How Long Does a Prefab Home Take to Build? [Solved]

Last updated on January 27, 2022

Overall, a prefab home may take 16 to 31 weeks to build, from planning to moving in. Let’s break down the timeline by building phase.

The prefab manufacturing and construction process enable a much shorter timeframe to build than a traditional stick-built home. It’s one of the most significant benefits that makes it so attractive.

We have broken down the entire process of building a typical prefab to see how long each phase takes and cut the overall time to the minimum.

Let’s begin!

Table of Contents

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Prefab Home Build Timeline

time to build a prefab home

One of the main benefits of building a prefab home is the short time to complete construction. From design and planning to completion and handing over to the client, prefab homes only take 16-31 weeks.

However, many variables may affect the completion time. For instance, finding the right empty lot to construct the prefab home takes time. Designing the perfect home for your needs also takes time.

In addition to that, the site must be cleared and prepped for construction before the foundation can be established for the prefab home. Building permits must also be acquired from local authorities before construction begins. On average, however, you can expect the entire process to take at most 31 weeks. 

Next, let’s break down how long every phase of building the prefab home take, from planning to moving it.

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How Long Does Planning Take?

Once you have decided to build a prefab home, you’ll need to decide where to build the home, the kind of home you want to build, the features you want in the building, the timeline for completion, payment of deposit, where to get funding, availability of the builder and other factors.

This can all be addressed during the planning process, which may take just a few days up to a month. Once a plan is in place, the finer details of the plan can be discussed. 

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How Long Does Getting Permits and Loans Take?

Construction works can only begin once sufficient funds and a valid permit from local authorities to comply with building codes. The entire process of purchasing land and getting the necessary permits to build a house on that piece of land can take up to 9 weeks.

To qualify for a mortgage, you will need to come up with a down payment of around 20% of the property value. Any decent builder can give you an accurate estimate for the whole construction project. You can finance the modular home construction project with this quote and a suitable mortgage pre-approval form.

Be sure to allow ten weeks to conclude the land acquisition process, secure permits, and get funding for the project. That said, it is essential to note that prefab homes can be financed just like site-built homes, so getting financing will not be an issue. 

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How Long Does Designing Take?

The process of designing a prefab home to consider all the needs and personal preferences of the client takes time. Every consumer has unique needs, so there is a need to incorporate unique features into the custom home.

The design process can take as long as 12 weeks for custom prefab homes. However, if you choose one of the standard designs, the design process can be skipped.

Only a few weeks will be required to design the home for simple designs. For more elaborate designs, it can take up to 12 weeks to design the prefab home before fabrication. 

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How Long Does Site Preparation Take?

Preparing the site for construction of the prefab home will take at most one week. However, this will depend on the work needed to make the site ready for construction.

Soil testing may take up to 2 weeks. If trees are growing on that parcel of land, cutting them down and removing the tree stumps can take time. Since site preparation employs heavy construction equipment, all the preparation works can be completed within a week. 

Once the prep work has been done, the foundation can be built. Depending on the type of foundation you want for your prefab home, it can take up to 4 weeks to build the foundation. This means that site preparation and building of the foundation can take around seven weeks. 

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How Long Does Prefab Manufacturing in the Factory Take?

Building all the panels and modules needed to put up a prefab home takes around one week. However, this may differ from one builder to the next. Most factories have highly-specialized personnel and processes that have already been tried and tested.

Once the design is ready, it will not take more than seven days to build all the modules in the factory setting. The fact that there are no excess materials to get rid of not only cuts the expenses but also shortens the time.

Prefab homes with standard designs can be fabricated within a shorter period. The builder might already have a suitable prefabricated home ready for sale

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How Long Does Delivery Take?

There are generally two broad categories of prefab homes; panel and modular homes. Panel homes are usually assembled panel by panel to do different modules on site until all the modules in the house are complete.

On the other hand, modular homes are usually assembled at the factory and delivered on flatbed trucks module by module. The modules are then assembled on-site to make the home.

Delivery of the modules or panels will take time, depending on the distance from the factory to the site and the type of home ordered. Modular homes usually take longer to deliver because they need to be handled with care. Kitchens are usually fully-furnished so any mistake can be incredibly costly for the builder.

It takes less than a week to deliver a prefab home to the site, but many other variables may affect delivery timeframes, such as weather and traffic, among other things. 

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How Long Does Assembly Take?

Once the foundation is ready and panels, or modules, have been delivered, the prefabricated home assembly follows. In the case of panel homes, it will take one week to build modules with the panels and a further four weeks to assemble and set up the modules to make the house.

In the case of a modular home, the modules usually come fully assembled with plumbing, electricity, and HVAC systems. It will take only four weeks to assemble and set up the modules on the foundation. This means that assembling a prefab home takes 4 to 5 weeks, depending on the type of prefabricated home ordered. 

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How Long do Utility Hook-Ups Take?

After assembly of the prefab home, the house must still be connected to the grid, water supply, gas supply, and septic/sewer system. This will take time. Some utility companies may take more time than others to connect the house to the utility. However, experienced builders know the steps to take to ensure the client gets hooked up to utilities within the shortest time possible. 

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How Long do Interior Finishes Take?

Prefab homes usually come 90% finished from the factory. This includes primer paint on the wall panels and electrical fittings. After complete assembly, minimal finishing will be required. The desired coat of paint can be applied in just a few days, both on the inside and outside, so this will not take too much time. 

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The Foundation and the Home Can be Built Simultaneously

Since time is of the essence, there is a need to save time wherever possible. The best way to achieve this is to handle the fabrication of the house and the building of the foundation simultaneously. 

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Additional Time Factors to Consider

The additional customization options you order with the home will require design and installation. For instance, if you wish to have tiles installed on the floor, this will take more time than installing laminate flooring. Any decent builder will give you a list of factors that may slow down construction. This will help prepare you mentally for any delays. 

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Moving In

It will take some time before you can move into a prefab home. This is because the house has to be inspected and given the green light before you can move in. It usually takes between 6 weeks to 25 weeks to receive a certificate of occupancy from the authorities before you can move into the house. This is also after all the utilities have been connected. If you’ve been wondering how long a prefab home takes to build, now you are in the know.

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