Posts Tagged ‘plumbing’

Sears & Roebuck Homes Presaged HUD Code and Modular Homes

April 22nd, 2016 Comments off

Sears_home_albany_ny__timesununion_lori_van_buren__creditSears was a pioneering mail-order company that sold watches, underwear, furniture, appliances—and from 1908 to 1940 sold 100,000 homes through a catalog. As the timesununion states, The pieces arrived packed in boxes that contained lumber, cut to length and numbered for convenience, as well as shingles, doors, windows, molding, plumbing, a furnace and every nail needed to put the whole thing together.” The components were shipped by train, and in the early days were delivered by horse and buggy from the train depot, as MHProNews knows, and assembled much like a puzzle.

Available in 447 styles, it is nearly impossible to distinguish them from site built, much like today’s manufactured and modular homes. A shipping label on the back of some mill work could be a clue, as would the letters “SR” cast into an inside corner of the tub, or on the underside of the bathroom or kitchen sink.

Additionally, there may be some blueprints or papers identifying it as a Sears home in the attic or basement. Sears offered home mortgages, so courthouse records might reveal the origins.

In today’s market, manufactured and modular homes are likewise delivered to the home site, but on flatbed trucks, and already constructed. The Sears & Roebuck homes were more of a kit. Would some company offer full size homes as a kit again? ##

(Photo credit: Times/Union-Lori Van Buren–Sears home in Albany, New York)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.

Housing Conditions Decline during Recession

October 1st, 2013 Comments off

The National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH) reports the physical conditions of housing in the U. S., in its study of 46 metropolitan areas, has declined since the last report in 2009. The study reveals 35 million, about 40 percent of metropolitan homes, have one or more health and safety measures, up from 30 million homes, 35 percent four years ago. As informs us, the State of Healthy Housing says the housing bubble and subsequent foreclosed homes that sometimes became blighted may have contributed to the decline. Nicolas P. Retsinas, director emeritus of Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, says, “The report documents that healthy homes remain elusive for far too many homeowners, renters and their children. The findings in this report should motivate government, business and nonprofit leaders to come together to ensure that all families have a decent place to live.” The metropolitan areas of San Jose, Calif., Indianapolis, Ind., and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. rank at the top of the list for having the healthiest housing. At the bottom are San Antonio, Texas, Birmingham, Alabama, and Memphis, Tennessee. NCCH rates housing on the basis of 20 safety and health characteristics including evidence of rodents; faulty heating, electrical, and plumbing systems; moisture problems, and poorly maintained building elements. “No matter where you live, people should have access to a safe and healthy home,” says Maurice Jones, HUD’s Deputy Secretary, as MHProNews has learned.

(Image credit:

Japanese Micro Modular Apartments 40 Years Old

September 25th, 2013 Comments off

A small group of architects in post-war Japan, trying to overcome problems that plagued traditional urban planning, created the Nakagin Capsule Tower, a building containing 140 modular unit capsules of just over 100 square feet each. It’s intent was to provide housing for businessmen who needed an urban home during the week. Originally designed in 1972 so the capsules would be replaced every 25 years, today half the modular units are offices, and the others function as inexpensive housing and weekend second homes. Photographer Noritaka Minami, who has documented the tower, says it was supposed to begin a trend of small living spaces but is the only building of its kind, and for good reason: The floorplan does not maximize space, and, “It’s extremely difficult to repair the plumbing and service lines, because of the design: there’s nothing like it,” says Minima. Another drawback is the porthole windows in each modular unit do not open, according to Minima visited the complex in 2010 during a heat wave, MHProNews understands, and in one of the units the air conditioning did not work. “It was like a sauna inside,” he says.

(Photo credit: Minami–Nakagin Capsule Tower)

Modular Homes Replacing Beachfront Bungalows

September 16th, 2013 Comments off

In Ortley Beach, New Jersey, adjacent to Seaside Heights, where 2,200 of 2,400 bungalows were damaged or wiped out by Hurricane Sandy, builder John Westrum is beginning to replace some of them with modular homes, recently completing a model home. He says many of the bungalows are 60-years old and have such outdated wiring, plumbing and old walls it makes more sense to build new rather than repair. In order to qualify for federal flood insurance the pilings the homes sit on have to be nine feet high. Simplex Homes of Scranton, Pennsylvania built the modules for the model home, according to He offers homes from 750 square feet to 2,000 square feet, with prices of $109,900 to $289,900. He says all the infrastructure and streets are already there, as MHProNews has learned, and he expects to sell 50 homes a year.

(Photo credit: Emile Wamsteker/The Wall Street Journal–beachfront modular)

Suit Seeks to Halt Large Modular Housing Project

July 12th, 2013 Comments off

Updating a story we last posted Jan 29, 2013 regarding Forest City Ratner’s 32-story modular housing project in Brooklyn’s Atlantic Yards, two trade unions have sued to block the project. The Mechanical Contractors Association and the Plumbing Foundation allege Buildings Department Commissioner Robert LiMandri sidestepped a promise to use only licensed master plumbers and fire suppression contractors on the project, after being pressured by the developer. As the nypost informs MHProNews, LiMandri allegedly withdrew a draft citing the agreement with the unions.

(Image credit: SHoP Architects–Atlantic Yards modular housing project)

Structural Panels Maker GreenFLEX Expanding in Oregon

June 21st, 2013 Comments off

While the number of employees in the manufactured housing (MH) industry in Ore. dropped from 2,000 in 2007 to around 600 by the end of last year, factory-built housing producer GreenFLEX intends to hire some of those workers at a facility in Stayton, Ore. that once made modular homes. The company produces energy efficient concrete structural panels with a layer of foam that is not only excellent insulation, but its proprietary features include resistance to hammer blows, prolonged soaking in water, fire and its ability to bend without breaking. Structurally different from manufactured homes, the interior as well as plumbing and electrical is very similar. “Wherever there is an extreme climate or a durability issue, that is where we shine,” said James Weber, a company manager. Founded in 2011, GreenFLEX has made permanent and portable housing for oilfield and agricultural workers, and intends to enter the residential market. As statesmanjournal informs MHProNews, the company expects to double its work force to over 100 as it moves into the 140,000 square foot building modular builder Karsten Homes left in 2009.

(Photo credit: statesmanjournal–GreenFLEX homes)

MODS Donating Modular Home to OK Family

June 20th, 2013 Comments off

Updating a post MHProNews published June 18, in which a modular builder announced the availability of furnished units for emergency housing in tornado ravaged Okla., the company is donating one of the homes. MODS (Modular On Demand Structures) International Marketing of Appleton, Wis. converts shipping containers into modular housing, as well as offices and other commercial applications, and is sending a unit to an Okla. family that will be fully furnished. “We build them out. They’re built like a home — same framing, same insulation, heating and air conditioning. Very simple, same plumbing. It’s all built to code, international building codes,” Doug Larson with MODS told fox6now.

(Photo credit: fox6now–shipping containers converted to housing)


Steel Modular Home Revived

May 13th, 2013 Comments off

According to palmspringslife, in the 1960’s architect Don Wexler designed seven all steel modular homes in North Palm Springs, Calif. in conjunction with the Alexander Group, each selling for $14,000. The intent was to build 36 homes but the price of materials became prohibitive, as everything except the concrete foundation, plumbing and electrical was steel. The last of the seven recently sold for $365,000 and the new owners intend to renovate it to its original condition and rent it out as a vacation house. The two-bedroom, two-bath, 1,532 square foot house features an open floor plan, simple lines, and a folded steel plate roof line that forms an air baffle designed to draw heat away from the rooms and create shaded areas over the windows. MHProNews has learned one of the homes is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Paul Kaplan of the Paul Kaplan Group says, “Part of the reasoning behind the all-steel construction is its ability to withstand the heat and windy nature of the Palm Springs area.”

(Photo credit: James Butchart/palmspringslife–steel modular home)

Modular Home has Engine, No Wheels

April 11th, 2013 Comments off

As informs MHProNews, a group of Stanford University students in Calif. have developed a modular home “Core” concept—the plumbing and most of the mechanicals are basically in a 12′ X 15′ X 10′ box, with wires and ducts fingering out. Start.Home has a kitchen on one face of the box, and the bathroom and laundry rooms on the other sides of the box, and then the house is built to customers’ wishes around this core, thus avoiding the cookie-cutter look. Derek Ouyang, leader of the project, says, “We’re making homes more like cars. We’re designing an engine for a home.” The finished product will be Stanford’s entry in the 2013 Department of Energy’s ‘Solar Decathlon” held biennially in Washington, D.C. At the end of the competition in October, the modular house will become home to a Palo Alto, Calif. couple who are expecting a child.

(Image credit: fastcoexist)

Manufactured Housing Goes Hunting

January 8th, 2013 Comments off

AmmoLand reports from Fremont, Ohio that MH building products maker StyleCrest is teaming with Mossy Oak to produce Wildside Camo Siding for hunting blinds, lodges, cabins and sheds. The extrusion-process camouflage siding will resist UV rays and extreme weather conditions, and is easy to install. As MHProNews has learned, StyleCrest supplies numerous residential products to the MH industry from HVAC, plumbing and electrical to doors, decks and foundation covers.

(Image credit: AmmoLand)