Site-Built or Factory-Built

Patricia Skinner  |  1/3/2007 7:00:19 PM

Site Built vs. Factory Built

There are a variety of options to consider when choosing how to build your new home. Traditional methods of building involve fabricating all the pieces and framing and cladding the house completely on-site. Other methods have been developed to cut down on the cost and time needed to build a house on-site by using a variety of prefabricated components for major portions of the home. Generally the prefabricated pieces have the advantage of being built in a more controlled environment, are built to higher tolerances and can take less time to erect on site. Each system has its advantages and disadvantages.

Site-Built Homes

The traditional method of building homes in this region is using a site-built, stick-frame method of construction. Site-built refers to homes built entirely on the site, often building them out of lumber that is cut to size and nailed together on site. The structure is, then, roofed and clad with sheathing, siding, drywall, etc. This method is labor-intensive and inefficient compared to other methods of building; however, it has the advantage that many contractors, craftsmen and local building officials and inspectors are familiar with. These local advantages should not discourage you from exploring other options that may better suit your needs, especially now, when the labor market is so tight.

Factory-Built Homes

The phrase “site-assembled” refers to a wide range of options in prefabricated and modular housing technologies that involve building part or all of the home off-site, transporting the pieces and then assembling them on-site. Site-assembled homes include homes that are described as panelized, modular, prefabricated and manufactured. Although there are some site-assembled homes of poorer quality, it is quite possible to get high-quality site-assembled housing that can withstand hurricane-force winds and other threats.

Building houses by assembling prefabricated components can save time and labor costs when compared with traditional site-built methods. Having parts built in a factory environment allows for a higher degree of quality control. Site-assembled homes have been used in the American housing market since the early part of the 20th Century.

Whether you are building a site-built or site-assembled home, your house will have to conform to local codes and restrictions, and trained work crews will be needed.

Learn more about factory-built homes.

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