What Are Factory Built Homes?

C. Mitchell

Factory built homes are houses that are built in factories, then transported in near-complete pieces to a home site. They are assembled relatively quickly, usually in a matter of days or weeks. It typically costs significantly less to purchase a factory built home than it does to pay for new construction. Families that may not be able to afford traditional home ownership can often comfortably purchase a factory built home. Governments also invest in factory built homes to quickly provide housing and shelter in natural disaster areas.

Governments invest in factory built homes to quickly provide housing and shelter in natural disaster areas.
Governments invest in factory built homes to quickly provide housing and shelter in natural disaster areas.

Homeownership is a goal for many families, but the equity needed to purchase or build a home upfront can be a setback for many. Factory built homes typically offer a lower-cost alternative to traditional home building. They are constructed of prefabricated material, and are assembled in panels in factories. Walls, flooring, ceilings, and sometimes even fixtures are created in sections, then delivered by truck to the desired site.

Teams can assemble factory built homes in relatively little time, often only a day or two. Panels often snap or seal together with relative ease. For this reason, the homes are often also referred to as “panelized homes” or “pre-made homes.” They may also be called “prefab homes,” in reference to their prefabricated nature.

Factory built homes can be built on a single site by an individual purchaser, or can be set up across an entire development. Neighborhoods of factory built homes are popular in some parts of the United States, Canada, and Australia. Factory-built communities are often less expensive to buy into, but provide some of the benefits of houses in more traditional, hammer-and-nails built neighborhood.

Most national governments regulate the construction and overall safety standards of modular homes and buildings. In order to be sold to the general public, the houses must typically meet certain durability and sustainability standards. This both ensures the safety of citizens and the integrity of vendors.

Some factory built homes are designed to be more permanent than others. Those used to set up neighborhoods are typically permanent, and are meant to mimic more expensive homes. Temporary communities may also be able to benefit from modular homes, however. Factory built homes are often set up for temporary workers, particularly those involved in trades like mining or seasonal farming. Entire communities can be set up, then taken down and relocated as needed.

Factory built homes have a similar purpose in times of natural disaster or widespread emergency. Destruction caused by flooding, earthquakes, and major storm systems can destroy wide swaths of cities and towns. Although reconstruction may be planned at some point in the future, it is unlikely to happen fast enough to house all the people who have been displaced. In these circumstances, governments often purchase and sponsor the set-up of modular buildings in order to provide a stopgap for residents who may have nowhere else to go.

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