The traditional idea of prefabricated construction or architecture in the modern sector still comes with a level of stigma. To this day, there is an outdated industry perception eqauting prefab homes to poor design and low standards.
Improvements to prefab developments, however, have led to a welcome and timely shift in attitude.
In an industry that is both economically conscious – even as Canada overcomes the worst effects of the GFC – and environmentally aware, it makes sense that prefabrication is enjoying newfound popularity, particularly when it comes to housing development.
With prefabricated homes being approximately five to 10 per cent less expensive than traditional housing development due to factors such as a lack of on-site waste and heavy construction, and vastly more environmentally friendly, the prevalence of prefab in the Canadian market is growing.
Developed for the most part in a factory or offsite setting, prefabricated structures are incredibly economical due to the fact that overall efficiencies are generally increased. By developing a building to exact scale offsite, excess waste is largely eliminated, and on-site installation times are decreased immensely due to the simplicity of construction. These factors combine to allow for dramatic cost cutting.
Waste is vastly eliminated throughout the development of prefabricated homes as the homes are built, packed and constructed on a tight, perfectionist scale. The low on-site environmental impacts are also notable as the need for pollution-creating heavy machinery is greatly reduced throughout the construction phase.
In many cases, 100 per cent natural and low VOC materials are used throughout, allowing for the development of a sustainable building that has an incredibly high Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ).
Furthermore, the specifically tailored structural pieces come together in an almost airtight manner, allowing for much greater ease in naturally controlling interior climates, dramatically cutting the costs of heating and cooling the buildings.
While the aesthetics of prefab homes have traditionally been seen as off-putting, they are getting a dramatic overhaul. Modular options mean that housing can be tailored to a specific look and feel, and the use of a variety of materials gives clients almost as many aesthetic options as traditional housing.
The old, preconceived notions of prefabricated building are just that: old. The evolution of the prefab home has meant that a number of the original issues that have seen the practice vilified have been ironed out, heralding in a new and transformed aesthetic and building process that offers savings in terms of both money and environmental impact.