As I wrote in my post about 2013 building trends, prefabs and modular will gain more popularity. Saving money on construction is a big deal in this economy, and that is one benefit of a pre-fab or modular home. The other big one is that they are very energy-efficient these days, and builders and designers are using more earth-friendly materials.
Let’s first define the two.
A pre-fab is a kit. The parts are manufactured in a factory, shipped to the building site and assembled by a contractor.
A modular is the complete house built in a factory, trucked to the building site, and connected to the utilities.
By building in a factory, construction time is cut drastically. The factory is not subject to the weather, so workers can build every day. Speaking of workers, they have full time jobs. They go to one location instead of traveling from job site to job site, which cuts down on travel expense. Workers aren’t transient or day labor, either, so work hours are fulfilled, saving money and time for the company.
Prefab and modular housing: less cost, less waste
A factory can produce more than one home at a time. Materials can be bought in bulk, which is less expensive, and they are shipped to one location. This is a transportation savings for the company. Again, costs are cut. Those savings are passed on to the consumer.
There is less waste in a factory. Discarded materials can be reused. On a site, they are hauled away, and if you need a 2×4 or a small piece of plywood, you have to go get one. Having everything in one facility all at once is a more efficient use of materials.
There are no change orders or changes in the budget when a home is built off-site. It’s like any other manufacturing process. Here are the plans, here is what will be built, and here is what you (the customer) can expect. It’s a very predictable process.
Energy efficiency and pre-fab homes
Some companies will do the installation to make sure their product is put in place properly. This is truer of modular homes. Pre-fabs are kits, the parts of which are delivered to the site. A contractor is hired to figure out the puzzle and put the house together. Be sure to read the fine print concerning who is expected to do what, so you don’t end up paying more than you expect, like this couple in upstate NY.
Design, prefab, and modular homes
Designs are sleek and contemporary, which is in demand right now. Materials are eco-friendly, which homeowners also want. Lumber is sustainably harvested, insulation is above building code requirements, plumbing fixtures conserve water, renewable energy can be installed, windows are south-facing and energy efficient, and floor plans are open for easy heating and cooling. Many materials are recycled, finishes are low-VOC, and cabinets contain no formaldehyde.
Today’s modular and pre-fab homes sound like something I would build from scratch! In today’s fast paced lifestyle, people don’t want to take a year or more to design and build a house. Purchasing land and a modular or prefab cuts that time considerably. Think of it as a sound byte as compared to traditional building practices. This suits today’s society where we want it all in the next second or two.Here are a few modulars I (the wannabe architect, designer, space planner, builder) would personally consider buying:
Living Homes C6.2 (This is my fave.)
Want your own?
Be sure to check your building codes and zoning to see a pre-fab or modular is allowed. If you want a home like this, consider looking into a piece of land where they can be installed. Choose a floor plan that suits your current and future needs.
Find out how much customizing you can do, and be clear on your warranty. And like I mentioned before, find out who will install the home, and who is responsible for what. Crunch all your numbers before committing to anything. Do research and ask questions! That is the surest way to know exactly what you are getting. Then enjoy living in your modern home for the next few decades!