Defining Prefabricated Buildings

A prefabricated building is defined is a type of building consisting of a factory-built components or units that are to be assembled on-site. Standardized sections can then be easily shipped and assembled on site.

In the U.S., manufactured homes, including mobile homes, are constructed according to the Department of Housing and Development (HUD), while modular buildings are constructed in accordance to the International Building Code (IBC). In Canada, the National Building Code of Canada is used as a guide.

There are three categories of ‘prefabricated’ buildings: modular, manufactured and mobile. These are buildings either made of built-in components, modules or sections. Although all three building types are similar, the methods of construction and design of the structure itself varies. Prefabricated buildings range from small storage sheds to custom designed multi-level residences. The three types are detailed below.

Modular Buildings

Modular buildings are constructed in sections then transported to the site for construction and installation. These are typically then installed and treated like a regular house, for financing, appraisal and construction purposes. This is the most expensive of the three and although the sections are prefabricated, the sections or models are assembled on private land, much like typical construction projects.

Manufactured Buildings

Manufactured buildings are those that are built onto steel beams and then transported in sections to the site where they are then assembled.

Mobile Buildings

Mobile buildings are structures built on wheels so that they can be moved according to need.