Prefabricated houses are houses that are built in sections in a building facility then moved to a home site and assembled at the homeowner’s home site. In the U.S, manufactured homes must meet federal codes administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which assures strength and durability, fire resistance, energy efficiency and quality, and built to the same state, local and/or regional codes as site-built homes. In other words, instead of having a crew of workers in site for months raising the home and fitting it with plumbing and electricity, a prefab home comes already pre-built in parts, making it easier and cheaper to construct and assemble. These savings in labor costs make prefab homes generally less expensive than comparable stick-built homes, depending on the level of fittings and customization.
Because these homes are made in standard sections that can be easily shipped and assembled, they are comprised of components (e.g. panels), modules (modular homes) or transportable sections (manufactured homes), making them highly personalized and customized to reflect the personal style of the homeowner. However, a lot of people assume that they are the same as mobile homes. In fact, prefabricated homes go into a foundation like any other home and can be high-quality, modern and elegant houses. They are typically treated like a regular house, for financing, appraisal and construction purposes. Some of their different construction types include:
Prefab Panel Building
Panel building is accomplished by laying down the floor and then lowering each section of wall in to place one at a time. This type of construction can be useful in building houses that don’t work neatly as modules, or commercial buildings with wide open spaces with high ceilings and it can be just as structurally sound as other types of prefabricated building.
Prefab Modular Building
With modular building, the house is constructed in separate box-like modules which are then secured together to form a whole. Since the modules have to be transported on the backs of flat-bed trucks over highways, they generally have to be no longer than the truck and no wider than 16’. This traditionally meant that every room in the house had to be less than 16’ wide, but with new technology, old barriers in modular building are breaking down and houses are becoming infinitely customizable.
While built in a factory like prefabs, there is no construction that happens on site. Manufactured homes are constructed on a steel frame, shipped on its own wheels, and then laid on a crawl space, or a slab of concrete. In some cases, the wheels that got the house to the build site aren’t even removed, just covered up with side skirting.
Clayton Homes | What is a Prefabricated Home?
Smart Asset | "The Pros and Cons of Prefab Homes"
Modular Homeowners | Do You Know The Difference Between Prefab And Manufactured Homes?