Are Prefab Homes All They’re Cracked Up To Be?

By   December 24, 2016

Prefab homes are showing up everywhere these days. Many people think that this is the answer for having modern architecture and conveniences to the masses. The Claim to Greatness

While there are many claims prefab home can provide modern architecture to the masses, not everyone shares that enthusiasm.  Some of the claims that prefab homes are the way are:

  1. Affordability
  2. Less Waste
  3. Less Time
  4. More “Green”

With that list being made, some points to be considered and determine fact or fiction are:

Affordability: This is the number one reason many decide to go with prefab homes. It is also the easiest to prove a myth. Those who decide prefab homes are the way to go find that after weeks and months of research, they can’t afford them after all.

While prefab manufacturers and re-sellers claim that prefab homes are cheaper, there are reasons to dispel those claims:

  • Facility Overhead – Prefab homes are manufactured in buildings that have a support staff in addition to those who build them. There are costs associated with these facilities like equipment, utilities and more. A site built home doesn’t have facility expenses.
  • Company Profit – Manufacturers of prefab homes make as much profit as a general contractor does on site built homes, sometimes more.
  • Fees – The additional fees of prefab homes can run as high as $10K per house. You have the cost of cranes, delivery fees, and set-up fees. So, the further away the site where the prefab homes are destined, those costs can increase. There are also architect and reseller fees.

Waste: prefabricated homes are built in a factory, thus the claim of less waste created. They set aside the scrap and reuse it. What the public doesn’t get told is that they use as much as 30% more raw materials than site-built homes due to transportation logistics.

Time: Most prefabricated homes manufacturers claim the savings are significant due to the construction process is faster site-built homes. Often those who buy a prefab home find that it can take months building and months afterward before it is live-in ready.

Green: Doing anything “green” is hot these days, including in prefab homes too. Their green claim starts with less waste and better insulation than site-built homes.  The fact is the majority of manufacturers of prefab homes still use loose, bat insulation which tends to fall out as the modules are transported.

In Closing

This isn’t to say it isn’t worth the effort and time to check into prefabricated homes for your next residence. But take the time to research and study various manufacturers and ask questions, a lot of questions.