Prefab homes? Yes, that is a term, and it’s a shorter way of saying ‘prefabricated’ homes, which can also be called ‘modular’ homes. These refer to houses whose parts are designed off-site in standard sections before being transported to the main site where they can be assembled and installed to make… yes, you guessed it, a full-blown structure that can work just like any other regular residential home! And it’s a concept that’s taking the world by storm (just speak to any professional in the industry, like an Architect or Interior Designer, if you don’t believe us).
Care to find out more about prefab houses? Here at homify we aim to please…
Affordability is one of the main words when talking about the benefits and popularity of prefab structures. Prefab housing began booming back in the USA during California’s gold-rush days when society needed quick and cheap living solutions. Since it requires fewer labourers and less time to complete (modular housing can cost anywhere from 10-50% less than traditionally built structures), this architectural evolution is currently seeing a rise in popularity due to lack of affordable living in big cities, the modern trend to live minimalist lifestyles, etc.
Fast construction is the other major plus. We all know how unpredictable the building industry can be with its rising costs, human errors, etc. With pre-made pieces that are all ready to be assembled, the only leftover need is to hook up your prefab home to utilities, lessening unexpected problems and offering a more stable process and predictable outcome for your money.
Just remember that the speed at which prefab houses can be constructed does differ from manufacturer to manufacturer – while some can complete their designs in a matter of days, others require a few weeks.
As prefab refers to the construction process (as opposed to a single style), there exists various types of prefab homes.
Manufactured homes (also known as ‘mobile’ homes) are constructed completely off-site before being delivered to the owner’s property. No construction happens at the site, and the quality of these builds tends to be lower than other types of homes (which is why a lot of prefab companies are quick to distinguish their products as totally different from mobile homes).
The same with prefabs, modular homes involve making the different components off-site and then transporting all of them to the right property for final installation. Each of the modules already has all the basics such as plumbing, electrical, doors and closets.
Another great benefit of modular homes is that multiple modules can usually be connected to make up a larger house or structure.
But wait, there’s more! Panelised homes are designed from whole panels or walls that are then transferred to the building site. As these require more interior finishing work, the on-site build time is longer.
Kit homes are available in just about any shape or size. The individual pieces are made and cut in a factory, then shipped to the building site along with instructions on how to assemble the different pieces (sort of like an elaborate bookshelf from Ikea).
And to really complicate matters, some manufacturers will even combine some of the above categories to create a specific design!
Generally, prefab construction works out cheaper than stick-built homes by about 10 – 25%. This is because mass-produced materials on an assembly line lessen the costs because factories buy supplies in bulk.
Labour cost is also cut due to there not being any need to send Carpenters, Plumbers, and Electricians to the individual construction sites. Plus, faster build time equals lower costs!
But just be aware that the “sticker price” of a prefab home isn’t usually the only amount you need to pay. First, you have to pay for the land / property on which you want to build the house. And you’ll also have to account for the soil testing, site surveys, permits, utility hook-ups, etc. Depending on the condition of your building site, preparing it for construction can be either very minor or quite expensive. And keep in mind that prefab packages also usually don’t include the foundation.
Other costs that might (depending on your specific project) become part of your final bill include landscaping, driveways, garages, and paying a local contractor / builder to come out and finish your home.
No, and that’s another reason for their popularity: prefab homes have no design limitations. You can basically create any style of prefab home that you need, whether you’re a sucker for super modern designs or wish to enjoy a more Scandinavian / Mediterranean / rustic kind of home.
Enhancing the potential of prefab houses, you can also add any style of window or architectural detail that you wish. Which means with the right research, location and finishes, your prefab dream home can look just as striking (and be just as practical and functional) as a traditionally built house.
Always plan ahead, like these 5 questions to ask your architect before a home extension.