In the world of “prefab,” there are some misnomers.
Building codes/laws regulate the difference between certain construction types and are regulated by different government agencies.
Most pre-fab structures are built in a factory. The factory can be certified or “pre-inspected” by a governing agency; such is the case for mobile or manufactured homes, where the governing agency is the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Smaller operations such as Modern-Shed, which are not certified by any government agency, must produce structures that can be inspected at the building site and must conform to International Building Code (IBC) standards.
Modular homes may or may not be “inspected” in factory, but must also adhere to the IBC.
Prefabricated may refer to buildings built in components or modules:
Panelized prefab structures are usually smaller structures than modular homes and have panels that can be hand carried into tighter spaces. Modern-Sheds fit this example.
Modular homes are created in sections and then transported to the home site for construction and installation. These are typically installed and treated like a regular house, for financing, appraisal and construction purposes. Although the sections of the house are prefabricated, the sections are put together at the construction much like a typical home.
Manufactured or mobile homes are built onto steel beams and are transported in complete sections to the home site, where they are connected to water/sewer and electric. Manufactured and mobile houses are rated as personal property and depreciate over time and are built on wheels that can be removed.
Other components and clarification:
Manufactured or mobile homes are manufactured to include electrical/plumbing/interior walls/doors and are completely finished and come in a huge variety of sizes and configurations. Think, RV on steroids.
Modular homes are built as “stick-frame” construction, just like a custom built home on site would be built. Instead of on site, they are built in a factory setting and many times will include electrical, plumbing, interior walls and finishes, with the larger sections set into place with a crane and connected to each other.
Modern-Shed uses small panelized structures that are designed specifically to be assembled in hard-to-reach places such as a backyard. Our sheds typically have four types of components: floor panels (typically 2’ wide), wall panels (typically 4’ wide) and roof panels (typically 20” wide) which are all built to IBC standards regardless of whether or not the shed requires a building permit (permitting is based on size).
Modern-Shed is NOT a pre-fabricated home manufacture although we have manufactured a handful of structures used as dwellings.
Unlike a modular home or a manufactured home, Modern-Shed only provides a “shell,” meaning we do not supply electrical, plumbing, interior wall partitions, appliances or cabinetry.
Those items are usually provided by the installing contractor or general contractor on the project.
So although Modern-Shed does not typically build structures as a home or dwelling, it certainly can be done but requires an architect’s involvement as well as a general contractor in your area.
Modern-Shed can also provide permit plan drawings, even for our larger structures. We try to stay at a maximum size front to back (tall wall to short wall) of 16’.
For financing purposes, if a Modern-Shed were to be used as a dwelling it would be classified by the financial institution as a “Modular Home.”