A factory built home is a home that is built in a factory as a whole or in parts. There are four categories of factory built homes: manufactured homes, modular homes, panelized homes and precut homes. Each type of home is completed to varying degrees within the factory environment. The more work put in at the factory, the less work that is required at the building site.
Manufactured homes are constructed entirely in the factory and transported to the building site as a finished house. Modular homes are built in sections in the factory and transported separately or together to the building site. The sections, or modules, are then assembled into a finished product. Panelized homes are created from factory built panels which resemble the walls of a house. They are joined at the building site and require significantly more on-site labor than manufactured and modular housing. Precut homes are the closest to conventional site built homes and use far less factory assistance than the previously described homes. Precut homes, which include kit homes, are made of materials cut to specification at the factory and delivered to the builder. Generally, factory built homes are installed on to permanent foundations at the building site.
Factory built homes are increasingly considered to be superior in quality to traditional site built homes. Mass production of housing allows companies to purchase complex machinery and high quality lumber. The factory setting provides climate control and protection from vandalism. The assembly line process allows for consistency of workmanship and greater quality control. Factory built homes are made to withstand the potential hazards of transport. Modular homes, panelized homes and precut homes are constructed to the highest standards so as to fit into any local building codes.
Homes manufactured in a factory can be referred to as prebuilt homes, premade homes, pre-engineered homes and prefabricated homes, or prefabs for short. Mobile homes are also considered under the banner of factory built homes.