Despite prefab homes becoming an increasingly popular option for many people, there’s still a surprising amount of misinformation about what they are, how they’re built, and the many benefits they can bring. Prefab (or prefabricated) construction is simply the construction of a house (or building) using materials that were rendered in panels or parts. Think of these as building blocks in the Lego style that can be built in a much shorter period. Often the entire prefab is installed at the factory before being shipped ready for installation at the destination.
Many modular home manufacturers providers will sell fixed-dimensional packages, so you know exactly what you’ll get with a templated floorplan, allowing some interior modifications like flooring and fixtures while others will allow you to build your dream prefab house from scratch.
Because prefab refers to the construction method, not just a particular style, there are several styles of prefab homes.
- Manufactured homes– They are constructed entirely off-site; they are the homes you see riding on a double-wide truck down the highway. No construction is done on the site, and the quality tends to be lower than other types of homes, so most prefabricated companies are quick to distinguish themselves from such homes.
- Modular homes – However, modular homes require making off-site parts, and then moving the necessary components to a land plot for final installation. Typically, each modular home has all the basics, such as plumbing, electrical, doors, and closets — and you can usually attach several modules to create a bigger house.
And just to make things complicated, some manufacturers are going to combine the categories above. The benefits of going with a prefab home may not be immediately clear before you do some research. The most important points to consider are:
Shorter construction time: In most instances, it is possible to create a brand-new prefab house in a matter of weeks, whereas it takes 6-12 months for a conventional home. This refers to both on-site and off-site construction, so you won’t have to wait too long if you are in a rush to move in. This also means not having to endure a year – or more – from the endless coming and going of contractors from the site.
Predictability: From the very beginning of the project, you will know how much it will cost, and when it will be completed, making everything else around the build more comfortable to manage and organize. By contrast, traditional builds rarely meet the initial deadline, adding substantially to the costs.
Less stress: If you want to build it off-site, several prefab companies will provide you with a company that will do you the hard work. This comes at an extra cost but ensures high-quality construction and much less stress and worry. And if you build off-site, no delays will be caused by adverse weather conditions.
Where buying a prefab home once was thought to mean a decrease in price, this is no longer the case. Modern big or small modular homes offer more flexibility, fixed costs, and deadlines, and provide significant environmental benefits.