Outside building using the stick by stick method is loaded with complications and potential problems, compounded further by the challenges of winter weather. The good news is that you have an alternative. By having your home constructed using modular building systems, the majority of your home will be built indoors in a climate-controlled production facility—thus preventing weather-related issues as well as possible future problems with your new home. Modular building can also save you time and money.
Weather is the enemy of the homebuilder and the new construction home buyer. If you choose to build on site utilizing outdated building methods, you may be dealing with problems later on down the road. The bottom line is snow and freezing rain don’t mix with and untreated wood.
When moisture comes in contact with untreated wood, it naturally warps. This creates studs, joists and trusses that are not plumb and true, which results in crooked walls, floors and ceilings. If you know how to look for it, you see it all the time in site constructed homes.
Even a larger issue than warped wood is that four-letter word MOLD! Mold is a huge issue in wintertime home building. In addition to the obvious health implications, a typical mold remediation project to remove mold from the ducts, crawl spaces, walls and attic of a house runs around $2,000-$6,000 according to home.costhelper.com. If the mold has caused widespread structural damage, repair costs can increase the total to $10,000-$30,000 or more.
Job Site Challenges
Building a home outdoors is challenging enough in the best of weather, but if you add the additional burden of winter weather, problems are plentiful. If foundations are not already poured before freezing temperatures, ground heaters and blankets must be used to warm the ground so that concrete can be poured. The concrete needs warmer temperatures to set up and could also require a special winter mix of additives to promote curing. In addition, suppliers and crews can have difficulty getting to the location in general as well as access to the specific job site when there. Overall safety on the job site is definitely compromised and there can be a lot of digging out of building materials covered by a significant snowfall.
To avoid the inevitable snow and/or freezing rain, in some cases structural framing and roof construction is hastily completed to help protect the interior of the home. Installation of components such as windows and doors needs to be completed quickly due to weather. Roofing is more difficult because the shingles may become brittle and break in cold temperatures. This accelerated building activity may affect the structural quality of the home.
Inside, crews will need to complete interior details such as drywall finishing, flooring, painting, cabinet installation, plumbing and electrical work, all of which can be adversely affected by the cold weather. Due to the frozen ground conditions, sometimes utility companies have calendar cut off dates for providing electric and water hook ups to new construction.
It is quite likely you will be facing extended timelines for the overall completion of a winter home building project. Construction crews are obviously slowed by the cold, causing them to work in a slower and less efficient manner. In areas where snow and ice are common, weather-related delays and cancellations are the norm. In addition, due to the shorter window of daylight, less time is available for crews to actually work.
Onsite homebuilding is often more expensive in the winter than more temperate times of the year. Since the entire building project is extended, rented equipment will be needed longer. Additional costs of ground heaters, blankets and special concrete mixes needed for cold-weather foundation construction can significantly increase overall building expenses as well. Longer timelines could also mean increased money spent on interest payments in the cycle of your construction loan.
Modular Building Systems
There are proven and more practical building methods available that allow you to construct your home during the winter months. Modular building systems allow you to build a home almost totally indoors in a climate-controlled environment.
Building inside prevents many problems that can occur related to cold and harsh winter weather. Inside the production facility, your home’s structure and most of the interior finishing will be completed. All lumber used in its construction has a moisture content of 19% or less and never sees rain or snow. Depending on the complexity, homes arriving to the jobsite are up to 90% completed and are carefully wrapped for travel. Authorized independent builders who complete the home on site will typically pour foundations prior to temperatures falling to below freezing and before the snow falls.
Once on the jobsite, the home is lifted by crane and affixed to its permanent foundation. The roof is done and the house becomes water tight the same day, preventing any damage that could occur in winter weather. Due to the fact that the home comes from the production facility to the site 90% complete, much less work and labor is required to finish the home. Site construction such as porches and garages still need to be completed outside when weather permits.
System built manufacturers work all year round so labor and time delay issues are not a factor. In fact, the modular building system process might work to your advantage. Because a lower volume of building that naturally occurs during the winter you might be able to receive and get into your home quicker than you expected.
The price of modular building is fixed. The invoice price that your builder receives from the manufacturer for the work performed in the production facility will not increase due to weather conditions.
Building modular in a climate-controlled environment can overcome the challenges of winter weather and save you time and money during your new home construction process.