Modular Home Site Preparation

modular home sitework

Modular Home Site Preparation

Proper site preparation is one of the most important things you can do to ensure that your project goes smoothly. Poor site preparation will create multiple problems that will cost you both time and money. For example, a poorly-graded access road will cause unnecessary damage to your new home's sheetrock. Ensuring that the access road to the job-site has been properly prepared will save you both time and money.

Rough grading of the work site must avoid ditches and sharp changes in elevation. If these are required because of topography, they must be temporarily filled or bridged to permit carriers onto the site. The delivery area (usually near the foundation) must be level and hard packed. Egress must be possible for the delivery trucks from this area.

The crane will typically arrive on the morning of the set - after the modules ("boxes") have been delivered. Be sure to plan for the crane to have access to the foundation - not more than ten feet "off" the foundation walls. Normally, the crane will set-up on the "long" side of the foundation. If a gable-end set is necessary due to site conditions a larger and more expensive crane will be needed. Plan ahead: have your dealer visit the site and plan where the boxes will be parked and the crane will be set-up. The crane pad area must be cleared a minimum of 30' from the wall and the entire length of the foundation to provide the set crew with sufficient working space to safely perform their tasks. The crane needs an area 30' x 50' with no more than 12" of grade change in any direction to safely operate.

When a site is not accessible to the delivery drivers it will be necessary to utilize an excavator to bring the modules onto the site and/or to reposition the modules during the set. It may also be necessary for the excavator to position the carriers so that they are accessible to drivers for pickup (usually at a later date).  Be sure to discuss with your dealer who will be responsible for arranging for and paying the excavator to be on site as needed. If using your own excavator, discuss the situation with him in advance of the delivery and set. Make sure he is comfortable moving the modules and has adequate equipment on site. Delays due to excavator “no-shows” or equipment that is too small for the job will quickly add-up ($500 - $1,000 per hour). Delays in the set may cause multiple problems and dramatically increase the cost of the set.

The Takeaway

  • Access road should have a minimum clearance width of twenty feet and clearance height of fifteen feet.
  • All obstacles to the crane and carriers must be removed prior to their arrival; including snow, piles of dirt, debris, rocks, boulders, trees, buildings, vehicles and overhead lines or cables.
  • Avoid damage to modules by rough-grading the site.
  • Provide space on-site to park the modules near the foundation.
  • The delivery area (usually near the foundation) must be level and hard packed.
  • Egress must be possible for the delivery trucks from this area.
  • Allow space for the crane to set-up near the foundation.
  • Do not install well or septic if it will interfere with delivery and/or set.
  • Whenever possible, prepare the site to avoid the need to use an excavator.
  • Designate an area where the empty carriers can be parked for an extended period of time. Carriers must be accessible to drivers for removal.

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