Preferred Prefab Homes
To some, the term prefabricated (or pre fab) means questionable quality. This isn't necessarily so. prefab home. The truth is that in some instances, prefabrication can even mean increased quality.
There really is nothing sinister or inferior about prefabrication. Here's how a Webster's Online dictionary defines it: "Prefabricate: 1. to fabricate (make) the parts of something at a factory so that construction consists mainly of assembling and uniting standardized parts." Simple enough, right? But, there's more to it.
In the World of HomeBuilding
Naturally, many products can be prefabricated. But, in the world of home building, prefabrication refers to building small or large parts of the home in a controlled factory environment to exacting standards on large assembly line-type "jigs" for the framing, and other systems for the rest of the construction.
Prefab homes are mostly thought of as modular homes but can refer to any home that is largely or partly built in a factory and delivered to the building site in sections, panels, modules, etc.
Is a Manufactured Home a Pre Fab Home?
If you go by the dictionary's definition you might assume that mobile (manufactured) homes are also prefab homes. They are not. We must go by common usage of the term to avoid misunderstanding. Manufactured homes are mobile homes with a fancier name. Prefab homes refer to quality "stick built" homes that follow the same exact codes and inspection procedures as if they were built completely on site, stick by stick.
This is not to denigrate manufactured homes but simply to understand the important differences and to explain the terminology. Manufactured is the same as mobile, not prefabricated.
Choose a prefab home to Reduce Costs and Building Time as an Owner Builder
Many home-owner builders choose prefabricated homes (kit homes, packaged homes, log homes, cedar home packages, panelization packages, etc.) for savings and convenience. Two goals that may or may not be realized.
Owner-builders usually want to have a direct hand in the management and sometimes the labor when building a home. Prefabrication can offer an advantage. There is usually a significant reduction in the on site labor and amount of decisions that need to be made. People using a General Contractor to build for them typically should not buy a prefab or kit home.
If using a prefab home is the only way you would consider being an owner builder, then yes, the opportunity to save money is definitely there. Learn all you can about your prefab home choices and cost, then strongly consider getting a General Contractor to quote you a price for the exact same home if he or she built it for you instead. This will give you a great comparison.
What to do Next
If you're serious about building, take these steps now:
1. Google the terms (like prefab homes, kit homes etc.) first
2. Contact the most interesting companies you find and ask questions about service, delivery charges, house plans, customer service etc.
3. Get and check references once you get more serious with a company
4. Hire a home building coach once you decide to build
5. Have a builder quote his cost to build the same home for you for comparison
Finally, never stop informing yourself. The more you know the better questions you'll ask and the more you'll demand and recognize accurate answers.
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