Prefab (short for "prefabricated") construction is not a new trend but rather a globally growing trend. In the United States, prefab construction is just starting to get traction and takes up only 5% of newly built homes. In other countries, however, prefab construction is getting more popular. 20% of new house constructions in Germany are prefab. Japan comes next with a little under 20%. In the lead are Scandinavian countries with prefab construction reaching up to 84% of their newly constructed detached homes. The severe housing shortage is gradually being met with through the use of prefab construction.
The low rate for prefab housing in the United States could be attributed to the misinformation and image associated with prefab construction. Most of the time, when people are people are offered the option for prefab, immediately, what comes to their mind is modular construction or double-wides or trailers. The concept is not entirely wrong. However, modular and double-wides are just two types of prefab construction. There are other options that can fit any client's requirement.
Nevertheless, prefab construction seems to be breaking the surface for the United States as there is a noticeably lower number of skilled construction labor. Even students learning building trades dropped in numbers. This makes prefab construction a viable option as quality will not be compromised by a shortage of workers.
Another good reason is the time advantage. Prefab construction will take less time to complete. People tend to lean towards faster results.
Sustainability is also easily achieved through prefab construction. Machinery and computers made for prefab construction are equipped to deliver materials with less wastage and more efficient building components, especially for cuts that make up walls, windows, and other elements.
Some of the many different types of prefab construction include modular construction, panelized, Structural Insulated Panels, and Kit houses.
Modular construction is said to be the most complete among the types of prefab housing. This method entails modules that are made in a factory and are delivered to the project site via flat-bed trucks. The modules, such as walls, are lifted and set into position by cranes.
Another popular type of prefab construction is the Panelized type where all exterior walls are to be installed on site, much like a puzzle.
Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) are panels that have two oriented strand boards (OSB). These are fused together with insulation sandwiched in its center. These panels are energy efficient and are perfect for open spaces as it requires fewer walls for its interiors.
A Kit House is, as it sounds, a house that can be assembled on site. All components are made in a factory, numbered, shipped off, and finally, assembled.