What does “Prefab Home” mean to you?
You’re probably thinking about a handful of sections coming on a series of 40-ft trucks, crane-lifted into place and matched up against the other sections to become what looks like a completed house in a few hours. Yes, these prefab modular homes often come with siding panels already installed on the exterior walls, waterproofing and shingles on the roofs, and cabinets and countertops nice and neat in your future kitchen. There is maybe 15% of construction to be done on the site to finish off the areas along the seams, but for what your neighbors can tell, your house showed up in one day!
There are several great companies in California offering prefab modular homes. Most will offer some design and engineering services to help customize your home. Some have their own manufacturing facility; others will partner with another company to manufacture the modules. Many will help coordinate a local general contractor (GC) to prepare the foundation, coordinate necessary local permits, and finish off the home during or after the installation. Here is an example of a factory we visited in Northern California.
These homes will run about the same price as custom homes, so if you are building them in an area that has high construction costs then this is an option to investigate. However, if your site is hard to get to with a large truck and crane, then you may run into some problems. Never worry though, because modular home companies will help you to evaluate everything including the logistics of how to get the modules from the plant to your site.
On the other hand, if you are building in an area that has low cost of construction for stick-built homes, then you may find that you don’t find a financial benefit. You may still want to go modular though if you are looking for drastically reduced on-site construction time to get into your home sooner.
For alternatives to modular homes that are pre-assembled in the factory, you may explore panelized homes. Often these are design and manufactured with the MEP embedded into their wall system. We’ll cover these in another post.
Are you thinking about rebuilding your existing home or getting a new home, and wondering about prefab modular vs stick-built?