The FAB of Prefab

get the word on prefabricated abodes

The name says it all. Prefabricated homes are, simply put, fab. This design form puts the mod in modular homes. It’s the futuristic face of building—off-site in a factory-esque setting.

There are many terms for this style of construction method from factory-built, system-built, prefabricated or modular. Although an important distinction is they are not manufactured homes, which are not placed on permanent foundations. Prefab homes are perched on set foundations and stand as permanently built environments. In fact, it’s likely hard to distinguish a prefab home with a traditional build.

Get ready to disentangle this green form of construction using ready-made parts.

// history, first //

Although prefab is all the buzz, especially in this era of green building, there’s a long history of kit homes.

In today’s world, Sear’s is a dying storefront. Succumbing to the millennium’s demand for online shopping and the rejection of brick and mortar stores, Sears is slowly closing its doors one storefront at a time. Interestingly enough, this name brand company once reigned supreme during the catalog days. In fact, Sears can be contributed to selling some of the first prefabricated, kit homes known as Sears Modern Homes.

Reported by Sears, 70,000 mail order, kit houses were sold between 1908 and 1940. These homes sold were in a myriad of architectural styles and sizes. They were also technological feats. Premade in mills and workshops across the country, Sears foreshadowed the prefab/modular home movements decades before the now-rising trend.

Sears Modern Homes are even peppered around Denver. One of the most iconic and recognizable styles of Sear’s home is the adored bungalow. Many of which are still standing in Congress Park, Park Hill and Hilltop.

// modular homes today //

These days, particularly in Denver’s LoHi and Highlands, contemporary modular homes are becoming an integral part of the architectural fabric of these neighborhoods.

Single-family homes are seen as contemporary creations, and new developments are also being produced in the factory. For example, the Maison on Tennyson is comprised of 3 floors of 24 modular residences from studios to two bedrooms. This new development illustrates how prefab architecture works for both remote sites and dense urban spaces. High-end design is fused with high-performing sustainability and refined, green-influenced finishes (maple flooring, paperstone countertops, LED lighting) to create the ultimate model of form and function.

Amazon has even jumped on the prefab trend. Earlier this year, Amazon went viral by selling prefab, container homes. The tiny dwellings nearly sold out, and like all Amazon products, were shipped to customers front doors. Although ironically enough, as discussed above, Sears was the pioneer of this movement.   

// so, what is the fab behind prefabs //

Prefabricated homes start as sections that are built in a climate-controlled manufacturing area. The finalized parts are then transported to the desired building site and then assembled.

There are many benefits from sustainability to cost to customization that make this method of construction so appealing. Such as,

More Affordable

  • Prefab homes are often more affordable compared to site-built dwellings.

Time Efficient

  • There’s a shorter build time, which saves money on the overall project construction. They can be completed in a matter of a few weeks.

Sustainable Building

  • Prefab homes are more energy-efficient + environmentally friendly. They are considered a form of green building.

More Control

  • Since they’re built indoors, on-site delays due to weather is a rarity.

Equal Value

  • Prefab homes appraise the same as on-site built abodes.

Custom Design

  • Prefab homes are easily customizable in style, size and design,

Multiple Uses

  • Prefab form is used for residential, developments and commercial applications.

High Precision

  • Factory form means a high degree of precision and less construction waste.