The first workstation sits just outside the factory’s rear entrance, where deliveries of recycled steel are deposited. Here, the steel is cut to length and constructed into each module’s basic structural skeleton. Since completed homes are transported directly to the sites, sizes are strictly dictated by trucking regulations. The result lends the structure a kind of pleasing railcar feel—long, lean boxes that can be fit together in various configurations. “Our modules are typically two different widths and can be varying lengths,” explains Todd Jerry, Marmol Radziner Prefab’s chief operating officer. “Twelve feet is the widest module that you can fit on a truck without getting a special permit. The other width of module is eight feet, which we use typically if the house is going somewhere difficult to navigate—a tight access road or a hill site.”
Once the frame is fabricated, it is then placed on a cart that rolls on tracks set into the factory floor. With the help of these ingenious tracks, the units glide easily through each workstation. The first stop for a completed steel frame is paint and prep, where the skeletons are cleaned of dirt and grease and given an application of water-based paint.