Clayton Delivers Homes to Island by Barge

Norbert and Ted standing in front of their Clayton Homes on a barge at the dock

When two friends, Norbert Chandler and Ted Franks, wanted to build identical homes on their piece of land on a historic island, Clayton was there to help. Learn how Clayton helped deliver their homes by barge.

Clayton is making the dream of homeownership a reality for many across the nation, and that includes delivering homes to a quaint island. When Norbert Chandler bought a few acres of land on Daufuskie Island — a small sea island tucked between Hilton Head and Savannah in South Carolina — more than 40 years ago when he was a new college graduate, his main purpose was to build a home he could retire in one day.

"I was just going to build a house for myself, but a lot of people wanted to build with me," said Norbert. "But my wife said, out of all the people you know, the only person I want as a neighbor is your good friend Ted." And Ted Franks agreed immediately.

From there, both Norbert and Ted went on the quest to find the perfect homes for their perfect piece of land. Norbert did a lot of research on who to work with and what home model to buy. After many hours of researching and online shopping, Norbert decided to go with Clayton to build their two homes. But there was one problem: The only way to gain access to the island is by ferry, so delivering the homes by truck wasn’t an option.


How Clayton Delivered Homes on a Small Island

When Norbert and Ted initially went to their local Clayton home center, Clayton Homes of Hinesville, Project Coordinator Stefanie Franklin and General Manager Pam Wolfort were faced with the challenge of how they were going to deliver the homes.

"There is not a bridge that goes to Daufuskie Island," said Pam. "Everything is by barge or boat. I didn’t even know where to begin. There were a lot of little details, and we had to make sure we were all under the same understanding with the contracts."

Norbert’s and Ted’s matching Clayton homes on their piece of land.

After many phone calls, texts and emails with Norbert and Ted, and much dedication, Pam and her team were able to figure out the logistics and finalize contracts for delivering the homes. On top of that, she had to work with the Clayton facility in Richfield to ensure they met housing codes for the island, which is a historic district on the National Register of Historic places. Since the property was what’s called “raw land,” without any site improvements, zoning only allowed modular homes to be built. From there, the Richfield building facility worked with a structural engineer to make sure all codes were met for the two new homes, including wind zone 3 requirements.

Norbert enjoying time with his family in his kitchen.

All of them worked together to create homes that fit perfectly with Ted and Norbert’s slice of heaven. While they both went with the exact same Clayton home model, 6'6" tall Norbert added a few customizations. He worked with the home center to raise the countertops, kitchen island and showerhead in his primary suite.

"Pam and Stefanie had an invested emotional interest to actually make this thing happen on Daufuskie," said Ted. "I couldn’t be happier with the entire experience. It was professional, but it was also personal."

Delivering the homes by barge was an exact science, from fitting both homes on the barge to scheduling the transport. Clayton worked with Delta Transport Management to drive the boats the homes were on onto the barge and deliver the two homes by water, then get them through the town and down the small, narrow road onto Ted and Norbert's land.

A Clayton truck delivering a home through a narrow island road.

"It was beyond description actually," said Ted. "Not only to see the homes on the barge, but them taking it off the barge, driving (the homes) through a very, very narrow dirt road back here. Making the corners on the property to get it here was incredible."

"It was like a parade going through town," said Pam. "Everybody was excited."

Norbert and Ted sitting on golf carts on the road in front of their houses

Daufuskie Island: The Perfect Place to Call Home

Daufuskie Island is the southernmost inhabited island in South Carolina near both Hilton Head and Savannah. You won’t see many cars — everyone drives golf carts or rides bikes to get around. When you look around, you’ll also notice the abundance of oyster shells, the beautiful sunsets, historic buildings and a vibrant art scene.

Ted petting a friendly deer on Daufuskie Island

"I feel like when you’re here, you go back 40 years in time," said Ted. "It’s quiet, there’s wildlife all over the place, it’s really rural. It’s just a peaceful place to be."

"Daufuskie Island is a place we call Oyster Republic," said Norbert. "It gets its name because we had a hammock on Tybee Island where I lived, and a group of us would do oysters, have picnics, drink a beer and just relax by this hammock. When we decided to build this place on Daufuskie, we thought, you know what, we oughta make it the Daufuskie Oyster Republic. Oyster Republic was a dream, a goal and it was nice it was able to be accomplished."

Stefanie, Norbert, Ted and Pam holding a red Oyster Republic flag in front of the delivered Clayton homes.

It took good communication, teamwork and persistence for Clayton to help make Norbert’s and Ted’s dreams come true. And even through the challenges, Clayton was able to make it happen.

"It’s the support we have from my managers, from corporate and from the manufacturing side — everybody was supportive enough to help us," said Pam. "It’s these opportunities we get, and that’s why I love working for Clayton."

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