Modular housing in Cohousing in Ann Arbor, Michigan
From: Juniperjojo (Juniperjojoaol.com)
Date: Thu, 30 Jun 2005 05:05:45 -0700 (PDT)
In Ann Arbor, Michigan, both Great Oak Cohousing (2003) and Touchstone 
Cohousing (2005) used modular housing, mostly as a way to reduce cost. Great 
Oak 
Cohousing used Royal Homes (www.royalhomes.com) out of Ontario, Canada; 
Touchstone is using Crest Homes from here in the Midwest 
(http://www.cresthomes.com).

Other than reducing overall costs, we liked the quality of modular 
construction (thicker-than-standard sheetrock or drywall, double-wall 
construction, 
double-ceilings, etc. make for great soundproofing of adjacent units!), the 
ability to customize, and the fact that our houses continued to be built even 
throughout the cold, snowy months (and rains) where it might otherwise have 
ground 
to a halt, since they were being built (for the most part) on an "assembly 
line" under a covered roof. This meant none of our interiors was ever at risk 
for 
damage from the elements.

One of the hardest things about our modular housing experience is that we 
allowed nearly-infinite variations in each unit, which -- despite assurances to 
the contrary from the modular housing folks -- was a nightmare for the on-site 
construction team to manage. I think Touchstone has learned from our 
experience there and offered a smaller subset of options to its members.

If I ever move out of cohousing (I'm currently selling my two-bedroom and 
buying a three-bedroom in the same community) and build my own place, I'll use 
modular housing if I can. Check out some of the modern houses built using 
modular homes through Royal Homes of Canada "royal blog" at 
http://royalhomestoronto.typepad.com/rhtoronto/. We had both good and bad 
experiences with Royal 
Homes, but overall I still think modular housing is a cool "new" building 
technique 
that's probably here to stay.

Jenny Cook
Great Oak Cohousing
Ann Arbor, MI
http://www.gocoho.org/prospective/forsale/

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