Assembly Line And Panelization: The Future Of Homebuilding?

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March 21, 2016

Henry Ford is often credited with perfecting the assembly line process. On Dec. 1, 1913, the assembly line for the Ford Model T began operation and cut the time taken to produce a Model T down to just 93 minutes. It didn’t take long for the world to catch on and realize how this type of efficiency could improve profits. Though assembly lines make the manufacturing world go round, some industries, like homebuilding, haven’t taken full advantage of the process. That might be able to change, though, as more and more companies are taking a look at prefab homes and the panelization process.

Take RSI Communities for example, a company that is using the assembly line process to build standardized homes for tract housing subdivisions. Although the prefab home process has been around for decades, only about ten percent of U.S. homes use prefab wall panels, The Orange County Register reports.

Companies like RSI Communities use panelization as a means of speeding up construction and reducing waste.

Panelization can be cost-effective, depending on volume. Factories have fixed overhead, which means the more homes built, the lower the cost per home gets. However, it is this fact that still has some builders skeptical. Some builders are saying they do not build a sufficient amount of any one floor plan for panelization to make sense for their own company.

For larger companies looking to create entire subdivisions, the prefab process is enticing because of its high efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

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