Factory Home Building Wins Converts in South Carolina

modular_placement_SC_credit_PostCourierPostandCourier reports that in South Carolina, the perceptions of factory built homes are mixed. Lee Cave, Mount Pleasant’s top building official said, “People see the pieces (of a home) come in on a truck and my phone starts ringing,” he said. “I think there’s kind of a stigma to them. People associate them with mobile homes.” South Carolina (SC) housing stock is 18 percent ‘mobile homes’ (meaning, HUD Code and pre-HUD Code factory built homes). SC residents tend to associate homes being moved on a truck with ‘mobile homes’ as a result.  Efforts by builders, retailers and the non-profit Columbia-based Manufactured Housing Institute of South Carolina are helping to change perceptions.  The MHISC represents more than 1,000 member companies involved in the manufactured and modular housing industries in the state. Factory-built homes are popping up in high-end subdivisions and neighborhoods in the greater Charleston area, some priced over $300,000.   This helps factory building gain acceptance.  Terminology still confuses residents.  What should they call them?  Manufactured? Modular? Prefabricated? “It wouldn’t have been on the top of my list to look at one, but I don’t think I’d look at anything else, now,” said Boeing employee Joe McKillip.  McKillip moved from Indianapolis in June. McKillip said he was impressed by the thoughtful use of space in the two-story home. He did not realize it was modular construction at first. “They went overboard on insulation, hurricane straps, and bolts attaching roof to frame,” McKillip said. Local builder Lee Moulton of Old Man Construction said the first time a client asked his firm to handle a modular home project several years ago, “I told him, I don’t build trailers.”  But Moulton also become a convert.  Today Moulton promotes and completes the construction of modular homes for Nationwide Homes, built in Virginia. “We are projecting that in the next 20 years, 40 percent of home construction will be modular,” Moulton said. “If you look at the fact that we can build you a home in a factory in three months or less … it’s the wave of the future.” “You couldn’t buy a Ford Mustang for $30,000 if they built them one at a time,” said Moulton.

(Photo credit: PostandCourier)

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