New Neighbors

Manufactured Home Installed Next Door, September 2017

When Pam and I made Westwood Knoll our home in 2011, to the north, across the street, was an empty wooded lot that has since been subdivided into three of the last home sites in Ithaca. This summer, the corner lot was razed of all its trees, the lovely mature cherry, sycamore, ash, maple reduced to stumps to be cut up and carted away. There was a positive in that the lot was overgrown and unsightly, but every spring the upper reaches were masses of blooms and young green leaves.

In a heavy rain on September 5th, 2017 the two parts, call them “modules”, were delivered, and then sat until September 7th to be assembled in one day. The process itself was interesting to witness and, while being otherwise occupied, I came out now and then to document the progress.

Here are my photographs. What do you think? Please leave comments.

The Foundation
The foundation installation took a week to construct. It started with, literally, blocks of styrofoam held together with plastic and assembled by hand, like a child’s block set. There is an 8 inch gap in between filled with concrete. There was NO rebar used. bolts were inserted for attaching the modules.
How Module Two  was Hauled
Module Two was delivered on wheels and moved into position by this semi.
Module Two, the house next door
Module Two will eventually face the opposite direction. That will be the rear door. This is our swimming pool, I use garden hoses to siphon excess rainwater.
Construction Worker??
Most of the workers were dressed like this, casually, no protection for feet or head. We were concerned with this. No one was injured this day, as far as we know.
Another Construction Worker
The worker is standing on a board on which the crane wheels will rest.
Crane Boom End and Hooks
Crane Boom End with hooks in transport configuration. These are attached to the modules for positioning over and lowering onto the foundation.
A supervisor
This fellow arrived to take pictures from that smart phone.
Tracked Loader
A versatile tracked loader used throughout the foundation construction and module installation.
Worker and Hooks
A worker prepares the hooks for use. No head protection was a concern to us.
Support Blocks
Yellow blocks of metal used to support the crane.. A railing of Module One is above the truck, to left.
Hooks Prepared for Use
The red hook is ready.
Hooks ready to go.
The hooks hang free, ready to use.
Module One
This is where Module One was dumped on the side of the road on September 5th, two days before installation.
Module One and Construction Worker
We are looking here over the edge of our patio and landscaped yard to the site of module one, pre-installation, a worker approaching.
Module Two
The first step was to extricate module two from the mud and haul it up the street. A construction worker foreground, the boom of crane beyond.
Positioning Module Two
The semi backed Module Two into position, the crane boom and hooks loom.
The Company Responsible
The workers were considerate of our lawn. There was minimal damage. The modules installed this day looks nothing like this image.
Module Two Attached and Ready
From here Module Two will be lifted onto the foundation.
Workers Prepare Foundation.
Workers prepare foundation to receive Module Two while the unit is readied.
Module Two Lifted.
I see only the black hook is in use.
Another View of Module Two
Another View of Module Two with worker. That is the bottom of our driveway.
Module One with Construction Materials
Module One was delivered with construction materials inside.
Module One with Carrier and workers.
The porch and entry door of Module One with worker and rope. The worker needs to negotiate the carrier.
Pulling Module One Around
A 180 degree turn orients Module One to Module Two. The porch overhangs the foundation.

Positioning module one over foundation.

Worker Stands in Module Two
A worker observes from the interior of Module Two. Here is a closer view of the wire harness.

Final positioning of the module to form a whole structure.

The roof panels are here lifted to a peak. The shingles and such in place for installation. These are the materials delivered inside Module One.

Update: since this post was first published September 2017 the original owners moved to the southern USA after selling the property at an inflated price to a young Cornell professor.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

32 thoughts on “New Neighbors

  1. So sad to lose so many trees. We grew up living on the top of a mountain that was yet uninhabited, except for a few homes. Our lot had trees in the front, but not in the back. There was farmland behind our house so it was probably razed much earlier. I would hate to lose even one tree. They lend such beauty and shade. Sadly though, I guess a home like this needs a lot of room to move in, so they probably did not have much of an option.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, it is the cheapest way to build a house….the neighbors also have a new home the was built from the ground up around the specimen trees on property. The entire neighborhood was sad to witness the entire process. Much of the land around here is farm land, forested land is revealed to be former farmland by the old stone walls. Here and there, one land useless for farming, are groves of mature forest. Were the views good from the mountain?


  2. We live in a manufactured home, but nothing that you have documented happened here! Two semi trucks designed specially to position the two modules, backed them into the site They managed to maneuver down the street onto our property – avoiding overhanging limbs and only had to trim a couple of branches (asking permission of landowners). On our place no trees were removed – they expertly backed into the cleared area. We do have cement runners and metal anchors to strap the two modules to. The frame with which the models come on – are transported on and are built on, stay and are strapped to the anchors. I have never heard of using a crane in these parts (we live in Oklahoma). And I cannot believe with a working crane in operation that no one was wearing hard hats! Interesting post… and an eye opener.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ithaca is similar to the namesake in some ways, surrounded by hills for example. We are on west hill, with Cornell University across the street and the building site is not level. Without measuring or thinking about it very long, the west side is at least 50 feet higher than the east. A crane was the only way to do it. Good to hear about the trees and it is interesting the frame is part of the installation.


      1. That very well could be. I live in the woods so they had to work around some trees as well as the steep hill that I live on so I can’t imagine that it was easy. That said -I am no expert and I live in Ohio where perhaps there are simply different laws and procedures. I don’t know but it is intriguing!


  3. Too bad about the wonderful trees! hopefull you’ll get good neighbours and they will plant lots of nice shrubs and landscaping. It always amazes me to see what little men and their ingenuity and machinery can do.

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  4. Sure is an ‘efficient’ way to build a house It will be interesting to find out how much the house settles over the coming years.
    Your flowers looked beautiful.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. The neighbors built a conventional home and workers were there all summer. This house, across the street, took one day though it will be years, it seems, before the property is back in order. The street is full of clayey mud that tracking everywhere….that is not suppose to happen, that is, it needs to be cleaned up. Yet to meet the new neighbors. There are reports it will be next week. Difficult to believe. Will see.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Architecture and construction methods are always fascinating – enjoyed the series.
    People are constantly looking for ways to cut costs yet have a nice house by having it done factory style like a car.
    Given out location where we have to watch for for tornadoes, wind, and hurricanes this type of home might not be wise long term. (Florida/Gulf Coast is not really a good spot for trailer homes, but people seem to think they are OK and will hold up – Irma proved wrong) Although some of these modulars are solidly constructed in the building warehouses with all the strapping, specific bails/;screws/bolts required for it to hold up under extremes and then bolted from top to bottom on site. Your location may have different environmental building concerns depending on if that’s bedrock or mud hillside.
    Looks like a lovely area!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You summed it up, Phil. When the parts were delivered in the pouring rain, while sitting there for two days, we looked at them and said “trailer.” After that day, I looked at the finished result with the peaked roof and convinced myself, “no too shabby.” The next day our daughter in law came by with the grandchildren and, in our driveway, loudly proclaimed, “that is so trailer.” Well, time will tell. The road is a muddy message and tracking all over, a hazard to people walking and bicyclists. We called “American Homes” and got the run around. They can’t see it from their front door. Thanks for the thoughtful response. ~Mike

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