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— 05 May, 2023

Not So Cheap And Nasty: Design-Led Prefab Construction

Unlike our friends over in Europe, Americans have been slow to warm to prefab, with prefab structures representing a measly 3% of housing in the US. Approximately 84% of houses in Sweden have prefabricated components, so what’s the hold up here? Unfortunately, there’s a widely held belief that prefab is ‘cheap and nasty.’ We’re here to set the record straight and explain why prefab construction can deliver design and quality that’s on par with (if not superior to) traditional construction methods.

How Did Prefab Get This Reputation?

For many Americans, the word prefab conjures up images of boxy post-war homes that lack personality. We admit that these homes aren’t particularly inspiring, but they’re not an accurate reflection of prefab solutions in the market today. 

The Current State Of Prefab

Current prefab construction is a far cry from its humble post-war roots. While these structures were once designed out of necessity to address a housing shortage, their quality and design elements are now on par with stick-built homes. Although traditional construction still leads the way in terms of customization, prefab construction companies are offering more options for personalization than ever before.

Prefab Quality

Off-site construction offers superior construction quality, with specialist equipment that can manufacture components with precision. This level of quality can’t be matched by traditional construction methods, especially when you consider other factors on-site, such as weather. 

Poor weather conditions can not only damage building materials but also make it difficult for construction workers to do their best work. Read our article about how prefab improves quality in construction to learn more. 

Prefab Customization 

If you’ve always dreamt of building a custom-designed home, there’s no need to shy away from prefab. Modular home company Turkel Design works with you to create a custom design that will meet your family’s unique needs. 

Who could forget the customization options available with a prefab Plungie? From interior tiling to landscaping, there are so many ways to tailor your Plungie’s design to its surroundings. 

Prefab Inclusions You Didn’t Know About

When we attended the 2023 International Builders’ Show, we were blown away by the level of home inclusions now available in prefab homes. Here are three features that you may not have expected to see in a prefab home.

1. High Ceilings 

Low ceilings are a thing of the past, with many prefab homes now featuring generous, 9ft ceilings. The Connect 10 model from Connect Homes goes above and beyond this, with 20ft ceilings in its expansive family living room. 

2. Ducted Air Conditioning 

Ducted air conditioning is not something you want to live without, and thanks to advancements in prefab technology, you won’t have to. The Mammoth Park Model from Genesis Homes is just one prefab home that includes this luxurious feature. 

3. Outdoor Entertaining Spaces

Outdoor living is essential to American homes, so it’s fitting that prefab building systems have incorporated this into their design. Rock Reach House by Blue Sky Building Systems is a small home with a big focus on the outdoors — not surprising given the home floats over a seasonal stream in the Yucca Valley, California. The home includes a spacious back deck where vacationers can watch the world (and the stream) go by. 

Prefab In Practice 

There are so many exciting home-building projects that demonstrate the potential of prefab. We’ve picked two of our favorites so you can see just how prefab delivers top-notch design. 

Calistoga Custom — Method Homes

The Calistoga Custom home from Method Homes is about as impressive as modular gets. Located in the mountains between Sonoma and Napa, this home offers luxurious indoor and outdoor wine-country living. 

The wood-on-wood palette blends the home’s interior and exterior spaces while creating a connection to the surrounding woods. All-in-all, it would be near impossible to differentiate this project from a custom, stick-built home.  

Marfa — Ma Modular

Comprised of two merged modules and a separate guesthouse, the Marfa model by Ma Modular is perfect for entertaining. Guests can gather in the large common living space or enjoy some quiet time in one of the three bedrooms. With ample deck space and a shared courtyard, Marfa makes the most of the great outdoors.

We know that anyone would be proud to call these prefab properties home, and rightly so. Prefab construction has come so far since its post-war heyday — it’s now possible to experience the efficiencies of prefab construction and achieve cutting-edge design. We can’t wait to see where prefab designs go next.

Plungie USA


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