You’ve likely heard the terms “prefabricated”, “modular” or “penelized” when it comes to home building. Although they’re sometimes used interchangeably, there are distinct differences between these types of construction.
Prefabricated Structures (or “prefab”) is a broad term that refers to several different types of buildings. Technically, any structure that has sections of the structure built in a factory and then assembled onsite falls under the “prefab” definition. Therefore, modular and panelized are types of prefabricated structures.
The Panelized building system is the structural components (walls, roof and floor systems) constructed in the factory and delivered to the jobsite where it is and finished just like a stick-built structure. Panelized structures must follow state and federal building code requirements and can be regularly inspected, just like site-built homes.
Modular Structures are built almost entirely in a factory. The house is built in separate box-like modules, complete with attached walls, floor, ceiling, wiring, plumbing, and interior fixtures that are moved and put together onsite. This is typically a more affordable choice for panelized building.