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Anyone Built a PreFab House?

Old 04-01-2011, 07:39 PM
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Default Anyone Built a PreFab House?

Bought a lot and am considering a PreFab home. High end-not the ones in trailer parks. Looking for 1st hand experience and reviews.

Many thanks
Old 04-01-2011, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by theosea View Post
Bought a lot and am considering a PreFab home. High end-not the ones in trailer parks. Looking for 1st hand experience and reviews.

Many thanks

Fire away........... did a whole sub-division of them.... glad to help if I can.
Old 04-01-2011, 08:01 PM
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Great. We have a 1 acre flat lot that has been graded and some of the utilities are on site. Here are a few questions.

What type did you purchase/build?

Were the costs less/same/more than a similar quality stick built home?

Did the finish product mirror the manufacturers claims of efficiency, build time, quality etc?

Would you do it again?
Old 04-01-2011, 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by theosea View Post
Great. We have a 1 acre flat lot that has been graded and some of the utilities are on site. Here are a few questions.

What type did you purchase/build?

Were the costs less/same/more than a similar quality stick built home?

Did the finish product mirror the manufacturers claims of efficiency, build time, quality etc?

Would you do it again?
Noticed after first post that your on the left coast, Modular companies are regional due to the costs associated with the transportation. I'm in MA and used a company in PA ( 8 hrs away ) That said......... the roofs are framed with trusses 23" O/C we upgraded the roof from OSB to 5/8" plywood and the floors to 3/4 T&G plywood. I would also upgrade the windows, most offer an option to an Andersen.

At the time the cost after adding in the transportation was about 11% less than comparable stick build. I really liked the quality of the frame, they are 2 X 6 and built in a jig. They are built from the inside ...out... which enables them to do a super job on the insulation ie: foaming around electrical boxes etc. Important in the NE not sure about CA.
For my own home I would buy it without any flooring or interior trim, one area where I thought the quality was a little sub-par. Ours didn't have AC... not sure how they handle that if it's a two story home? They came standard with Electric Baseboard heat that we upgraded to Slantfin Baseboard and did the boilers on site. I'm sure your local companies would have better suggestions for the HVAC.... slab or full basement??

The turn around time from the factory for us was about three weeks, we were a good customer ( 90+ homes) and they took good care of us.

Overall we were very please with the manufacturer, you still need each class of sub to do the button up, but your basically just buying their labor for the most part.

Alot depends on your budget and how fancy you want your finishes...( Cabinets, tops, fixtures etc.) Hopefully I've answered some questions but your best to ask specific question directly to the Mfg's in your area. Good Luck with your project. PM me if you have any more basic questions.
Old 04-01-2011, 09:11 PM
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I think it's an impossible question to answer. The quality and reputation of one prefab to another will vary just like a stick built.

Theoretically, the prefab will have the better quality control. I think that the prefab has a bad rep for good reason, they tend to cut corners. At the same time, there are very reputable prefab companies. I think you'll have to do your homework locally.
Old 04-02-2011, 12:49 AM
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I looked into pre-fab houses about 7-8 yrs ago when we decided to put a house on our lot at the beach. I really liked the quality of construction. Built inside, out of the weather on jigs, and with 2x6 walls. Everything they made was automatically high wind rated because of the construction techniques they had to use (had to be built strong enough to be lifted by crane at a couple anchor points without flexing).

I originally looked into them to try and build for as little $ as possible. In my situation (house 11' high on pilings) the pre-fab was about the same price as site built/stick built by a local builder with 25 years experience building at the beach. We ended up with the local builder.
Old 04-02-2011, 02:55 AM
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I've had two prefabed homes, 1st was in the mid 70's and was a finished shell with the non bearing walls fabed but not installed. Hog Island trucked in the framing then erected to a closed exterior I finished the interior myself. I did find that the home was very well built and very close to perfect in plumb and square.. 2nd home was a rancher built in Delaware late in 1983 the home was trucked in set on the foundation by crane and then the three sections were wedded together. My only mistake was being talked into a heat pump what a disaster on the E Shore of Virginia.
Your key will be doing your research to find the right manufacturer in your area. If they are going to skrimp it's usually in the flooring and the roof structure. You also need to find a good GC to guide the project to a smooth completion. I strongly advise that you visit the build site every day work is being done to make sure everything is done to spec. Good luck in your search and if I was building a new house today I'd go prefab again.
Old 04-02-2011, 09:21 AM
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With labor costs down and fuel up, I gotta believe stick is a better option now.
Old 04-02-2011, 01:35 PM
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Thanks for all of the comments. I have tried to research online but there are not many reviews/opinions available. even in this economy, stick building here for what we want is $300/ft and the benefit of the prefab is not paying the higher labor costs associated with California. We have looked at Bluhomes, Marmol, Hive, Clever and all look high end online.
Old 04-02-2011, 03:31 PM
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My son has a very large pre-fab home here in CT and its real top quality (except for the site built deck). My first thought would have been that I am not sure you will find much if any cost savings. Then again , I don't think its anywhere near $300 a sq.ft. here though so it could be real cost savings for you.
Old 04-02-2011, 03:46 PM
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The modular homes have come a looong way in the last 20 years. A buddy of mine is selling the shit out of them in Bethesda, MD. (high dollar area). Really nice designs that make you say "Holy crap, thats a modular home?!"
Interior is drywalled only and they finish the inside off NICE, on site with lots of detail and the exterior is done at the factory in Hardi-Plank.
Old 04-02-2011, 05:52 PM
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One good thing about sectional prefabs is that they're done in a jig and all measure the same. No plus' or minus'.
Old 04-02-2011, 06:13 PM
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Just1more-what manufactuer is your buddy selling?
Old 04-03-2011, 05:41 AM
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Originally Posted by theosea View Post
Just1more-what manufactuer is your buddy selling?
Haven Homes. They only serve the east coast, though.

Last edited by Just1more; 04-03-2011 at 06:16 AM.
Old 04-03-2011, 05:50 AM
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Any reccomendations for prefab builder in NJ? Considering building 3BR 2.5 roughly 2200sf home.
Old 04-03-2011, 06:18 AM
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Originally Posted by JWALLS View Post
Any reccomendations for prefab builder in NJ? Considering building 3BR 2.5 roughly 2200sf home.
http://www.havenhomes.com/index.php
Old 04-03-2011, 06:22 AM
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We used AVIS ot of PA.
Old 04-04-2011, 08:29 AM
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Hopefully it's been addressed in the past few years, but my biggest concern was the fire hazard. Modular homes tend to have gaps (fire chases) for wire runs along with an overabundance of construction adhesive. There had been cases in the past where a relatively small fire ignited construction adhesive and raced between the first and second floor, destroying a house in record time.
Housing codes tend to get more and more stringent as time passes, so hopefully this isn't an issue any more, but it was still a valid risk when we were looking 10 years ago. It might be worth a little google-foo.

a quick search turned up this link:

http://www.myfoxboston.com/dpp/news/...-built-to-burn

Last edited by jobowker; 04-04-2011 at 08:30 AM. Reason: added a link
Old 04-04-2011, 11:50 AM
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When you say high end, do you mean you want a house that sits on a foundation and not just a slab? One where all the mechanicals are in the basement?

I have one on a foundation and as said above, floor systems seems to be where prefabs cut corners. If your area requires 2x6 walls, that is what they will be. The CHEAP ones have floor joises at 2x6. They also come with steel frames and tires just like a trailer house. You want one that rides on a flat bed.

Roof systems also vary. Some have the roof locked into place and other are "hinged". They ride down almost flat allowing the manufacture to wrap the roof for transport. Roofs with the pitch fixed are more difficult to cover and sometimes suffer damage to the shingles.

If I were to do this again, I would definitely want to finish my own interior: paint, trim and carpet.

One other thing, no matter if it is code or not, you would want to cover those air gaps where the sections join together. At the top and bottom.
Old 04-04-2011, 12:39 PM
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Theosea, where did you find a lot in San Diego thats an acre? been looking for a while. also looked at the prefab homes and have not found many out this way.

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