Modern Prefab Homes

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Submitted by evolusd on July 2, 2009 - 8:07am

Have any of you Piggs ever researched modern prefab homes? I've been scouring the web recently and it seems like the best resources at the moment are Michelle Kaufman and Any other sites you have seen with good info?

My wife and I have long discussed moving to a small(er) town where we could buy some land to build a functional home to our specs. This prefab thing looks like it could be very cool and cost effective.

Any thoughts would be appreciated!

Submitted by UCGal on July 2, 2009 - 8:35am.

The designs of pre-manufactured homes have come a long way since the old "doublewide".

If you're planning on living in a seismically active area (CA) - then the added advantage is pre-fab homes are designed to withstand pretty extreme vibration during shipping - so they weather moderate earthquakes better than most built in place homes. The steel framing is part of the reason.

We seriously looked at prefab when we were first looking at our companion unit... but there wasn't anything of the right scale with the ADA features we needed.

Submitted by Nor-LA-SD-guy on July 2, 2009 - 9:14am.

From my limited experience (maybe I look at the older homes the newer ones could be a whole lot better)

But from my experience, the prefab homes are very difficult to repair when they get old, and they lose value very quickly after about 10 years (but this is just an amateur talking so do your own DD).

Most of the ones I have seen are basically scrap after 20 to 30 years.

Submitted by Zeitgeist on July 2, 2009 - 10:33am.

I understand the windows will become tweaked in an earth quake and they are not repairable. In a high fire threat zone, a steel building would make sense though.

Submitted by AK on July 2, 2009 - 1:14pm.

My understanding is that quite a few manufacturers build modular wood-framed houses. I think garages are usually built on site to match.

Submitted by UCGal on July 2, 2009 - 3:06pm.

My comments earlier were specific to the pre-fab homes in the link of the OP. These are NOT wood framed manufactured home from what I can tell. They are also pretty stunning.

(But they are NOT cheap. The price/sf is pretty darn high)

For construction info this is a more specific link on the site:

Submitted by patientrenter on July 2, 2009 - 3:23pm.

I like Michelle's work, but I thought she'd decided to call it quits.

Submitted by AN on July 2, 2009 - 3:25pm.

I wonder why these pre-fab homes are so expensive. I thought the whole point of pre-fab is because it's more cost effective.

Submitted by evolusd on July 2, 2009 - 6:37pm.

My researching started after watching a show called 'Beyond the Box' on Planet Green that showcases homes that are built with alternative building materials and are cheap and 'green'. They make it seem like an affordable thing to do ($150/sf) and some of the houses are awesome.

Thanks for the feedback.

Submitted by MRoberts72 on March 22, 2010 - 7:22am.

I've seen their prefab offerings as well, but they are definitely out of reach to most. LABhaus is going to start offering their modern prefab/modular line in California this spring. Take a look at the ecoVilla model. It's pricing around $399k for the East Coast, with a very high finish package.

Submitted by zzz on March 22, 2010 - 8:46am.

If you don't read Dwell, I'd highly suggest starting. A lot of misnomers about prefab homes.

Submitted by jameswenn on March 23, 2010 - 5:12pm.

I saw a couple of episodes of This Old House where they put up a prefab timber frame. The savings come from the short construction time, especially on-site, but it was quality construction, better than any tract home in SoCal, so i'm sure the construction materials didn't make it cheap. Also only the walls and roof were constructed offsite, the finishing all had to be done onsite.

Submitted by davelj on March 23, 2010 - 8:55pm.

How about Clayton Homes' ihouse:

Cheap and looks pretty cool. I don't know if I'd buy one in a place with an extreme climate (very hot or cold), but for a temperate spot I'd consider it, personally.

Submitted by miramesamath on March 23, 2010 - 10:15pm.

Second the suggestion to check out Dwell magazine. They run a lot of issues on prefab, and I think the April issue (out now), is mostly focused on a couple of prefab example houses.

Submitted by briansd1 on March 24, 2010 - 10:15am.

I love modern houses. The ihouse and Dwell houses in general are great.

Too bad they are too expensive and difficult to get permitted.

Submitted by JC on July 2, 2019 - 6:04pm.

What makes these homes difficult to get permitted?

Seems like some decent options:

This one *seems* like it can go on an existing foundation and seems pretty affordable:

Am I missing something obvious?

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