WHAT IS MODULAR & PREFAB HOME CONSTRUCTION?
Modular or prefabricated construction methods are techniques for home building where the large majority of work is done in a nearby factory and then transported to the property for assembly. While there are a ton of pros and cons to utilizing these building methods, the main benefit in terms of sustainability is the reduction of building material waste.
Construction and demolition is cause for more than 500 million tons of debris hitting landfills in this country each year. (EPA) Since modular construction is built in factories that reuse most of the same materials on each build, there is a significant reduction in scrap material.
Additionally, modular and prefab builds often reduce the impact on the property since there is less time on site which usually results in less heavy equipment disrupting the vegetation. However, these building methods do require transportation of the heavy panels or units and sometime require additional building material to strengthen them for the ride. So, it is unclear if there is a net reduction in the overall pollution caused.
HOW DOES IT EFFECT BUILDING COSTS?
It is often said that a modular home can reduce building costs by nearly 20%. While we have certainly seen cost savings from prefabricated construction techniques, our firm has yet to see savings to that extreme.
To maximize the cost savings from a modular or prefabricated build, it is important that our architects know early on that this is the intent. This way our architect can design the home with these construction methods in mind and maximize the efficiencies.
That being said, the two major perks that we see with modular construction is cost certainty and time savings. Since these factories have eliminated many of the uncertainty that comes with a standard build, they are able to provide a more accurate bid for building cost. Additionally, since there are fewer delays in the warehouse, including no bad weather, these builders are able to reduce their timelines and beat out most contractors who are developing on-site.