In the wake of the October 2017 wildfires, with many people who lost homes and want to rebuild looking for the quickest way to achieve quality results while saving time and money in the process, firms like HybridCore Homes, and its affiliate HybridBuild, Inc., say demand is increasing for modular homes.
HybridCore (www.hybridcorehomes.com) offers customers multiple floor plans of homes ranging from 500 to 2,500 square feet — enough space to fulfill a majority of current demand requirements for accessory dwelling units (granny units) — with up to five-bedroom models with four bathrooms and three-car garages.
“Our company was born of necessity and survival in 2009 during the recession when a long-time client of architects Farrell Faber and Associates suggested taking a look at factory-built housing as a cost-effective solution for a project,” said Kevin Farrell, architect and managing partner of HybridCore Homes and HybridBuild. “Eventually, HybridCore Homes was launched as a unique marriage of traditional stick-built construction and what we call ‘cores’ constructed off-site.”
An initial challenge was finding how to introduce the “hybrid” home-construction approach in a way that would be palatable to consumers.
“Our homes are made with a standard of quality that meets or exceeds that of conventional stick-built homes,” said Matt Hernandez, director of operations. “Cores and finished buildings are extremely durable. They have to be able to arrive at the building site undamaged, meaning the floor has to be reinforced, and walls have to be strong enough so each core can be lifted using a sky crane without breakage or cracks. Each core can weigh up to 35,000 pounds.”
Cores come finished with windows, doors, cabinets, countertops, kitchen appliances and paint, already completed and ready to be joined to other sections of the home where only minor touch ups are needed.
The approach takes advantage of economies of scale by having subcontractors and craftsmen working in the same location, at the same time, on “wet cores” (sections of a home that include the kitchen, bathrooms, laundry, HVAC and hot-water systems), and “dry cores” that include living and family rooms, halls, bedrooms and other areas.
Wet cores are designed to include all areas where water, pipes and drains are present in a 15-foot-wide by up to 66-foot-long configuration suitable for transport on a flatbed truck and offloaded at the building location for repositioning on a standard raised concrete foundation. This process takes about an hour from core arrival to placement.
Three HybridCore construction facilities are located in California, in the Sacramento and Woodland areas, as well as another facility in Southern California, where labor is available and close to major cities and fire zones where new homes are critically needed. Company executives say this is not a cookie-cutter approach to home design. Floor plans and elevation styles can be customized to individual tastes, and the modular process can be used for all or some of a home’s buildout, leaving the rest to the company’s carpenters and other craftsman to do on-site — such as building garages and adding trusses and roofing materials.
HybridCore homes have been built throughout Northern California, including in Santa Rosa and other cities in Sonoma County, with a number of other homes completed, under construction and planned for delivery in fire-zone areas, such as Larkfield (Ursuline Road, Dover Court and Brighton Court), Hidden Valley (Aaron Drive) and Coffey Park (Skyview Court, Crestview Court and Santiago Drive), and elsewhere in the weeks ahead.