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What is a modular home? How can this help us in our fight for more affordable housing?

The idea is to create homes that are fully built and finished in a factory. Those homes then can be delivered to a build site and placed on foundations!

Flatirons Habitat is working with the city of Boulder and the Boulder Valley School District to create a facility that would produce what is called modular homes. If this plan goes through, it will allow us to produce affordable homes quicker and more efficiently.

These homes then would be able to be transported to certain build sites. This is especially important in areas where residents already live and construction is anticipated to take five or more years. By being able to deliver pre-built homes to those sites, it can help minimize the burden of construction for existing residents.

The factory is anticipated to be located on the Educational Resource campus of the Boulder Valley School District (6500 Arapahoe Rd, Boulder, CO). The factory building site is currently gravel with no existing structures.

The city has secured funding to construct the factory and purchase the tools required to equip this type of facility. Flatirons Habitat will be the certified manufacturer, manage the facility, procure materials, and provide the logistical support of organizing volunteers, homeowners, and professional staff. The school district will provide land for the construction of the factory for a period of at least 10 years with an option to renew and use the operation as a teaching facility for the Technical Education Center (TEC) Construction class.

The idea to create a space to build modular homes comes out of the city of Boulder's decision to purchase the Ponderosa Mobile Home Park in 2018.

The park has experienced infrastructure failure, and the existing manufactured homes are old and in need of replacement, according to city officials. The new modular homes produced through this partnership would be healthy, allow residents to build wealth, are energy efficient, and will be permanently affordable to extremely low-, low-, moderate-, and middle-income households, city officials added.

The purpose of the proposed factory is to produce much needed affordable housing for local residents and workers while providing workforce training for Boulder Valley students.

The Modular Factory will be a simple, metal building with 31,375 square feet. The inside of the building will consist of an assembly line with nine stations. Each station will focus on a section of the home. That includes floor framing, wall setting, roof setting, electrical work, plumbing, mud-tape/texture/paint/sheathing, base trim/door hang/roofing/siding, trim/cabinets/facia, and appliances/finish/clean). All construction materials will be stored along the periphery of the building and rolling scaffolding will be placed strategically to provide ease of worker access.

The proposed factory would rely primarily on volunteer labor, as done at traditional Habitat construction sites, and therefore the goal is to build 12 to 15 homes per year with the option to increase capacity in the future.

If this goes through, home building would be regulated to assigned hours during the day and noise would be managed.

Modular homes built would then go to the Ponderosa site in North Boulder.


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