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Frequently asked questions

Financing

Do you offer financing solutions for your products?

Steelblox does not offer direct lending. However, we can connect you with various lending institutions that offer multiple types of financing programs. Check with your Sales Assistant for more information.

What types of loans are available for your products?

Steelblox Homes are financed using a "Construction Loan". A construction loan is typically a short-term loan used to pay for the cost of building your Steelblox home.

It may be offered for a set term (usually around a year) to allow us time to build your home. At the end of the construction process, when the house is done, you will need to get a new loan to pay off the construction loan. This is sometimes called the “end loan” or "takeout loan".

Essentially, this means you must refinance at the end of the term and enter into a brand new loan of your choosing (such as a fixed-rate 30-year mortgage) that is a more conventional financing option for your newly completed Steelblox modular house.

Can I Finance an Accessory Dwelling Unit?

Yes. ADU's are additions to your existing home. There are several options for financing:

  1. Home Equity Line of Credit. Use any home equity you have built up to finance your ADU addition.
  2. Cash Out Refinance. Refinance your mortgage and pull out the cash needed to pay for the ADU.
  3. Personal Loans or Credit Cards. Apply for a personal loan or credit card
  4. Title I Home Improvement Loan. Apply for an FHA Title I Home Improvement Loan. The maximum amount available here is $25,000, but it requires no equity in your home. Any HUD approved lender can help you with this process.
Do Steelblox homes appraise for less than a regular home?

No. A Steelblox home or commercial structure will go up or down in value just like any traditional stick-built structure. Of course this is completely dependent on market conditions.

Permits, Fees, and Entitlement

How much does a permit cost?

Permit costs are determined by each local governing authority. Generally this information can be found on your local City's website.

What other fees and permits are required?

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

Soft costs vary by project. If in California, you should budget $20 - $100k based on the characteristics and location of your land. The work that typically needs to be done in order to receive a building permit for the project can include:

  • Feasibility study Site survey
  • Geotechnical soils analysis
  • Architectural design
  • Structural engineering
  • Mechanical, Electrical & Plumbing engineering
  • Permit coordination
  • Utility connection fees
  • Permit and impact fees

Local fees associated with obtaining a building permit will vary greatly depending on jurisdiction and are determined during the feasibility process. Steelblox helps you with this process and can do this for you or with you.

Site Costs, which can be 30% to 100% percent of the modular construction costs, are largely dependent on your soils report, slope of your property and access to the site. These costs typically include:

  • Site prep work, including excavation
  • Utilities
  • Foundation
  • 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 for you to bid our project?

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

Are modular fees the same as traditional construction?

No. Because our Factory Built Modular Construction Program is administered by the State in most cases versus your local municipality where your home will be built, we use third party agencies to approve your "Construction Documents", and to inspect the factory built portion of your home.

This process saves time and money, as the agencies are dedicated to your project and possibly a few others, versus having to handle all building permits for the entire city or county where you are building.

This is a key advantage to the modular construction process.

Building Materials & Process

How does modular compare to an onsite, stick build?

Building modularly is faster than any site build producing a similar product type. A realistic time frame for a Steelblox, from start to finish:

  • Planning and Permitting - 2-4 months
  • Site Construction - 3-6 months (happens consecutively with factory production)
  • Factory Production of your Structure - 2-4 months (happens consecutively with site construction)
  • Delivery, install and finish work - 1-2 weeks

Modular Factory building removes much red tape engrained in traditional building; 90% of onsite inspections become unnecessary, and the manufacturing process is scheduled from start to finish.

Modular Factory building 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. Our Quality Control program is inspected routinely by third party experts, to make sure each structure we produce meets the stated standard.

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

Modular Construction is more efficient. Waste is dramatically reduced, the noise impact on the community is drastically reduced and parking and traffic impact is of course lessened by eliminating daily crews at the site during the building construction process.

Why build a home in a factory?

Regardless of wind, rain, snow, heat and other elemental factors that can cause delay in the building process of site-built structures, Steelblox modular structures are built on schedule in an indoor, climate-controlled facility.

Building in such an environment also guarantees precision and efficiency. It’s more efficient to assemble in a controlled factory environment than onsite. Additionally, 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. Steelblox is extending this modern tradition to include smart technology that is optimized for the way we live and work today, while maintaining scalability for what technology brings tomorrow.

Where do you build?

We install our structures nearly anywhere in North America, but our production facility is based in Thousand Oaks, CA. It's actually right across the street from our office. Visit us and take a tour!

What does the term "building envelope" mean?

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.

Our Engineers design 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 cladding.

What is panelization

A panelized building system incorporates construction techniques that use advanced technology, quality materials and a controlled work environment to build energy-efficient homes in less time.

In other words, it's a manufacturing process to build with standardized materials versus onsite custom construction, largely dependent on artisan talents and skill-sets.

How are the utilities connected

Utilities (electric, water, sewer/septic & sometimes solar) are connected the same as they would be in a stick built structure. There are lots of variables to choose from, and are often dictated by your intended use of the structure, but there is a key advantage when building modular. MEP Engineering is required on all our structures, which means we have our engineers calculate the most efficient energy systems on every project, and back that up with a detailed report, which becomes part of your "construction documents". This ensures we are meeting the minimum energy conservation requirements, and that we positive our units meet "Net Zero" when desired.

We discuss all of this with you during the Schematic Design phase of your project.

Can I choose my own appliances/finishes

Yes. While our architects and designers utilize our design concepts in pre-designed models, clients who choose custom designs are welcome to choose their own finishes, materials, and appliances.

And while are pre-designed models offer limited choices, there are several options available for each unit, and we typically find these meet most requirements.

What do we mean by "volumetric prefabrication"?

Steelblox 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.

What are the different foundation types recommended?

Steelblox 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.While there are several different types of foundations that we would recommend, based on your site and soil conditions, in general our engineers suggest 1 of 3 types of foundation systems:

  1. Slab on grade: Slab-on-grade or floating slab foundations are a structural engineering practice whereby the concrete slab that is to serve as the foundation for the structure is formed from a mold set into the ground. The concrete is then placed into the mold, leaving no space between the ground and the structure.
  2. Perimeter stem wall or "Raised Foundation": A raised foundation typically consists of a foundation stem wall and footing supporting the exterior walls of the structure, with the middle portion supported on posts and piers.
  3. Helical Pile: Screw piles, sometimes referred to as screw anchors, screw-piles,helical piles, and helical anchors are a steel screw-in piling and ground anchoring system used for building deep foundations. Screw piles are manufactured using varying sizes of tubular hollow sections for the pile or anchors shaft.

All of these options are recommendations, our engineers will check with the local jurisdiction to make sure the structure meets local requirements.

Do you only build with shipping container modules?

We build using several modular construction methodologies, including SIP panel construction and light weight structural steel framing modules. We choose the best approach depending on your budget and design goals.

We like Steel shipping containers, because of their inherent strength and transportability. The walls are made from 14 gauge, 0.078 inch corrugated sheet steel panels that are welded to the main structure. The top and bottom side rails and end frames are 7 gauge tubular steel. The steel used to build modern shipping/cargo containers is a corrosive resistant high-strength low-alloy steel called "Cor-ten Steel".

But Shipping Containers are base building material like any other, and are subject to the same structural engineering standards of other methods. In some cases they simply do not make sense financially or aesthetically to achieve the best result.

What We Offer

What sizes and building types do you offer?

There is no limit to the size of the residential or commercial structures we offer. We do have pre-designed models for each our building types:

Accessory Dwelling Units (Granny flats or Guest Houses): These units range in size from 320 sq ft studio, up to a 1200 sq ft 2 bed 2 bath, single story home.
Modular Homes: Our models range in size from 1280 sq ft 2 bed 2 bath, up to 3600 sq ft 4 bed 3 bath 2 story home.
Custom Structures: There is no size limitation on a custom structure, other than the land use restrictions in your local zoning.
Commercial Modular (Office, Retail & Hospitality): We have 4 Modular Office models that range in size from 160 sq ft up to 640 sq ft. Retail and Hospitality units are typically customized per client request, but we do however have many examples of prior to work to help with design concept.

Do you offer solar?

Yes we do. On December 5th 2018, California officially mandated all new homes built beginning Jan 1, 2020 going forward, are required to have solar.

Steelblox has embraced the initiative, and is an early adopter of the practice. All Steelblox homes are available with Solar and Photovoltaic Systems that are either "grid connected" or stand alone for those in need of "off-grid" solutions.

What is included in a standard delivery?

We dislike surprises and have a suspicion you do too. And there is no stage in a project that can offer more unplanned conditions than the delivery and install of your structure.

Delivery is a critical path element of our offering. With factory built structures at the core of our building method, all projects will have some level delivery and install coordination. Delivery costs will be included in the initial proposal to build and install your structure.

Our project managers as part of the project due diligence, will coordinate site inspections to make sure we fully understand the complexity of your specific situation. Once properly assessed we include a detailed deliver and install plan as part of our overall project schedule.

What is included in a Steelblox modular?

Steelblox’s modular factory built structures are completely finished products. Projects may vary in terms of how much can be completed in our factory, versus site completed components. These vary on a case by case basis, but in general 90% of construction is completed in our facilities.

Our pre-designed models are available with furniture packages, but are not a mandatory part of the purchase.

Steelblox total pricing includes all construction, transportation, setting, architecture drawings, structural & MEP engineering, and state building permits.

Our Specifications Fact Sheet gives you an organized view of all the details.

Do I need to find my own contractor?

Steelblox is a licensed General Contractor, and can complete all necessary sitework. We have nearly 20 professional carpenters on staff, with skill sets that range across the spectrum of specialty construction disciplines. We've built or remodeled over a thousand homes and commercial structures over the last 30 years, and we rely heavily on that experience to perfect your project.

That said, we do often work with regional General Contractors to coordinate the completion of sitework, and/or specialty work our clients often need.

Our goal is to coordinate the best construction team possible to complete the project on time, on budget, and to the incredibly high standard our clients expect and we demand of ourselves.

Will Steelblox revise a plan or do a custom plan for me?

Yes. Our team of architects and engineers is dedicated to crafting solutions for your project. Many Steelblox clients start with one of our detailed plans and modify it to fit their requirements.

Often our clients are in need of an entirely new design, and we encourage and support those initiatives. We do however point out that while we can tailor any of our models or facilitate a custom design by clients and their architects/designers, if they are not familiar with modular design and construction methods, costs can be dramatically increased when adopting those plans to meet our specification.

For information on custom design services please contact a Steelblox representative.

How complete is the home when it's delivered?

Steelblox modular structures are about 90% complete when delivered. It’s largely a matter of attaching the structure to the foundation, connecting utilities and completing our comprehensive set-up process.

The Steelblox factory built panelized system includes precision pre-assembled wall sections, pre-cut framing components and proprietary architectural hardware fabricated in our facilities and are shipped to the site for final assembly when required.

We complete as much as possible in our facility, as this is how we best control quality and cost related to the project.

What warranties do Steelblox homes come with?

Steelblox residential homes currently come with a Manufacturer's Limited Warranty and 2-10 HBW structural warranties (1 year workmanship, 2 year systems, 10 year structural).

The 1-year workmanship warranty includes site work, masonry, mechanical, electrical components, finishes, carpentry, thermal and moisture protection, cabinets and vanities, doors and windows, and foundation and concrete.

The 2-year systems include mechanical (plumbing, duct work and waste piping), and electrical system (wiring).

The 10-year structural warranty includes load bearing walls and partitions, columns, footings and foundations systems, beams and girders, floor framing, roof framing systems).

Characteristics and Benefits

Are they mobile? Can I transport them?

While our building modules were made to be easily transported, they are not conducive to placing on a trailer and moving around each weekend as some of the “tiny homes” you see on TV. Those are made on trailers with normal wood construction.

Our structures are "permanently" attached to the foundation system, just as a site built structure would be. This is essential to lending requirements, so the structure is not considered "mobile".

However, these structures are made to be transported. So this does not mean that you could not move it to a new location should you have the need. This would require considerable coordination with steelblox or another expert with proper credentials to relocate the structure.

Please consider your warranty and lending requirements prior to making this decision.

What can a Steelblox be used for?

Our Steelblox Modular Construction can be used for most building types. Popular uses include:

  • Affordable Housing
  • Education Structures
  • Single Family Housing
  • Multi Family Housing
  • Workforce Housing
  • Commercial & Office
  • Hospitality
  • Popup and Permanent Retail
Is building a modular home less expensive?

You can expect to build for 20% - 35% less than it costs to build a structure on site in California. As you move outside the state into areas with much lower labor costs, than those available in California, the savings will vary greatly, and can often be more expensive to build than site built stick framed structures.

What you can count on is our in plant construction costs being the same. The variables are always associated to the complexity of the site construction and install process. And while the price may not be a savings initially, our process virtually eliminates the need for the number 1 cause of budget increases; "change orders". Because the manufacturing process by nature calls for extremely detailed planning upfront, this concept mitigates that potential budget increase.


Building a structure on site, to the same level of quality and specification as a Steelblox, would be nearly impossible, and for developers focused on opportunity cost, faster production increases the opportunity to realize projected ROI's.

What are the benefits of a modular home?

Modular is a process, not a product. Using a modular process to complete your structure is a better way to control cost, schedule and quality. Steelblox structures are meticulously planned by our expert team of architectural designers, interior designers and engineers.

Steelblox is comprised of experts in the fields of home building, engineering, modular manufacturing, technology and design.

Our expertise is in utilizing eco-forward building materials to create a structure with the standardized features necessary to deliver a smarter, greener, safer, more cost efficient, highly styled finished product.

We achieve this largely by eliminating the risk components (labor, materials and weather) site built construction typically presents.

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

Steelblox structures are built to the same codes as a traditionally built structures, except we greatly exceed the code minimums.

Our structures sit on permanent foundations adhering to IRC (site-build code). Each is engineered to meet and/or exceed local requirements.

And because our structures must withstand the rigors of transportation on a truck prior to instal, they require even greater structural integrity than a stick-built structure.

Are Steelblox homes sustainable?

Steelblox uses building materials that enhance the overall health of the environment. Our products are built to the building codes of the future, with a specific focus on passive design standards and achieving a new zero or greater result.

Passive houses and buildings are extremely comfortable in all seasons. That's because there are no drafts, temperature variance is extremely narrow (even near doors and windows), and active, balanced ventilation makes for superb indoor air quality.

Our buildings are super airtight

Passive buildings do require an extremely airtight building envelope. Combined with super-insulation, this approach dramatically reduces temperature variation, which also prevents condensation and mold issues. The constant, low-level ventilation also helps prevent moisture problems in addition to maintaining excellent air quality.

Our building envelope allows Steelblox structures to be 3 to 4 times more energy efficient than a standard structure. The goal throughout the design and material selection process is to integrate as many sustainable products throughout the structure as budget allows.

Are Steelblox homes smart?

Steelblox incorporates the latest available technology into our building and design process. Wi-Fi is incorporated throughout our structures, and our design staff is highly focused on delivering leading edge solutions.

The Steelblox technology platform leverages products from leading brands such as Nest, Sonos, Next, Netgear and Orbi to deliver a seamless automation platform. Using the Nest suite of products, our structures can even monitor your indoor air quality, and sense moisture and temperature changes inside the walls.

A Steelblox structure is as smart as today's' technology allows us to be, while remaining adaptable enough to continue growing with emerging technology and trends that benefit your future.