Prefabricated houses: advantages and disadvantages | Part 1 |

Nowadays there are many firms with glossy catalogues on prefab houses boasting that once they are bought they are ready to move in and prices are more affordable than those of a conventional home. How true are these statements?


Well I can advance however the cheapest are too simple in design and there are still difficulties to find banks prepared to offer mortgages for their purchase. However it is fair to say that they have some advantages against the conventional type.



It's psychological association with houses in the Second World War.


To live in a manufactured home was not considered until recently an ideal choice and there was a widespread belief that they were too standardized and little resistant. This idea is more psychological in the case of the Brits because they tend to associate these houses with those in the Second World War (those who are old enough to remember). However, they are more affordable than a conventional home and the constant improvement of materials and designs have led to an increasing numbers of people prepare to acquire a modular homes. Despite these advantages, which are listed below, they also have some drawbacks: very basic designs for the cheapest houses and the struggle to find financing together with the drawback on insufficient legislation in Spain are the main negative aspects of these houses.


Prefabs, a rising market.

Manufactured homes are beginning to occupy an important place in the Spanish housing market, according to various companies in the sector, although construction is still far behind countries like Germany, USA or Canada. Manufactured in factories from standardized panels are then sent to their final location for a final assembly. There are many types and are made in all kinds of materials, but in Spain are mainly built in steel or concrete.


The price of the cheapest range from 45,000 to 79,000 Euros, while a more elaborate design and  if different materials are selected together with the works that are needed to connect to the existing infrastructure on site will increase prices somewhat. What are its main advantages besides cost and a less desirable aspect?


Advantages of prefabricated houses

  • They are cheaper that is first and foremost. The basic prefabricated houses are cheaper than most conventional. So, checking prices of various companies in the sector in Spain, one can speak of a sum of around 70,000 Euros for 90 square meters prices which can be explained due to a fairly precise control on its construction process.
  • They are much faster to be erected. Having selected the design of the house chosen in advance, you just have to install and assemble the pieces. It saves time. Although some work (foundation, water supplies, light and sanitation) should be made as in other home, but all in all the house is finished much earlier.
  • A manufactured home is cleaner work. Within a week, the housing can be mounted on a building site. In the case of a conventional, it takes months and also is all done from inception on site (material, personnel, etc.), a less clean process for sure.
  • They are less harmful to the environment. Not everyone agrees with this statement (me included), but most experts do point out that are more environmentally friendly. By building within an industrial process, the use of materials and energy is optimized, in addition to minimizing waste. The types of materials used are mostly recyclable (not always though).
  • A manufactured home produces less paperwork. These homes, again according to some experts, have the character of a mobile home and can be mounted in areas where building is not allowed. (This statement I will refute it most strongly in my next article).  

However it is a fact that a real advantage of modular homes is that, being a series models, part of the documentation is the same and it is repeated from one model to another. So, being standardized the paperwork can be harmonized somewhat.

  • The materials. The quality of materials used is increasing and also its variety. In Spain concrete and steel are employed rather than wood used in the UK. 

In my next article we will analyse the disadvantages of these types of homes.


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