Prefab Home FAQs | The Modular Home Construction Building Process

Prefab Home FAQs | The Modular Home Construction Building Process

  • What is a modular home?

    The word modular comes from the Latin - modulus, meaning a selected unit of measure, “used as a basis for the planning and standardization of building materials.”

    Modular is a process, not a product. Using a modular process to complete your home is a better way. Period. Dvele luxury homes are meticulously planned by our expert team of architectural designers, interior designers and engineers.

    Our executive group is comprised of experts in their fields of home building, aerospace engineering, modular manufacturing, technology and design.

    Our expertise is in utilizing healthy, eco-forward building materials to create a customized home with the standardized features of ambient noise reduction, temperature control*, and smart technology, among other considerations ahead of the curve in the modular home market.

    *Temperature control offers more than just comfort. Using less energy to heat and cool a home saves money - and is much better for the environment.

  • How does modular compare to an onsite, stick build?

    Building with Dvele is better and faster than building an onsite, stick-built house.

    Building modularly is faster than any site build producing a similar product type. A  realistic time frame for a Dvele, from start to finish, is six months. Double (even triple!) that number for an onsite build.

    Building modularly removes the red tape engrained in traditional building; 90% of onsite inspections become unnecessary.

    Building modularly yields better quality control.  We bring one team under one roof to work together, instead of the fragmented nature of various trades miscommunicating with each other onsite.

    Building modularly ensures a climate controlled area, eliminating mold contamination that occurs onsite and eliminating time delays, often caused by weather, that forestal the building process.

    Building modularly is more efficient.  We can achieve zero waste - or very close to it.

  • What do you mean by "volumetric prefabrication"?

    Dvele relies on Volumetric Prefabrication, meaning we do most of the work inside our facility, including finishing, flooring, countertops, fixtures, right down to the appliances and sometimes even furniture. All of the components of your home are prefabricated in various stations in our factory and then assembled into big lego-like boxes, which allows us to complete 90% of your home in our factory.

  • Why build a home in a factory?

    Regardless of wind, rain, snow, sweltering heat and other elemental factors that forestall the building process of stick-built homes, Dvele homes are built on schedule in an indoor, climate-controlled area.

    Creating your home in such an environment also guarantees precision and efficiency. It’s more efficient to assemble a home in a controlled factory environment than onsite. Plus, a factory environment ensures a consistent work force and a fixed price point.

    Factory precision in the modular process has been a standard practice in Europe and Scandinavia for decades.  Dvele is extending this modern tradition to include smart technology that is optimized for your lifestyle now and wired for the future.

  • Is building a modular home cheaper?

    Manufacturing costs for a Dvele are in the range of $200/SF to $275/SF, depending on finishings. This cost is for modules ready to be shipped from our factory including electrical, plumbing, mechanical and all of the finishing (even appliances). Our LookBook will convey the level of quality that comes as standard.

    In comparison, building a stick-built home on site may be more, less, or equal to building a Dvele depending on geographic location, individual markets, and quality of materials used. Yet, the standard manufacturing costs for a Dvele remain the same.

    Dvele provides a fixed price contract for our factory build. When we quote a price we stick to it; that is not a guarantee that you’ll encounter when building a stick-built house onsite where the homeowner is responsible for all the cost overruns.

    Building a home on site, to the same level of quality and spec as a Dvele, would be nearly impossible and more costly.

    We’d like to highlight the added value that comes with moving into your home sooner. With a six month average estimate from planning to completion, saved time is an finite asset that we pride ourselves on providing to our homebuyers.

    We’d also like to stress that the extra value in Dvele is in our quality.  Our standard product offering (at a base level) far exceeds that of industry standards.  

  • How long does it take to build a Dvele home?

    Design: Our plans are already created for your ideal home

    Assessment: Soil testing, survey, foundation, assessment, etc. (est. 4 weeks)

    Permitting: turn around varies based on municipality (est. 2 + weeks)

    Secure Materials + Production Spot: (est. 4+ weeks)

    Factory Build:  (est. 20-32 working days)

    Shipping:  (est. 1-7 days, depending on where it’s going)

    Site install: (est. 2-6 weeks)

    A reasonable estimate would be 6 months until move in.  

  • Are there other costs involved?

    Yes. Other costs incurred include “soft costs” and “site costs.”

    Soft costs vary by project. ($15,000 – $100,000 - very rarely would we see the higher end of this range)
    Feasibility study
    Site survey
    Geotechnical soils analysis
    Architectural design
    Structural engineering
    Permit coordination
    Utility connection fees
    Permit and impact fees

    City fees associated with obtaining a building permit can vary greatly depending on jurisdiction and are determined during the feasibility process.
    Dvele is happy to help you with this process and can do this for you or with you.

    Site Costs: 
    Shipping the modules to the site from the factory
    Installation of the home on the site
    All on-site finish work, including structurally integrating the modules and cosmetic reinforcement
    Utility connections
    Additional site-built components such as decks, exterior stairs, etc.
    Site work costs vary based on a variety of factors, including the condition of your land, topography and soil, total number of modules, and complexity of the project. 

  • If I already have land what reports do I need to have done?

    You will need a boundary and topographic surveys as well as a geotechnical (soils) report.  

  • Can I finance a Dvele home?

    Yes! You can finance a Dvele like any home you’re building.

    We’re happy to introduce you to a preferred third party, modular-specific lender.

  • Do Dvele homes appraise for less than a regular home?

    No. A Dvele home will go up in value just like a traditional stick-built home; a Dvele home may appraise for higher than a stick-built home due to the quality of construction, design, superior materials used and durability over time.

  • Does Dvele build homes in every state?

    Yes! Except for Alaska and Hawaii, which we might be able to do.

    Let’s talk. We currently do most of our business in the Western US.

  • Do I need to find my own contractor?

    No. We found all the great people to do the work just the way we like it. This is one less worry for you.

    The Dvele end-to-end streamlined process allows us to be a one stop shop and the single point of communication and payment. We’re here to help you every step of the way.

  • Do I need to own land in order to build a Dvele?

    Yes. Your Dvele home stands on a permanent foundation. We’re happy to put you in contact with our network of realtors to help you find your perfect view.

    As with any building, some lots are conducive to building, and the cost to develop that land is a factor regardless if it is stick built or modular. Every site varies; contact our team and we will do a comprehensive assessment for you.

  • Is a modular home as sturdy as a traditionally built home?

    Absolutely. Dvele homes are built to the same codes as a traditional home, except we greatly exceed the code minimums. Our homes sit on permanent foundations adhering to IRC (site-build code). Each home is engineered by 3rd party professionals to meet and/or exceed local requirements.

    Our precise and innovative building envelope ensures durability, and due to the fact that we ship each module on a truck, Dvele homes require even greater structural integrity than a stick-built house.

  • Are Dvele homes suitable for cold weather (like snow)?

    Building a Dvele is ideal for weather conditions that would forestall an onsite build. 90% of the home is completed in our factory and not impacted by the outside elements.

    Dvele homes are well insulated and ideal for a spectrum of climates, including colder weather.

    The thermal boundary (plus our passive design) allows a Dvele to use substantially less energy than a standard home. The thermal boundary and the airbarier also increase occupant comfort by creating consistent temperatures throughout the home.

  • What warranties do Dvele homes come with?

    Dvele agrees to provide the Owner with best in class 2 year warranty on fit and finish as well as a 5-year building envelope and 10 year structural warranty. 

  • Are Dvele homes sustainable?

    Dvele uses building materials with transparent ingredient lists, not just for the health of the homeowner, but for the overall health of the environment.

    And unlike traditional builders who are building to today’s building codes, Dvele homes meet the standards of future building codes. The building codes state that by 2020 every new house in California must have solar power. Although upgraded Dvele homes can include solar and a battery backup, every Dvele home is currently wired for solar power.

    Dvele homes are designed to Passive House design standards. Our building envelope allows Dvele homes to use 65%-75% less energy than a standard home. Even homes that use renewable energy benefit from a design that inherently uses less.

    Because of this conservation mindset we also integrate sustainable products throughout.

  • Are Dvele homes smarter?

    Yes. Each Dvele home comes standard with a mesh network. Wi-Fi is infused and runs through the walls of the home.

    Dvele homes have AI (artificial intelligence) as the brain and backbone of the technology platform, and have Sonos, Next, eero, and Lutron, embedded in them for seamless home automation, information and control.

    Your Dvele also monitors your indoor air quality, senses for moisture, and tracks temperature changes inside the exterior walls.

    Almost anything you can think of can be pre-programmed or controlled by your voice, text or app: Lighting, temperature, sound, and so on.

    Pretty smart, right?

  • Does Dvele offer smaller homes?

    Yes. The Dvele Mini, which is between 460 and 650 SF, is perfect for a luxury artist studio, guest house, home office, vacation home, or starter home.

    The Dvele Mini contains one to two bedrooms and has the same smart technology and high-end features as our standard-sized Dvele homes. It’s a high-end healthy, smart home, but smaller.

  • Can I visit a Dvele home and tour the Dvele factory?

    Please do! We’ll have model homes ready for you to visit in the beautiful cities of Santa Rosa and Ventura, CA in the fall of 2018.

    Get on our list for updates and invitations to VIP events and connect with us on social media to follow the homebuilding process in real time.

    We also invite you to tour our factory. We are proud of how we build and would love to show off our great work. Talk to your sales person to schedule a tour.

  • Should I buy a Dvele?

    We sure think so!

    In this time of labor shortage and housing crisis’, more homeowners are looking towards alternative solutions. Dvele builds a better house, much faster, and to higher standards - and we’ve made the building process easier for homeowners.

    Tell us your vision. And let’s start building the home you’ll love.

  • What is a building envelope? (And why does it matter?)

    We’re glad you asked because it is the most critical element to the quality, longevity, and success of any building.

    A building envelope is the perimeter boundary between a building and exterior outdoor conditions (weather and humidity), as well as areas of ground contact (foundation and crawl space).

    The building envelope is the major line of defense against air, bulk water, vapor moisture, pests, and anything else that could potentially get in from the outside.

    Using physics and building science, Dvele designs wall, roof, foundation, and slab assemblies to protect the building and ensure it will last for hundreds of years.  The major components of a building envelope are the defined boundaries, or layers of protection.

    These include the air barrier, thermal boundary, wind resistant layer, water control layer, bulk water management, and exterior finish claddings.

How Can we help you get started?


Choose from one of our pre-designed homes and download the floor plan details to learn more.


Send us an email with details about your project and our team will get back to you as quickly as possible.