One thing you don’t want to do, if you’re interested in buying a prefab home, is pay some company to design something only to find out you can’t afford it in the first place. Or, as mentioned in a recent NY Times article about prefab kit homes, you definitely don’t want to get into the build without a clear vision of the total costs to complete the home. It’s mission critical that the prefab buying process be entirely transparent.
The concept of using off-site fabricated modules for core elements of a home is not necessarily new. In fact, most recently Proto Homes introduced a hybrid-prefab system with the Proto Core, which is a chase for mechanical, plumbing, and electrical. It’s also being used in the form of “wet-cores” for The House of the Immediate Future with Habitat for Humanity (Seattle/South King County) at the Seattle Center.
Here’s a time-lapse video of one of the first Huf Haus prefabs in the country. Offered through Cleveland-based DotGreen, these homes are precision built in Germany and shipped in containers to the project site. Then, with the help of the local architect, in this case Sage Designs NW, the general contractor, Schmoes Construction, and the structural engineer, Visser Engineering, the timber-frame prefab is assembled.
This is Beachaus I in the White Rock area of British Columbia. The home (like the neighbor, Beachaus II) is on the market, should you have an interest in a luxe, modern, prefabricated home with incredible views. Beachaus — located at 15611 Columbia Avenue — is waiting for LEED certification from the CAGBC and has three bedrooms, two full bathrooms, two half bathrooms, a two-car garage, and about 2,085 square feet.
Today, two prefab veterans launch their website for a new company called Connect:Homes with a mission to “deliver modern homes that are affordable, green, and available wherever your are.” The co-founders Jared Levy and Gordon Stott, both formerly with Marmol Radziner Prefab, started the Los Angeles-based enterprise to reinvent modular prefab and deliver homes that are predictably priced, inherently green, and shipped most anywhere at a lower cost.
This is the first Energy Star qualified home in British Columbia, according to builder Mandala Homes. The company’s been around since 2000, and this is their new, round showcase with passive solar design, tuned windows, non-toxic finishes, a custom greenhouse, and all sorts of materials that emphasize energy efficiency. It’s owned by Mandala Homes president Lars Chose and partner Rachel Ross.