Modern prefab homes have seen much advancement over the past few years. They are far more than the simple boxes that Sears sold through its catalog in the 40’s. There is a new generation of home buyer and architect that have championed a movement within the prefab industry, a movement based on spirit and imagination.
Out of this movement has come modern prefab housing that challenges all the preconceived notions of modular homes. What have emerged are beautiful and affordable homes that offer you the opportunity to customize them to your level of uniqueness.
The best definition for prefab house is; one that is built in one location and transported to another permanent location. However, there is not one single definition for type. Types include the more popular modular, manufactured or mobile, panelized or precut.
Aesthetic creativity and customization are demanded by the modern prefab customer. Recognizing this and fueled by advances in prefab building technology, manufacturers have begun experimenting. Some of the cutting edge homes are solarized floating homes, cliffhanger homes, sloping hillside homes, prefab igloos, and pod houses.
Each home is built in a factory ensuring precise measurements which facilitates a tightly sealed house. A tightly sealed house reduces energy consumption and saves the homeowner a lot of money every year. Most modern prefab houses meet or exceed the U.S. government’s Energy Star standard, which means they use at least 20% less energy than regular new homes.
Many modern customers are do-it-yourselfers. When it comes to owner input in the actual assembly of a prefab house, panelized or precut are the most DIY’er friendly.
A panelized prefab is like flat pack assemble it yourself furniture. Built at the factory on an assembly line, each panel has framing, insulation, drywall, and siding. Also included are tubes for running electrical wiring and plumbing for easy installation at the home-site. The panels are engineered for a precise fit. Once finished the panels are carefully stacked on flatbed trailers for transport to the home-site.
At the job site the floor panels are lifted with a crane and put into place on a permanent concrete foundation. After the floor is installed the walls are fitted and bolted together and attached to the floor. Then the ceiling and roof are lifted into place. Within a week or two the entire house is dry built built and ready for finishing.
Another style of prefab house that is DIY’er friendly is modular buildings. However, these type homes require a bit more knowledge.
Modular prefab homes are also built in a factory on an assembly line. They are built in complete functioning sections. After transport to the home-site the modules are lifted into place and affixed according to the manufacturer instructions. Except for the crane work any handyman should be able to do much of the assembly work.
Often a prefab home can be set up in 2-4 weeks. There is no need for specialized contractors for most panelized and modular homes. A handy homeowner and a few savvy friends can usually get the job done.