Foxhall houses designed by Teass \ Warren Architects were featured in an article in Washington Post.

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Design magazines love them. So do movie stars and environmental activists. New technology, including the use of robots in factories, makes them even easier to build. So why are advocates of prefab houses still talking about “disrupting” the home-building industry?

Architects, environmentalists and some forward-thinking builders embrace prefab construction — whose products run the gamut from affordable manufactured homes to sleek tiny houses with ultramodern finishes to contemporary mansions — as the way every home should be built in the future, says Greenwich, Conn.-based Sheri Koones, author of “Prefabulous Small Houses” and other books about prefab houses. But despite having been around for decades, prefab or modular homes made up just 2 percent of new single-family houses in 2016, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Prefab construction gained traction in the 1970s when builders and architects recognized they could save on build time and labor costs by moving the majority of the building process into a factory. Initially, says Koones, modular homes were fairly basic and boxy, but over time architects, builders and factory owners have improved their methods, and nearly anything that can be built on a homesite can now be assembled first in a factory.

While prefab houses can cost less than a traditionally built home,

the financial savings are not always the most compelling reason for people to choose this construction method. “The real saving is in time,” says Brian Abramson, co-founder and director of business operations for Method Homes, a prefab factory in Seattle that works mostly on modern, custom homes. “It typically takes 50 percent less construction time to complete a prefab house.”

 

Read the rest of the story at The Washington Post.

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