Fremont, CA: There is a reason for factories. Actually, there is a slew of reasons. Ask any automaker, and they'll rattle off a few examples. Prebuilt homes, also known as prefabricated, prefab, or modular homes, are homes that are primarily constructed in a factory before being shipped to the final assembly location. The attention to detail as well as efficiency that comes from years of refining a work process in the factory results in a number of environmental and economic benefits. Here are seven advantages of prefabricated homes.
The construction and demolition industry generates one-quarter of all non-industrial waste in the US, an enormous figure given the total amount of waste produced by the country. Prebuilt home builders develop higher efficiency in their production and can more accurately gauge how much material is required for a job as manufacturing processes evolve over time, resulting in less waste. Because materials are stored in the factory, leftovers are more likely to be saved and reused. Materials are also less likely to be stolen, vandalized, or damaged, which is more common on construction sites and less common in factories.
However, because they must be reinforced for delivery to the site, prebuilt homes demand more material in their construction than non-prebuilt homes.
The amount of extra depends on how efficient the prebuilt home builder is, but it typically ranges from 10 percent to 30 percent. When all of the factors that cause a material loss on a job site are considered—theft, vandalism, water damage, rust, or simply being thrown away—and considering that the extra materials used for reinforcement make the home more durable, it makes more sense for the extra materials to be attached to the home rather than lying around on a job site.
Good for the Environment
Because prebuilt homes are built in a central location before being assembled on-site, workers can live close to the factory and commute a short distance instead of having to travel to a potentially distant site every day, resulting in lower CO2 emissions. Prebuilt homes are also better for the environment because they use fewer materials as well as disturb the site less than conventional construction.
Because construction materials are exposed to rain and snow, they can become contaminated with harmful environmental toxins such as mold, mildew, and rust. Though these toxins can still affect materials indoors, they are much less likely to do so.