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Modular Multifamily Construction on the Rise


In Winston-Salem, North Carolina, a new modular multifamily development known as Hilltop House gained 65 new apartments in just 47 days.

According to Triad Business Journal, 52 modules were to be completed in 36 days by Champion Home Builders, Inc. in one of its factories. In addition, the builders had just 11 days to get the modules into proper place on a small site in the historic downtown area. Just six months later, this community, which consists of modular and conventional construction, opened for occupancy in early 2014.

Throughout the country, many cities’ downtown areas are being enriched with new apartment construction. However, this could prove advantageous for modular construction, giving developments like Hilltop House the opportunity to gain an edge on the competition. As reported by Winston-Salem Journal, this is a fast-growing sector with over 1,000 new apartments are planned for the downtown Winston-Salem area within the next couple of years.

Growing Demand

As stated by Tom Hardiman, executive director of the Modular Building Institute (MBI), the multifamily housing market is set to experience incredible growth over the next year. Within this market, modular construction is perfect because construction time is much shorter, which in turn allows for earlier occupancy and ultimately, quicker ROI.

With modular construction, buildings are made in factories and then transported to the permanent site via semi-truck. All of the pieces of the modular home are then pieced together. Recently, this type of construction has become increasingly more common and popular, especially for apartment developers. In addition to saving time, this is a cost-efficient solution.

Rather than modular construction being flimsy as some believe, tight quality control checks in place throughout the construction process. Compared to conventional construction, this is an excellent alternative.

Today, young professionals are eager to live in city hubs close to work and home. However, the cost of labor for building multifamily homes is relatively expensive whereas modular homes are more affordable.

Tremendous Cost Savings

To construct 28 apartments in Manhattan’s The Stack it was possible to reduce the cost by 20 percent by going with modular construction. Currently, construction all over the country is heating up, which has created a shortage of labor for many developers. Making this an even greater challenge is that fact that a number of construction companies were unable to survive the economic crisis.

Another key benefit associated with modular construction has to do with time. For instance, in building the 444 new apartments in San Jose California’s Domain Apartments, a full four months was trimmed from the schedule by going with modular construction and without compromise on quality.

All of the modules used for this site were inspected and protected from rain and other harsh elements. In addition, it took very little time to fix any identified problems on the punch list. In fact, Peter Solar, who worked on the multifamily development for Equity Residential, said the initial punch list was the best he had ever seen.



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