All You Need To Know About Prefab Homes
Prefabricated homes, or prefabs as they are popularly known, have already gained popularity in Europe, Canada and the United States, especially as they cost less and have shorter construction time than other traditional homes. Given their advantages, prefab homes can be a successful construction model in developing economies such as India.
At present, prefabricated homes are made using three modern construction techniques – panel built, modular and manufactured. These three terms are often used interchangeably, but there is a significant difference in their utility and construction process.
Panel built: In this construction technique wooden panels or precast concrete panels are built offsite in factories. If the panels are wooden, they are nailed together, while the concrete panels are assembled on to steel beams and then filled with concrete to impart strength.
Modular construction: This construction technique involves fabrication of buildings in modules. Living rooms, bathrooms, toilets, etc, are built in factories as independent components and later assembled on site, much like 'Lego' blocks.
Manufactured homes: The process of constructing manufactured homes requires an entire structure offsite. Once the home is complete, the final product is transported to the buyer. The offsite installation also includes plumbing, floor heaters or air-conditioners and electrical connections. Following its construction, the home undergoes a 'settling-in' period, during which the house is transported to the buyer. However, manufactured homes are not the most popular because of the likelihood of wear and tear while being transported.
Why prefab housing?
Though prefab housing may seem to be a modern innovation, these structures were first made in India during Akbar's rule in the 16th century. Here is why these structures can be viable for the Indian real estate market:
Shorter construction time: Prefabrication allows for a substantial improvement in construction time. A prefabricated house is likely to take half the time taken by usual construction. Since most of the parts are manufactured in factories, factors like weather do not delay the process. Besides, a building permit is not necessary until the house arrives on site. Thus, construction of your house will not be hindered by any legal discrepancies.
Energy efficient: There is a lot of wastage during onsite construction, thanks to weather conditions and human errors. But in a factory all the wasted materials can be recycled – since most of the process is computerised in prefabrication techniques, there is minimal human error. Construction in a controlled environment ensures better insulation, accurate measurements and connections, which reduce the overall energy consumption of the house. An enclosed workplace also allows better quality monitoring.
Monetarily inexpensive: Computerised construction processes allow customisation at affordable costs. Since these homes are more energy-efficient, the owner can save on electricity bills. Another problems faced in onsite construction is material theft. In this case, however, all materials required are made exclusively for your house, so chances of them disappearing is less.