to build and deliver more a sophisticated and complex building type.

More and more customers are turning to modular for multi-story, steel framed structures, health care facilities, educational structures, and large scale military projects.Always known for its time saving advantages, modular is now being recognized for being a more resource efficient and greener process to build with.

Turn to USModular, Inc. for more information on the modular build process.



Questions Answered About Hemet Manufactured Homes

Manufactured homes, formerly called mobile homes, are built in a factory.

Each home built in Hemet conforms to the US government’s Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards (HUD code), rather than to building codes enforced at the home’s destination. Each home or segment of a home is labeled with a red tag that is the manufacturer’s guarantee the home was built to conform to the HUD code.

Manufactured homes in Hemet are built on a non-removable steel chassis and transported to the building site on their own wheels.

May I put my manufactured home in Hemet on any lot or tract of land?

No, not on any lot or tract of land. Some communities and developments do not allow manufactured housing. Research local zoning ordinances, deed restrictions, restrictive covenants, and other similar documents before purchasing land for a manufactured home.

May I move my manufactured home to another location?

Yes, but make sure you use a transport company that is familiar with the laws for moving such structures. You should also consider the zone for which the manufactured home was originally constructed. Never move a manufactured home to a zone with more restrictive wind, thermal, or roof load requirements than the zone for which it was built. Check the data plate for zoning information.

Climate differences and the cost of moving your manufactured home might make it more practical to sell it and purchase another at your new location.

Who will finance my manufactured home?

Great news! Many manufactured homes are financed with a retail installment contract, available through the retailer that sells you the home. Many lenders will grant a conventional mortgage for manufactured homes, but will likely require that the home is placed on a permanent foundation. Manufactured homes are eligible for FHA and VA home loans.

Is my new manufactured home covered by warranty?

Most manufacturers offer a warranty that covers the home and its systems during a stated warranty period. Some appliances may be covered by their own warranties. Before you purchase a manufactured home, find out which items are covered by warranty, who offers the warranty, and how warranty repairs are performed.

Were your questions answered? If you need more information contact USModular, Inc., experts in manufactured housing!



Manufactured Home Buying Tips

Manufactured home designs range from the bare basics to top-of-the-line luxury so you can easily find a home that meets your needs and price range. With the right research and knowledge, you can find the best home at the best price, and walk away from the experience with a smile.

The United States Census Bureau calculated the average price per square foot for a manufactured home in to be $41.97.

Compare that to the $86.30 per square foot for a traditional site-built home and you’ll see why the homes are such a great choice.

Buying a manufactured home is  fairly simple, and somewhat similar, to buying a stick-built home. One major difference is the fact that you will be going to a dealer instead of a real estate agent.


While looking at homes you will find many options and styles available, know the features you consider most important. Do you need three bedrooms or can you go with two? Will you need the gourmet kitchen upgrade?

The home you ultimately choose should meet most of the features you listed before you visited the first home.


Researching manufactured home floor plans and features online can help you narrow down the homes to a manageable list. Certain features and upgrades can increase the life span of the home and help with resale value such as:

Shingled roofing


Pitched roof

2×6 Framing on 16″ centers

Exterior sheathing

Vinyl siding

Shutoff valves at all water sources

Real wood flooring, as opposed to particle board

Once you have chosen the home, you will need to decide on the transporters, installers, and finishing carpenters. Dealerships will often have one company they use but you should research those companies just as you would any contractor.

Buying a manufactured home is an exciting time for anyone and there are a lot of things you will have to consider. Knowing how the process works and what to expect during the sale can help you make the best buying decision.

Contact the experts at USModular, Inc.  We will guide you in selecting the manufactured home you have been dreaming about!



Modern Manufactured Homes in Hemet, CA

Formerly referred to as mobile homes, modern manufactured homes have many more options than in past years when the original mobile homes which were constructed in a factory and brought to locations for the GIs returning home from World War II. Modern Manufactured homes of today are still built in a factory, but these are now high tech completely climate controlled environments, and today’s Modern Manufactured Homes are built as well as conventional stick-built homes. They can range in size from as little as 640 to 2640 square feet and more. They are available in non, partial, or full finished drywall with a full range of exterior, interior, window flooring and appliance options. Even Cathedral ceilings, gourmet kitchens and elegant baths can be built. Two stories are available for those long, skinny lots by the beach or tree filled lots in the mountains.

Manufactured homes conform to the U.S. government’s Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards, otherwise known as HUD code. The HUD code requires manufactured homes to be built on a steel chassis, which is non-removable. They are transported to the building site on their own wheels, in one or two sections depending on the width of the home, and joined by construction professionals. They can be placed on a permanent foundation if desired. Manufactured homes are typically built for Mobile Home Parks – but can be also placed on private property in Hemet, CA

Contact USModular Home Builders to build a modern manufactured home in Hemet, CA