architecture blog

The Promise of Prefab?

Posted by Derek Leavitt on Fri, Jan 25, 2008 @ 07:01 AM

For all the hype of the Modern Prefab home these days, there still remains one clear problem: PRICE. The real promise behind prefab has yet to surface - "an affordable alternative to site built."

For all the positives that prefab claims to have: efficiency, speed, quality; the facts are clear, the price of prefab is often more than standard on-site construction. I'm not saying that this will always be the case, but for now, the cost savings are hard to see. This is especially the case in places like Los Angeles where the permitting process can be complex and labor costs are high. So, without naming names, here are some recent per square foot (construction only) prices of some prefab home makers:

Prefab Company A: $400/ sq. ft.

Prefab Company B: $300/ sq. ft.

Prefab Company C: $250/ sq. ft.

Prefab Company D: $275/ sq. ft.

Not exactly affordable numbers, especially considering that these homes are often full of compromises in order to be factory built - primarily size and room proportions. In the current Los Angeles construction market, a more affordable goal for modern building would be in the $150-$200 range.

At Modative, one of our primary goals is to reduce the cost of modern construction. This is a difficult and ongoing process that so far it has not lead us in the direction of prefab. So as some of our projects progress, we will see if this range can be accomplished.

Tags: Residential, Prefab