How is the Building Process in a Prefab Home

Purchasing a prefab home removes tons of other obstacles that are involved in the traditional-styled buildings. From a time-consuming advantage to easy construction and installation, a prefab home provides tremendous advantages in the overall building process. However, this process may vary greatly depending upon the manufacturers from a specific region to another. Also, not forgetting where and how you plan to build your prefab home, this process may alter slightly to fit the mutual needs of both the parties.

From finding that perfect piece of land to moving into your dream prefab home, the process requires major steps that you must get acquainted with – in order to streamline the entire prefab building process. Hence, here is a step-by-step timeline that you must watch out while avoiding any unnecessary delays and issues.

  • Selecting a Location
  • Finding the Manufacturer
  • Designing the Prefab Home
  • Getting Permission
  • On-Site Prefab Home Building
  • Off-Site Prefab Home Building
  • Delivery and Installation

Let’s discuss in detail about each of these stages and the possible to-do’s to get the process running smoothly.

Selecting a Location

Estimated to take almost 6 to 9 weeks, a prefab home will primarily need a strategic location where it can be easily transported and installed. Yes, it all starts from choosing a perfect patch of land that will also determine the local zoning regulations and the set of manufacturers you can choose from. Remember, not every company can deliver your prefab home to any location – hence, thoroughly researching the topography as well as geography is primary.

Moreover, the local zoning laws will determine how you can get your prefab home designed, keeping in mind the basic rules and regulations. Or, in the bigger picture, you also need to analyze if the local authority permits a prefab home in that specific region or not.

Once you have finalized the perfect location, you also need to consider the factors such as accessibility and geology. Whether or not can the truck transport the prefab home in that specific land or the soil conditions favor the prefab home building – yes, that is a matter of concern as well. Last but not the least, do check for sun and wind directions to maximize the benefits from nature in your prefab home.

Finding the Manufacturer

One of the most crucial stages, hiring an efficient and well-known builder or a manufacturing company is necessary. It is also quite noteworthy to know the varieties of these builders. Well, some of them build custom prefab homes whereas some sell houses that are mass manufactured. On the other hand, some of these builders provide a complete prefab home package that includes utilities as well as construction whereas some tend to only offer company-built modules. For some of these manufacturing companies, providing utilities and special requirements is not a norm – hence, it is extremely important to expect the correct deliverables from the other end.

You must also ensure if the company considers the stages of site preparation, excavation, and foundations. Else, you might have to hire a contractor’s team to get this work done.

One of the preconditions you must take care of while hiring an efficient prefab builder is their ability to share a transparent relationship while being a well-known figure in the industry. Moreover, you are also expected to ask for a detailed budget estimate along with a detailed prescription about all the material specifications for a quality check. Last but not the least, ask as many questions as you want – to simply avoid miscommunication and false expectations.

Designing the Prefab Home

Now that you have chosen the best patch of land and an efficient builder to build your dream prefab home, it is time to streamline your needs and requirements. Mainly, including the total square footage space, layout plans, and any specific interior details and specifications. Determine the total number of bedrooms and bathrooms required, along with any special space requirements such as a deck, patio, balcony, library, or a multipurpose space. Moreover, customize your views and the directions your master bedroom and the living room should be facing. Is it ‘East’ to welcome the morning light or ‘North’ for no sunlight at all? Skylights or curtain walls? The choice is yours.

Once you finalize the layout and circulation, it is time to look upon the interior finishes and paint schedules. Basically, choosing the appropriate paint colors, interior materials and finishes, furnishings, and other architectural and interior details. Furthermore, you can choose the specific flooring, cabinetry materials and finishes, ceilings, and countertops in your dream prefab home. You can also incorporate sustainable and energy-efficient features such as a solar panel, solar water heater, and other smart thermostat systems in your home to further cut down on unnecessary energy bills in your home. This stage may require somewhere between 0 to 12 weeks.

Getting Permission

Depending on region to region, this stage may greatly vary. However, it is recommended to consult your prefab manufacturer to help with these zonal regulations and laws. Even though it is not a regular traditional building, there may still be a few restrictions imposed – and you must note that. Before the site preparation or the factory work begins, you must research well about the permits right from the grading and excavation to the zoning and build-up.

Remember to apply for these permits as soon as possible – as it indirectly affects the timeline of the construction of your dream prefab home. Since there may be tons of paperwork involved, make sure to be proactive and well informed at each and every step.

On-Site Prefab Home Building

This process goes hand-in-hand with the off-site prefab construction. Now that you have all the permits ready along with the finalized plans, elevations, and material specifications – it is time for the workers to turn your dream into reality. Whether your entire home is getting manufactured in the factory or if the factory-made modules are getting assembled on the job site, this complete process is expected to take around 1 to 4 weeks.

Before beginning with the setting-up of the prefab home, the site preparation will be executed. Mainly, this process will include clearing off the trees, leveling the ground, grading, excavating, and pouring off concrete to construct the foundation (crawlspace, basement, slab). An inspector is expected to check through the durability of the foundation along with the entire process taking place. Moreover, later once the foundation is laid out will the concrete driveways and other landscaping features be introduced.

Note that building foundations may take somewhere around 4 weeks and preparing your site (excavation, grading, etc.) takes around 1 week.

Off-Site Prefab Home Building

Unlike the on-site building process that can be visually observed and felt, this is a factory-made process that you can’t experience realistically. However, if the builder permits, you can either visit the factory to watch your home getting built or simply get a glimpse of your home that is under construction. On the other hand, some of them work in absolute secrecy and you may not be required to have a glance at all.

The prefab modules are manufactured and assembled off the site including the various other specifications enlisted in the contract. This process works simultaneously with the team working on your site preparation and all the related on-site jobs. Some of them get manufactured and assembled in the factory itself while some prefabs are completely constructed in the factory and then are later transported to the job site. For more details about the building phases of a prefab home, have a read through this blog.

Delivery and Installation

The installation and setting-up of your modules may take somewhere around a day to a week at the most. Hence, once your prefab home is built – whether on or off-site and all the parallel features and equipments are installed, the home is then ready to be packed and transported to your job site. It is an unforgettable experience to observe the truck arriving with your dream home in it. In the case of larger homes, the packaging can be double the size and may arrive in two shifts.

The crew will then assemble the home on the built foundation and install all the other special architectural features. At this time, it is important to consider roofing, flooring, and cladding and remember to check for any tolerances and other requirements you stated during the initial meeting. Make sure to check for all perfections and finishing touches before getting the home-delivered. This is the time for magic – in the morning you see the truck coming and by the evening, your prefab home is all set for you to move in.


Before planning to buy a prefab home, it is important to get a clear picture of the building process. It is crucial to stay involved and careful throughout the process while safely keeping the important documents in hand. Also, understanding that being transparent and clearly communicating with the manufacturer is primary. Now that we have discussed each step in detail, do you feel confident about engaging in the process? Well, do let us know your experiences in the comments below.