Tag Archives: prefab homes

3D rendering of a modular home

What are Modular Homes?

Modular homes are a subtype of prefab home that is constructed out of “modules” (as opposed to sections or panels). Each module comes mostly or completely pre-built, but like prefabs they differ from mobile homes. They are transported differently, governed by different building codes, and — most importantly  — are much more amenable to the art and science of custom home building.

What You Should Know About Modular Homes

What are modular homes? What are they used for? What does the construction and manufacturing process entail? And what are the advantages and disadvantages of these types of manufactured houses, especially with regard to custom home building in South Florida?

Modules & Modular Houses

Modular building is a subset of “off-site construction,” wherein part or all of a house is constructed in one location and then transferred to another for completion. This clearly distinguishes it from on-site (informally referred to as “stick-built”) construction, and the degree to which modular homes are completed off-site also distinguishes it from other types of prefabs.

Modulars can be thought of as a balanced approach to building prefabricated houses. The modules themselves are rooms, the primary component of a house. Other components of off-site construction are much more minuscule (panels) or more comprehensive (sections, entire wings of homes that comprise two or more rooms and motifs).

Modular Construction

Modular homes must abide my the local codes of the municipality in which they will be completed, so the construction process is marked by tightly scrutinized inspection. The most important stage of manufacturing is design, wherein constructors must utilize automated computing and 3D models to ensure modules’ compatibility with other rooms or sections. After the modules are manufactured, they are transported to the construction site via a flat-bead truck to be installed.

Modular Homes & Custom Home Building

What are the pros and cons of using modules, as opposed to proverbial “sticks,” to custom build a home in South Florida?


  • More affordable than traditionally-built luxury homes
  • Quicker construction process means a more immediate return on investment, one of the primary concerns in home building
  • Easier to implement extensions, remodeling and home additions
  • More environment-friendly construction
  • Since it is built to withstand rigorous transport, modules are usually inherently more sturdy (very apposite to the coastal, hurricane-prone areas of South Florida)


  • While construction itself is much quicker, the transport of modules can be very slow
  • May not be fully accepted by buyers, which may lead to undervaluation at resale (although smart design may disguise the fact that a home is modular)
  • South Florida custom home builders are extremely limited in their ability to customize using modules, as the market favors minimalization
Blueprint of as-built home

Prefab Homes & South Florida Custom Home Building

Prefab homes (prefabricated homes or “prefabs”) are often associated with mobile homes, but they certainly have a place in South Florida custom home building. In fact, you might say they are the true method and style of custom home building! What are prefabs, and what makes them so special?

Prefab Homes & South Florida Custom Home Building

In a technical sense, prefab homes are manufactured off-site and then put together on-site. To illustrate, this is the traditional method of custom home building in South Florida:

traditional method of custom home building in South FloridaBy contrast, this is part of a prefab home that already has whole walls and rooms pre-built: Delivery of prefabricated wooden houseThis helps to distinguish prefab homes in South Florida from other ones. However, it tells us little about the difference between prefabs and mobile homes. Yet, as all upscale homeowners know, there is a big difference between luxury and mobile homes. The true difference comes from the style of prefabricated housing.

Prefab Homes & The Style of South Florida Custom Home Building

What truly distinguishes prefab homes in South Florida is not the way in which they are made. It is their style that distinguishes prefabs from transportable homes. Separately producing individual components of a custom home gives homeowners the option of a highly complex and modern design. The individual components can come in 3 primary varieties:

  1. Panels – individual pieces of the housing structure such as walls and floors.
  2. Modules – whole rooms that come pre-built.
  3. Sections – whole sections of a house that include entire rooms such as the master bedroom, closet, bathroom, etc.

The Advantages of Custom Building With Prefab Homes

For custom home builders in South Florida, the principal advantage is less work and effort. However, this doesn’t mean a decrease in the quality of your luxury home! There are many advantages that you may find interesting.


Stylistically, prefab homes make for both easier and more customizable design:

  • Easy Design: Many homeowners find it easier to design their custom home when they have the prefabricated building blocks right in front of them. They don’t have to imagine what a particular room will look like when it’s in front of their eyes.
  • Custom Design: Prefabs also allow South Florida homeowners to get more creative with their design. By streamlining the process, they allow you to choose one style for your bedroom, another for your bathroom, and yet another for your living room.

Green Construction

Prefab homes are also widely commended from their environmental friendliness. Having its components separately produced makes it easier to add green features after construction. For example, it is much easier to install solar panels on a prefab. There is also a growing trend of building entire prefabricated houses out of green materials. A good example of this is the luxury Perrinepod.

What You Should Know About Prefab Homes in South Florida

Prefabs come in many different shapes and sizes. They are a truly custom option for luxury home building in South Florida. However, because there are no two alike prefabs, there is no universal standard for building one.

Certain prefabs (or all prefab homes in general) are prohibited in neighborhoods and housing communities. Therefore, if you are interested in custom prefab home building in South Florida, make sure your contractor knows the local zoning and permit regulations.