The History of Prefabricated Houses

on August 20, 2014

Throughout the history, prefab houses were constructed in the same way, built in one place and reassembled in another.  Prefabricated houses have a long history in the United States as well the United Kingdom as one of the first versions of a prefab house was sent from England in the 1600s. Real fabrication started with the arrival of the house kits that contained the house parts which the owner can build himself or hire people to build it.

England started shipping prefabricated houses in the 1800s to more than one country such as Australia where several hundreds of prefabricated houses arrived.

In 1855 during the Crimean War, Isambard Kingdom Brunel was commissioned to design a prefabricated modular hospital. In five months he designed a 1,000 patient hospital, with innovations in sanitation, ventilation and flushing toilets.

The first prefabricated apartment’s blocks were constructed in Liverpool in 1906, however the best-known early kit-home sellers was Sears, Roebuck and Co., which sold more than 100,000 homes from 1908 to 1940.

Prefabricated houses played a major role in addressing the United Kingdom’s post–Second World War housing shortage. Between 1945 and 1951 156,623 prefab houses were constructed. Today, a number survive, a testament to the durability of a series of housing designs and construction methods only envisaged to last 10 years.

 In the United States, many factors have contributed to the popularity of Kit homes. Companies like Alladin which were based in Michigan, ​benefited from the boom in the automotive, steel and iron industries. People wanted to build houses for their families away from the city and the factories and at a lower cost. For less than $2,500, the home buyers received a kit containing about 30,000 pieces — including everything from lumber to nails and hardware to paint and shingles — plus a book on how to construct the home. These kits were also used as vacation houses. After world war two these houses were ideal for vets coming back from war as they were cheap and easy to build. In the 1970s, the federal government decided to regulate these manufactured homes for safety reasons. These regulations remain till today to protect and insure the safety of the people within their own house.