Regardless of how efficient, futuristic, and sustainable the idea of building a prefab is, the building companies across the world yet prioritize the concept of a traditional brick building. Bricks are believed to offer tremendous advantages that can be foreseen in areas with either extreme availability of local brick or the absence of the ‘prefab’ concept. Masonry is one of the most commonly used methods of building a structure. It could either constitute traditional red bricks, stone, concrete, or stucco. It is believed that masonry structures have seemed to prove far more strong, durable, long-lasting, and easy to maintain.
Apart from this, brick masonry offers a variety of advantages. From the availability of the material to easy handling, costs and expenses incurred, easy availability of labor, construction limitations, and transportation handling – the brick structure seems to have its own share of pros – as conceived by the building companies. So, let’s discuss in detail about these factors that make a brick structure highly preferred.
Availability of Labor
Unskilled labor is required to construct a traditional brick building, which therefore is easily available in any part of the world. Many building companies tend to easily hire this group of labor without any stress involved in searching for the best teams. Whereas on the other hand, a prefab structure requires skilled labor to perform activities and an efficient manufacturing company to provide these services.
Let’s face the truth – not every country, or in some cases, states or areas have the opportunity to hire a prefab company to build homes (also the fact that prefabs require skilled labor which could be comparatively difficult to find). Thus, either way, it is not easily available and flexible which makes up for a major reason why building companies go down the simpler road and choose the traditional brick building method.
Availability of Material
It is quite likely for a region to have local brick, concrete, or stone masonry than the prefab manufacturing companies. A brick building is built step-by-step on the location of the building itself – hence, there are no restrictions when it comes to using the specific building materials. However, on the other hand, a prefab structure may impose restrictions on various materials that are not suitable for movability and transportation.
Building companies generally don’t prefer to involve themselves in the hassles related to material restrictions. Furthermore, prefab buildings require specialized materials that may or may not be locally available – hence, to perform a stress-relieving process, these building companies choose simplistic and conventional ways of building a brick building.
One thing that building companies definitely have to assure their clients is the utmost durability and the longevity of the building structure. Most brick manufacturers guarantee the lifespan of their products to be 100 years, whereas a prefab structure guarantees a total lifespan of 50 to 100 years. Hence, there also have been claims especially about the wooden prefab structures that they are not strong or durable enough to withstand prolonged years.
Since the brick buildings are stood up on the work-site from the on-site built foundation itself, they tend to be more reliable – especially for the homeowners that are permanently moving to this house and plan to spend years there. Secondly, the heavy load-bearing internal and external walls of the structure prove to be another reason why longevity is definitely offered by these houses. Also note, this condition doesn’t apply to the concrete prefab homes.
With how far the prefab industry has come, there is still a major drawback when it comes to special architectural features or the construction abilities. Building companies are constantly seeking high-tech design or aesthetical architectural features that may or may not be possible with prefab construction. However, on the other hand, with the traditional brick structure, it is quite a possibility to incorporate the most of construction details and architectural features.
For example, if you want to incorporate ultra-high ceilings, larger rooms, or decorative paneling and trims and moldings, it might be a difficult task with prefab (even though it would be possible) as compared to traditional bricks which will also be a cost-effective technique. Hence, because of this reason, companies building customized structures tend to prefer bricks that are also more flexible.
One of the major concerns associated with prefab structures is the location of transportation. Not every area is equipped with efficient connectivity systems such as roads and highways for the prefab home to be successfully transported. A prefab home requires special pieces of equipments and transportation facilities to move around unlike the bricks that are simply transported in an optimum-sized truck that can be easily moved around in even the extreme geographical conditions.
Hence, the building companies tend to frown upon this as it leads to a limitation in their horizon. Whereas for a brick building, it is easy to build them anywhere – regardless of the topography, terrain, climate, or location. The building companies don’t want to deal with this hassle which is why they undoubtedly prefer bricks over prefabs.
Even though prefab homes are a budgeted option in the long run for the homeowners, they still somehow are an expensive option to the building companies in the initial stages. Due to the wide availability of the local brick material, they are bound to be cheaper in price. Also, as discussed in the earlier points, building a prefab structure costs more than bricks due to the skilled labor required to build these homes. Secondly, while incorporating special architectural features like higher ceilings or larger rooms, the costs and effort required are almost multiplied. Thus, incurring higher costs.
Moreover, the cost to protect and transport the prefab structure to the work-site requires big bills that the building companies have to take care of. In some cases of extreme topographies, these costs are bound to strikingly increase. Hence, these imposed costs are another reason why building companies prefer to choose cheaper alternatives of bricks.
Handling bricks, mortar, and plaster is considered an easy task in the construction industry. As compared to a more complex prefab system, bricks hold their existence and usage to centuries back and are still immensely proved to be easy maintenance and extremely durable. Since they can be easily manufactured locally, they are transported to various areas of construction. Moreover, brick walls don’t require much maintenance. They can be transported in trucks without needing to worry about their damage. Furthermore, when used as a structural element underneath the plastered walls, they can be easily cleaned and at the same time, the floating shelves, cabinetry, and cupboards can be easily installed directly on these brick walls using special tools and pieces of equipments.
On the other hand, prefab structures require ‘precut’ and ‘preassembled’ interior elements that may or may not be easily available or for a matter of fact, easy to handle. Secondly, handling the prefab components is not an easy task. For example, during their transportation, the prefab components are wrapped around in specific materials and plastic bags that are shockproof so as to avoid any cracks or damage to the components. Hence, the building companies yet again don’t want to compromise with the quality and the expected accidents. Thus, signing deals with brick manufacturers.
So, What’s the Takeaway?
The perspective of a building company might differ from those of a homeowner. Regardless of how beneficial the prefab homes are for the planet and the owner himself; the building companies tend to think a different way. They are bound to prioritize quality check and efficiency while keeping in mind the aspects of costs, transportation of materials, availability of labor, backdrop activities and taxes, and much more. However, for the homebuyer, the primary priorities are time, quality, and budget. Hence, this is a major reason why irrespective of the advantages provided by prefabs are the bricks are still highly preferred by the building companies.
Now that we have discussed a few advantages of the bricks and the reasons why they are still tremendously in use and highly preferred, do you feel they should overpower the use of prefabs? What are your thoughts about the different mindsets of the building companies and the homebuyers? What do you prefer the most – brick buildings or prefab structures? Do let us know your thoughts and reviews in the comments below.