Learn how the prefabricated building industry is influencing home construction
Content Contributed by Clayton Homes
Due to modern technology and innovation, the entire home building industry is moving toward enhanced building processes to streamline how homes are built and find ways to add cost-savings for both builders and home buyers. Both the site built construction process and prefabricated home building process have their perks; however, site built companies are recognizing the benefits of some prefabricated processes and incorporating them into the site built construction process.
As site built construction and prefabricated building both try to build as efficiently as possible, high-tech innovations are coming into the entire home building industry. Check out just how prefabricated building is changing the site built process.
Are there any site built processes that came from prefabricated building?
There are several site built processes that have been inspired by the prefabricated industry. Some of these off-site construction processes include the panelized home building system as well as construction methods supported by robotics as it is the case at Blueprint Robotics®*. The company combines skilled labor and robotic CNC equipment to manufacture wall, floor, and roof elements.
With these systems, some site built companies are beginning to do some of their construction off-site, meaning that parts of the home are built indoors in a facility just like prefabricated homes. The parts of the home that are constructed off-site are then transported to the home site for on-site installation.
Panelized Home Building System
According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), a panelized home is a construction technique that uses advanced technology, quality materials and a controlled work environment to build wall panels and build a strong home in a shorter amount of time. There are many different types of panelized home building systems, but each starts by creating the necessary structural components of the home in a climate-controlled facility.1
There are many different types of panelized home building including:1
- Whole or House Open Wall Packages – packages of complete sets of exterior and interior wall panels, floor systems, decks and roof and floor trusses
- Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) – prefabricated and custom-designed panels of walls, roofs and floors that are made of a foam core and placed between structural skins
- Round and Geometric Structures – panelized home systems that offer a variety of shapes and panoramic views with enhanced wind resistance
- Post and Beam or Timber Frame – solid uprights posts and supporting horizontal beams that are tied together with truss systems to create the frame of the home
- Trusses and Structural Building Components – pre-built frames for roof, floor and ceiling systems that are built off-site to minimize the time of on-site construction
No matter which type or types of panelized construction are used to build a home, these systems share many different components. Three major elements of the home are delivered to the home site:
- Engineered floor system
- Interior & exterior walls
- Roof trusses
Benefits of panelized home systems include:
- Flexible designs
- Save time and money
- Quality Construction
Clayton manufactured and modular homes do not use a panelized home building system since our homes are built entirely indoors, other than on-site construction. However, some of our Clayton Properties Group™ builders, who build site built homes, do use panel systems on their homes.
Prefabricated Robotics Systems
Another building process that has recently surfaced and is bound to make an impact on the future of the industry are home construction robotics systems. These systems use flexible robotic tools to quickly and precisely build single or multi-family projects.
Robotics systems are aiding in the shortage for skilled laborers, and even making the prefabricated construction environment safer. Machines are used by workers to build parts of home more efficiently.
Robotics systems include robots such as wood cutting robotics, brick laying robotics and more! Companies such as Blueprint Robotics use robotics systems led by skilled workers to create custom-built closed wall frames that will be placed directly on to the foundation of a home site.
A custom-built wall frame includes2
- Exterior doors and windows
- In-wall rough in of mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems
- Exterior sheathing
The History of Prefabricated Building
Although the idea and some of the methods of prefabricated building have been developing through the decades, many experts believe the subprime mortgage crisis pushed the industry to really step up and help meet the need for affordable housing.3 Tom Hardiman, Modular Building Institute Executive Director, said “many skilled laborers left the construction industry and did not return.”3
Due to the lack of skilled laborers, the home building industry had to adapt to continue to build affordable homes to Americans. Therefore, prefabricated building saw a boost in success because of its streamlined process, which allows the home to be built more efficiently.
Benefits of Off-Site Construction Processes in Site Built Homes
There are numerous advantages to the prefabricated building process, as well as building parts of a home off-site for site built properties. Here are a few of those that can make a huge difference when it comes to building the home of your dreams:
- Strength and durability
- Pieces built in a controlled environment that helps ensure quality control
- Setup can be quicker and more efficient because the sections are already complete when they arrive at the home site for on-site completion
- Building materials can be bought in bulk, at a lower price, which can make the home more affordable
Future of the Industry
Both the prefabricated building industry and site built home industry have processes geared toward innovating the future. Both provide efficient, but quality building while also saving time and money.
Last year, the number of modular home shipments alone approached 15,000, which is 8% more than in 2016. Looking ahead, with about 80 prefab manufacturers in the U.S. and more than 200 building facilities, the future is looking bright for prefabricated building.4
As the entire home building industry continues to incorporate the most modern innovations to benefit home buyers, Clayton is also constantly researching new types of homes and building methods to bring the latest technologies and home designs to our customers
*“BLUEPRINT ROBOTICS” is a registered trademark of Blueprint Robotics, Inc.
1 Panelized Homes .PDF. NAHB Building Systems Councils.
2“How We Build.” Blueprint Robotics. Accessed March 19, 2018. http://www.blueprint-robotics.com/getting-started/.
3 Bunch, Julia. “The Rise of The Prefabricated Building.” Forbes. August 02, 2017. Accessed March 19, 2018. https://www.forbes.com/sites/bisnow/2017/08/02/the-rise-of-the-prefabricated-building/#24c4f6061dd5
4 Caulfield, John. “Is This Modular’s Moment?” Professional Builder. January 05, 2018. Accessed March 19, 2018. https://www.probuilder.com/modulars-moment