Home Building What’s Driving the Rise of Prefabricated Housing in Florida?

What’s Driving the Rise of Prefabricated Housing in Florida?

prefabricated
The L-shaped residential building, in Ft. Lauderdale, will house 680 modular micro-apartments. (Courtesy Glavovic Studio)

Prefabrication represents a significant accomplishment in making affordable housing available to anyone. With the arrival of today’s advanced technologies like Building Information Modeling (BIM), 3D printing, and automation, architects and builders are continuing to explore how prefabrication can change the world. Prefabrication is the future of affordable housing all over the globe and especially in those regions affected by severe climate events.

Prefabrication consists of manufacturing various building parts off-site and then fitting them together on-site. This method cuts down on the amount of time, cost, and labor involved in putting up a structure.

One exciting aspect of the nation’s housing affordability crisis is the rising popularity of prefabricated homes. This is especially true in some states that are prone to severe weather events (e.g., Florida) because of advances in construction that improve storm-resiliency.

Prefabrication is Not New

You might not think that Roman forts and the Eiffel Tower have anything in common. However, they were both constructed by utilizing prefabrication methods. Following the success of this endeavor, Sears Roebuck began shipping more than 400 different types of homes via their famous catalog. Between 1908 and 1940, the company sold nearly 75,000 affordable homes.

Prefabrication in Florida Combats Severe Weather Events

Following several brutal hurricane seasons, more Floridian coastal dwellers are turning to storm-resistant prefabricated homes. And, it’s now possible to combine hurricane-resistant prefab with fab good looks. One example is a 685-square-foot home made by a Dutch company which features sleek lines, high ceilings, and indoor-outdoor appeal. The home is rated to withstand 180 mph winds (above the 157 mph wind speed of a Category 5 hurricane).

A Variety of Living Spaces

The Sunshine State has lots of unrelenting sun, high humidity, and the threat of hurricanes. This weather mix makes building in Florida a real challenge. However, prefabricated homes are becoming more popular because of their ability to withstand Florida’s volatile climate. There are an increasingly wide variety of weather-resistant and attractive styles available. Materials employed include concrete, steel, shipping containers, and laminated veneer lumber.

Fort Lauderdale Complex – Prefab Affordability and Glamour

Prefab construction in Florida is not limited to single-family homes. One outstanding example is a prefab affordable housing complex in Fort Lauderdale. The complex transforms one-and-a-half city blocks into a green, multi-functional neighborhood within walking distance of South Florida’s New River.

The building is layered with decorative masonry breeze blocks giving the structure an attractive sense of texture and depth. Along with the jutting balconies, these blocks act to regulate sun exposure so that each of the 680 units is provided with an abundance of shading to reduce the need for air conditioners.