custom prefab home

When people are looking for sustainability, long-term cost savings, and beauty a custom prefab home is often the best way to go.

Custom prefab home building isn’t new. For generations now, there have been prefab home builders offering an alternative to the increased costs and time required for a stick-built home. Whether it was the

From the popular Sears Catalog Homes of the early to mid 20th century to the much-admired and coveted Usonian Automatic concrete homes of Frank Lloyd Wright, prefab homes have a long and rich history. Prefab building made serious gains in the 1970s as architects and builders dialled into the fact they could save building time and materials and labour costs if they took most of the building process into a factory.

The resurgence in demand and popularity of custom prefab homes should come as no surprise. Given the ever-increasing costs of housing and concerns around climate change and how to live more sustainably, prefab home building – assembling a dwelling from components produced entirely off-site – offers a very attractive home-building alternative.

1. What is a custom prefab home?

If you look at conventional residential home-building, you see the home built piece-by-piece – stick-by-stick – on the building site. This wood framing process is referred to as a stick build and is often used in large residential developments.

In contrast, prefab homes are built from components constructed first in a factory and then delivered to the building site where it is then assembled. Custom prefab home designers and manufacturers – yes, like us! – can claim longer-term cost savings, enhanced sustainability and a much shorter building time than traditional homes. And, the claims are spot-on!

To customize a prefab home, there are a variety of different finish packages and upgrades, as well as different layout configurations.

So, if you’re looking to build a new home and are reviewing the range of options available, consider how a custom prefab home might better meet your needs (and then some!). Let us answer a few common questions about building prefab:

2. Is there a choice of types and styles

As prefab refers to the building process, not necessarily a single or specific style of home, there are a variety of choices of home styles available. And, they’re beautiful!

Yes, when you think of prefab, you probably imagine a basic, boxy structure. And, in the early days, they were. But, over the years, as architects and builders innovated both their designs and building methods, just about any style of home that can be stick-built on-site, can now be pre-built in a factory. Just ask us!

Prefab homes ought not to be confused with manufactured, or often commonly known as mobile, homes. Manufactured homes, while factory-built before delivery tend to be of lower quality and offer fewer design options, so it’s an important distinction to make.

Yes! Much more than conventional stick-built construction. For Mandala Custom Homes (MCH), prefab building allows us to design and create beautiful panelized structures. We create beautiful round home designs through an innovative faceted, panelized technique.

A panelized home is constructed with whole wall panels that are delivered to the building site where they are quick to assemble. Far faster, in fact, than conventional stick-built construction on-site.

MCH panelized construction is not only fast but highly exact. The plans for each MCH home are sent directly from the designer’s computer to the panelization shop floor, ensuring that every MCH custom prefab home is built with accuracy and efficiency.

A typical prefab home is often complete in only four to six months. As opposed to a conventional build, which on average, takes about eight months. Keep in mind, depending on the market, a custom home build can sometimes drag on for years.

Each of our home packages begins with the home’s essential structural components built in a climate-controlled facility ensuring the quality and integrity of the materials throughout construction. Once delivered to the building lot, assembly is very fast – constructed to lock-up and weather-tight in only a matter of days. A stick build on-site, on the other hand, can be exposed to the elements – sun, heat, rain, snow, and more. A new, prefabricated home is kept safer and dryer, with significantly reduced incidents of damage – warping, mould, mildew, and squeaking – that exposure to adverse weather can cause.

The build can be up to 50 per cent faster. Building most of the home components in a factory limits weather delays and makes construction overall simply more efficient. It also makes the home delivery date very predictable. Order changes and labour schedules are less of a problem, too.

4. Is a prefab home more affordable than a stick-built house?

Generally speaking, prefab construction is less expensive than stick-built construction – as much as 10 to 25 per cent. Why? Factory assembly means reduced construction time and material waste. Prefab homes require far fewer hours on the building site which translates into savings on labour costs.

BONUS: The money saved thanks to factory assembly allows for more resources available to spend on upgraded finishes and fixtures.

5. Why is prefab the more sustainable choice?

Prefab is a more sustainable, environmentally sensitive choice than traditional stick-built homes.

One of the first ways prefab building promotes sustainability is that the process produces less waste. Many people deliver vast amounts of materials to a building site, where excess is inevitable. Factory building is inherently more efficient. Reusing and recycling excess is more likely in a prefab home building facility than on-site.

With greater precision in construction, prefab home parts and components tend to have tighter seams. This helps with efficiency in energy consumption – heating and cooling. In the case of MCH, panelized prefab home construction is an inherently green way to build, recognized in the green building certifications Mandala has achieved, including the ICC 700 National Green Building Standard. 

MCH has been building ENERGY STAR certified homes for almost 20 years. Our prefab designs provide an airtight envelope. This wraps the home in a blanket of insulation that creates a very comfortable energy-efficient home. It’s a building system that prevents hot and cold from entering through the framing. As a result, it limits air exchanges to as low as .52 air exchanges per hour.

We can also provide a passive solar design. Solar allows the sun to heat the home in the colder months and shades the sun from entering through the windows in the summer.

Would you like to learn more about building an MCH custom prefab home?  Speak with an MCH expert to learn more!