Apr 07 , 2022
The Pros and Cons of Prefab Homes
Before deciding to construct your home piece by piece on-site or off-site, you must consider the pros and cons of prefab homes.
What is a Prefab Home?
Prefab homes or prefabricated homes are houses premade at a factory and assembled on a home lot. Prefab homes range from complete factory-made homes commonly known as manufactured homes to larger modules (modular homes) or smaller panels (kit and panelized homes) to containers pitched and completed at the owner’s property.
Prefab homes differ from stick-built homes in the construction procedure and as such, they do have their pros and cons.
The Pros of Prefab Homes
Prefab homes come with many benefits, among them a shorter and considerably cheaper construction period.
Shorter Construction Period
Regardless of the type of prefab home, the construction period usually takes a maximum of 4 months or 5-6 months if you run into a few hitches.
A large part of the construction is done on site where modules or panels are manufactured in bulk and all that remains is transportation and assembling on site.
Unlike in stick-built constructions where the procedure is step by step and one process has to be completed before others can start, prefab elements can be made at the same time. On-site work like building the foundation can go on while factory work also happens.
There are also very few delays caused by weather and other unforeseen circumstances.
Lower Constructions Costs
Among the common advantages of prefabricated homes is the lower construction costs they need. As a matter of fact, prefab homes are estimated to be cheaper by 10-35% of normal construction. This can mainly be attributed to the fact that manufacturers enjoy economies of scale which are passed on to the consumer when they purchase raw materials in bulk. They are able to ask for discounts and spend less on transportation compared to if they were to buy smaller items from time to time.
There is a reduction in labor required on-site there are only a few people working to offload prefab components and do the fixing. This reduces the amount of money spent on paying laborers.
Frequent transportation costs are reduced since prefab homes take a short time to be completed.
Because the construction time is short, home owners pay less home loan interests
Prefab Homes Are Eco-Friendly
A large percentage of the non-industrial waste is caused by construction waste. This is a problem seldom experienced with prefab homes. The material used to make prefab homes is precisely measured and cut resulting in minimal material waste. Excess material that remains is also kept in the factory to be reused. This in turn causes less environmental damage in terms of reducing the need to source more lumber from the trees and releasing additional waste into the environment.
The construction process of prefab homes poses very little risk of common accidents associated with construction. There is little storage done on site if any, and the construction time is too short to create a window for theft and vandalism that occurs on many construction sites.
Prefab buildings are manufactured in controlled environments and follow strict standards and building codes. Additionally, all craftsmen and technicians are well trained to handle the production process. This results in buildings that are of higher standards and quality. The buildings are also safer and built to withstand inclement weather, fire and earth movements
Prefabs Attract Good Warranties
Because prefab homes are built for quality, they attract good warranties on both structural components and mechanical systems, fittings and fixtures.
Little Damage by Mold and Mildew
Stick-built construction can go on for over 12 months. When construction material is stored on-site for such a long time, they are bound to suck in moisture from the environment and encourage the growth of mold and mildew. These problems not only compromise the quality of materials but also cause health risks to the people handling them. This problem is completely eliminated by prefab homes as the components are only brought to the site when they are needed hence eliminating the need for any on-site storage.
Prefab homes offer a variety of designs and floor plans that can also be customized to suit specific functional and style requirements. There are many choices for both exterior and interior finishing starting from ordinary fittings to more luxurious fixtures.
Prefab homes are created in central locations eliminating the need for contractors and site workers to travel long hours to and from the site.
The Cons of Prefab Homes
Local Zoning Restriction
You need to check the zoning requirements of the local area you intend to site your prefab home. Not all areas allow for prefab homes and even if the council allowed, you might run into problems with the neighbors. Certain neighborhoods especially the upscale kinds may have a problem with a kit or container home nearby.
Prefabs have to be transported to the site but you would need certain permissions to transport the homes. The vertical height is also limited to only two levels. If you need to transport a large prefab home, you might need to do more than one trip from the factory to the site.
Manufactured, modular, and container homes limit the design to more modern and futuristic designs. They offer a box-like design but with few alterations. Pre-cut homes may be made into little cozy cabinets which may not be everybody’s cup of tea.
You can get mortgages on any prefab homes but most manufacturers prefer upfront payments. You may have to pay a large sum of the money before the project begins and get a full mortgage cover after the home is completed.
Despite the growing popularity of prefab homes, there are still a lot of negative stigmas associated with prefab homes. They are viewed as less superior dwellings compared to traditional houses. For this reason, you might not be able to recoup much from selling your prefab home.
Finding a Qualified Prefab Contractor
Another major problem is finding qualified contractors to assemble a prefab home. Most building contractors specialize in traditional stick-built constructions and only recently did people start investing in knowledge about prefab home production and installation
Unlike on-site builds where you can know all the construction costs involved in the total cost of the home at the beginning of the construction, there are a lot of hidden costs associated with prefab homes. Costs like connection to council water and sewage connections, the cost of land and other costs may not be disclosed to you at the very beginning.
Setting up Utilities
Setting up utilities may be difficult as most manufacturers offer you the shell of a home and you have to find a way of installing the utilities yourself.
All the above pros and cons of prefab homes are worth considering and affect the decision to invest in prefab homes. It is also important to consider individual prefab homes and their advantages and disadvantages because each has different attributes from the other. We hope this article makes your decision-making process easier.