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2/27/2003

Home delivery

By Elisabeth Nardi
The Daily Times-Call

BERTHOUD — Whether it is a Spanish-style house in the Southwest or a Cape Cod style on the East Coast, houses are being built that match the regions they are delivered to.

What’s common among them: They are built in one of a few locations nationwide.

Chris Robinson is regional marketing director for Genesis, a company that produces so-called “off-site” houses.

“It wouldn’t be unlikely to see a log cabin style off-site home in Breckenridge,” Robinson said.

These homes are not like the standard modular homes — or mobile homes, as they used to be known. Each factory-built home is held to the same state inspection standards as site-built homes and, by state law, must have a foundation.

Steven Bernia, program manager at the Colorado Division of Housing, said his office inspected and certified more than 1,000 factory-built homes last year.

“Generally, we see the factory-built homes are more popular because they are built to the same codes as the local jurisdiction,” Bernia said. “They also don’t look like a wobbly box. They are becoming more and more conventional with the public’s demand.”

Genesis, a division of Champion homes, manufactures homes in its Berthoud plant. Daryl Stuart, a builder representative for Genesis, said demand for the homes is growing.

“Traditional (home) financing is very strict and very hard,” Stuart said. “This is a more suitable option for most.”

Stuart said the factory-built homes can be delivered within 60 to 90 days after the developer puts in the order. He said some have been finished within 30 days, but added that speed doesn’t diminish the product.

“We realize we have to build quality products or people won’t buy them,” Stuart said.

The Berthoud plant produces about five houses on an average day, but Stuart said they are capable of many more. He said that with the pace and skill of the company’s more than 160 employees, the number of houses produced in a day could be “limitless.”

“We work in perfect precision,” Stuart said.

Genesis started building factory-built homes out of the Berthoud plant in 2000. Summit Crest homes, also a division of Champion, continues to operate out of that location.

Unlike the standard modular homes built by Summit, factory-built Genesis homes are sold only to developers and are specifically designed for in-fill lots or regular housing properties.

Bernia said these houses are popular in this state because developers are able to sell the home and land together.

“Colorado has an abundance of land, so the opportunity to do land packages is greater here,” Bernia said.

Stuart said customers can choose from hundreds of different floor plans, ranging from one bedroom to eight. Three bedrooms is the most popular, he said.

The homes have no base price because developers charge the customers — not Genesis. Similar houses might be priced differently because of land values, added amenities or size of the lots. Stuart estimates a standard 2,024-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath ranch-style home in Longmont with all the amenities might cost $150,000 to $175,000.

Customers can save money in energy costs, Robinson notes, as Genesis last year was voted “partner of the year” by Energy Star — a federally backed energy saving program.

“These (homes) are affordable for someone to get into a brand new house,” Stuart said.

Genesis’ Berthoud facility is one of 10 plants nationwide, and it builds homes delivered in 12 states, including Colorado.