The use of CAD architectural drafting has helped make the designing and creating buildings of all kinds, from skyscrapers to family homes, easier than ever. Thanks to new developments in architectural CAD, the next few years may see the increased presence of a trend in house building that has long been available, but which has so far struggled to take off as expected: the modular home.
What Are Modular Homes?
Modular homes are prefab houses that are designed and built in a factory, and then assembled on a property after all the pieces have already been constructed. Using this process, new homes can be built according to both customer specifications and local building codes, and then shipped and put together on the owner’s land. Unlike traditional mobile homes, these prefab houses are built to the same construction standards as units built on-site in the traditional manner.
Since modular homes were first created, it has been predicted that they would become the next big trend in homebuilding. But, in spite of the rosy predictions, the modular home boom has yet come to pass. As of 2014, modular homes still only made up less than 1.5 percent of all homes built, about 14,000 units.[i] In spite of soft sales and performing well below expectations for decades, there are new murmurings that a modular home boom is about to hit, thanks to advances in computer aided design.
CAD Built Homes
Because of new developments in architectural CAD, prefab modular homes can now be constructed more economically, and with greater variations in their designs. Modular units have also gained notice for the quickness with which they can replace residences and other buildings destroyed by hurricanes and other natural disasters; many victims of Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina rebuilt after the storms by having modular homes installed.
For many years, the main barrier to modular homes becoming more popular was economic. Depending on transportation and assembly costs, having a prefab home shipped and built in certain neighborhoods was no less expensive than having a traditional home built on site. But now that advancements in CAD are making planning and construction of these prefab homes easier and allowing for more flexibility and variety in their design, the prices of these units could fall to a point where they become a more viable option; the modular buildings built in New York and New Jersey to replace those destroyed by Hurricane Sandy cost approximately 20% less than they would have if built via traditional methods, and could be assembled more quickly.1
The widespread availability of the internet could also help the fortunes of modular construction. Whereas modular homes have traditionally been advertised in catalogues, vendors are now marketing their prefab houses online. Once modular building companies have the chance to put custom-built CAD models of their potential new homes in front of consumers, who can now more easily order customer features and specifications, the likelihood that modular units will become more popular with the average homeowner is likely to increase.
For more updates and information on the use of CAD in architectural design, call us today at 800-700-3305.