Prefabricated homes and rooms, often referred to as prefab homes or simply prefabs, are types of prefabricated buildings. These are manufactured off-site in advance, usually in standard sections that can be easily shipped and assembled. Some current prefab home designs include architectural details inspired by postmodernism or futurist architecture.
“Prefabricated” may refer to buildings built in components (e.g. panels), modules (modular homes) or transportable sections (manufactured homes), and may also be used to refer to mobile homes, i.e., houses on wheels. Although similar, the methods and designs of the three vary widely. There are two-level home plans, as well as custom home plans. There are considerable differences in the construction types. In the U.S., mobile and manufactured houses are constructed in accordance with HUD building codes, while modular houses are constructed in accordance with the IRC (International Residential Code).
- Modular homes are created in sections and then transported to the home site for construction and installation. Although the sections of the house are prefabricated, the sections, or modules, are put together at the construction much like a typical home.
- Manufactured homes are built onto steel beams, and are transported in complete sections to the home site, where they are assembled. Wheels, hitch, and axles are removed on site when the home is placed on a permanent foundation.
- Mobile homes, or trailers, are built on wheels and can be pulled by a vehicle. They are considered to be personal property and are licensed by the Dept. of Motor Vehicles. Tiny homes with wheels are included in this category. They must be built to the DMV code, and pass inspection for licensing.