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Prefabricated homes: all you ever wanted to know

All you ever wanted to know about prefabricated homes but were afraid to ask…

HOUSE-MATIC is an expert in the manufacture and supply of prefabricated homes. Prefabricated homes, also known as prefab homes, prefab buildings, or container houses, are innovative construction solutions that are gaining popularity in both developed and emerging countries. These mobile and modular construction methods offer numerous advantages over traditional building techniques, as we explain below.

Converted shipping containers
Container houses: shipping containers can be converted into homes, office spaces, schools etc.

How are prefabricated homes constructed?

Prefab buildings are constructed off-site in controlled factory environments. They are built in sections or modules, which are then transported to the building site for final assembly. This approach allows for faster construction compared to traditional methods, making them particularly suitable for emerging countries where speed and efficiency are crucial, as well as in emergency situations.

Are prefab homes cheaper?

In addition to their rapid construction, prefab homes such as container houses also offer cost savings. The controlled factory environment means that manufacturers can manage their costs better and improve material efficiency, which also enables them to reduce labour costs and overall construction expenses. This can be especially beneficial in emerging economies, where budget constraints often play a significant role.

Flat-pack kit system
Getting ready for shipping after quality control by our expert team

Are prefab buildings good quality?

Cutting costs does not mean sacrificing quality, as quality control is a key aspect of modular construction. The HOUSE-MATIC manufacturing process takes place in a controlled environment, where we carry out rigorous inspections to make sure that our buildings adhere to standardised building codes. This results in higher-quality construction and minimises on-site errors, ensuring durable and reliable homes and buildings.

To ensure our prefab buildings meet the highest standards, at HOUSE-MATIC we employ a team of highly qualified professionals including architects, industrial engineers, consultants, accountants, and translators in six languages, all of whom have extensive experience carrying out international projects.

What else should I know about prefab homes?

Another advantage of prefab homes and buildings is their versatility. Container houses, a type of prefab construction, utilise repurposed shipping containers, providing an affordable and sustainable housing solution. Because prefab houses are easy to configure and expand, this mobile and modular construction method offers flexibility for various applications such as residential, commercial and institutional buildings. House-Matic has been involved in projects to build hospitals, university buildings, refugee camp accommodation, offices and low-cost social housing, to name just a few (check out the Projects section of our website to see more).

University of Barranquilla Colombia
Constructing university buildings in Barranquilla, Colombia

Why prefab buildings?

Due to their rapid construction, low cost and high quality, durability and versatility, prefabricated homes are particularly valuable in certain situations:

Emerging economies and developing countries

Mobile and modular construction methods offer significant opportunities for addressing housing needs and supporting economic development in emerging economies and developing countries.

Modular houses, modular construction
Low-cost housing in Mozambique

In emerging economies and developing countries, prefab homes:

  • provide affordable and efficient housing solutions,
  • promote local employment through manufacturing and assembly processes
  • contribute to the growth of a sustainable construction sector
  • foster capacity building and skill development within local communities by transferring prefab technology and knowledge
  • create long-term opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship.

Emergency situations

Prefab buildings play a crucial role in emergency situations, such as the earthquake in Turkey and the war in Ukraine, by providing rapid and flexible housing solutions. (In fact, the founder of HOUSE-MATIC, Jacinto, is currently in Turkey helping to install a prefab home as we write).

Prefabricated sanitary units
Setting up emergency sanitary units

In emergency situations, prefabricated buildings offer:

  • Rapid deployment

As we previously mentioned, producers can quickly manufacture prefab homes off-site in controlled environments. In emergency situations, where there is an urgent need for shelter, this accelerated construction process becomes invaluable. HOUSE-MATIC can produce homes in large quantities and transport them to affected areas promptly, providing immediate relief to displaced individuals and families.

  • Temporary and permanent housing solutions

In the aftermath of a disaster or conflict, when existing infrastructure may be destroyed or inaccessible, prefab homes can serve as temporary shelters for displaced populations. They provide a safe and comfortable living environment while governments and NGOs develop more permanent solutions. Moreover, these homes can also be used as permanent housing options, offering long-term solutions to address housing shortages and support rebuilding efforts.

  • Portability and reusability

Prefab homes are portable and easy to transport. In emergency situations, circumstances may force people to move frequently or relocate to safer areas, so the portability of prefab homes is a big plus. The modular nature of these homes means that they are easy to disassemble, transport and reassemble, so people are able to adapt to changing circumstances.

  • Customisation and scalability

Customising prefab homes to specific needs and requirements is easy. Thanks to their design flexibility, manufacturers can factor in variations in size, layout, and functionality. In emergency situations, being able to adapt to circumstances is crucial as it means that manufacturers can provide prefab buildings for families of various sizes with different accessibility needs. We can also scale up or down the size of prefab homes, making them suitable for both individual households and larger community-based projects.

  • Cost efficiency

Prefab buildings provide cost-effective solutions in emergency situations. Controlling the manufacturing process reduces material waste and improves resource efficiency, resulting in lower construction costs compared to traditional methods.

  • Sustainable and durable construction

Prefab homes can incorporate sustainable features and materials, making them environmentally friendly choices. By integrating energy-efficient systems, renewable energy sources, and eco-friendly materials into our designs, we can reduce the environmental impact. We also engineer our prefab homes to be durable and resistant to environmental conditions.

The sky’s the limit

This blog article really just scratches the surface of the topic of prefabricated homes. We hope we’ve managed to offer you a small insight into the huge potential they offer. For more details of projects we have completed, check out the Projects section of our website.

Fabricated modular construction systems
Converted shipping containers offer great versatility
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