Using Prefabrication In Housing

Summary | How the Strategy Works | Advantages and Issues | Sources | Case Study #1 ]

Advantages and issues

Advantages

The advantages of using prefabrication in housing are that:

  • prefabricated components speed up construction time, resulting in lower labour costs;
  • prefabrication allows for year-round construction;
  • work is not affected by weather delays (related to excessive cold, heat, rain, snow, etc.);
  • the mechanization used in prefabricated construction ensures precise conformity to building code standards and greater quality assurance;
  • there are less wasted materials than in site-built construction;
  • there is less theft of material/equipment (and less property damage due to vandalism);
  • materials are protected from exposure to the elements during construction;
  • worker safety and comfort level are higher than in site-built construction;
  • computerization of the production process permits a high degree of customization, at an affordable cost;
  • quality control and factory sealing and design can ensure high energy efficiency; and
  • cost savings through prefabrication can reduce the income required to qualify for a high ratio mortgage by up to one third compared to a conventionally built home of the same size.

Issues

The issues related to using prefabrication in housing are that:

  • many municipalities zone against manufactured housing because of earlier perceptions created by trailer parks;
  • concerns have been raised by local and regional governments with regard to whether the taxation paid by manufactured homes is sufficient to offset public costs such as schools;
  • the requirement to transport manufactured homes or modules to their intended site can mean that prefabrication potential may be limited for infill projects in inner city areas; and
  • increased production volume is required to ensure affordability through prefabrication.

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Canada

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