Prefabricated buildings, sometimes called “prefab buildings” for short, are structures that are largely or entirely built off-site. Because of this system, very little construction actually has to take place on the site where the building will stand. In fact, it is not unusual for the only construction that takes place on the building site to be the laying of a small foundation, such as a concrete slab, on which the building will stand.
One way to think about prefabricated buildings is to compare them to tents. Tents are shelters made of a few simple parts that can be assembled quickly and easily to make a temporary or semi-permanent living structure. Prefabricated buildings operate off of the same idea. Though prefabricated buildings are frequently used as portable offices and workspaces, they have become and continue to become quite popular as living spaces as well. A common prefabricated building is the trailer, which is often used as a permanent residence or as temporary living and working spaces for professionals such as actors, construction workers and archaeologists working in remote areas. Trailers can be purchased in complete form and moved from place to place as needed, making them quintessential prefabricated buildings.
Another form of prefabricated building that has been rising in popularity is the “tiny house.” Tiny houses are easy to move and can be assembled, generally, in two to five days. Their relative affordability, ease and speed of construction and small carbon footprint make them favored both by some proponents of affordable housing and by those following the minimalist movement. They can be ordered with “green” materials, such as solar panels, prefabricated structural concrete insulating panels (SCIPS), recyclable steel frames and other low-energy and recycled materials. Prefabricated buildings have also served as invaluable assets in disaster areas. After a flood, hurricane, fire or any other disaster, they may be assembled quite quickly and used as a place of temporary housing and relief for survivors or as a workspace for disaster relief workers. Consumers may also purchase prefabricated homes that are significantly larger than a trailer. They may be as tall as two or three stories high. Such a home will be delivered in numerous large but complete parts. Walls, for instance, are frequently delivered with the windows already installed.
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