|Re: Modular Construction in Co-Housing||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Juniperjojo (Juniperjojoaol.com)|
|Date: Sun, 24 Apr 2005 07:24:00 -0700 (PDT)|
Hi mew et al, Laura Fitch is correct that Great Oak Cohousing in Ann Arbor, Michigan (where I live) used modular (a.k.a. pre-fab) construction, completed in early 2003. Touchstone Cohousing, which is currently under development, is also using modular construction. (Sunward Cohousing, which was finished in 2000 if I recall correctly, used traditional stick-built construction.) I wouldn't describe the modular construction method as significantly cheaper than stick-built, however, though of course it is somewhat cheaper. Partly this is because we used reasonably high-quality materials and fixtures (thicker sheetrock (known as drywall around these parts), solid-wood doors, low-E casement windows, nine-foot insulated basements, etc.). What modular construction does allow, however, is some individualization ("custom-built" features) of unit designs for less than a custom-built price. Another significant benefit of using modular construction -- other than allowing better quality for less money -- is the time that can be saved by building the modules indoors, which can be done regardless of weather (a big consideration in Michigan). This also keeps the wood, wiring, etc., from getting wet during construction. Also, because of the "modular" nature of modular construction, every unit has a double-layer between 1st and 2nd floors, which really reduces the transmission of sound between floors. Because you also get a double-wall between units, the sound transmission between units is practically zero in my experience, as well. Great Oak's homes were built by Royal Homes of Ontario, Canada. You can learn more about them by going to their website, http://www.royalhomes.com. Touchstone is using a different modular construction company. I don't know anything about them, but you could ask Nick from the Cohousing Development Company (http://www.cohousingdevelopment.com/contact.htm) about them. There were some limitations imposed on our home designs due to the pre-fab construction; the most significant of these was that a single module could be no wider than (if I recall correctly) 15' 10". This was of little consequence with the larger units, but the two-story two-bedroom townhomes were limited to this width in order to stay reasonably affordable. The most significant effect of this limitation was that we had to compromise on the layout of our downstairs half bath, which means it is too small even for a shower stall, keeping these two-bedroom townhomes from being truly accessible even on the first floor. If anyone is curious to see what one of these two-bedroom townhomes looks like, please go to http://www.gocoho.org/prospective/forsale. This is my home, which is currently for sale. (I am planning to purchase a three-bedroom home that recently became available here at Great Oak.) If you are interested in seeing more pictures of our community as a whole, please go to http://www.gocoho.org/photos. A schematic of our overall site plan is available at http://www.gocoho.org/campus. Any detailed questions regarding the construction of our community or Touchstone should be directed to Nick Meima at nick [at] cohousingdevelopment.com, who is one of the developers of Great Oak and Touchstone. Jenny Cook Great Oak Cohousing
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