The first impression many people get when they think of a panelized kit home is that they’ll have to choose from a very small number of house plans. With most companies this just isn’t the case! The variety of choices of floor plans and styles is growing and many companies even allow you to submit your own plans to them.
Just what does panelization mean and how does it work?
Kit homes are usually complete home packages that are sent to the building site for erection on site. These kit homes, or “packaged homes” as they are sometimes called, are usually panelized. This is referring to the framing walls of the home. Both the exterior and interior “partition” walls are often panelized, or made into panels.
These panels range from a few feet to an average of 8 to 10 feet long. Some may even be an entire wall from corner to corner. The panels are made in jigs in a climate controlled factory to exact specifications. They have the window and door openings already placed where they are supposed to be. Except for nailing each panel together on site, all the proper nailing is done and the panels are made to the building codes of the area where the home is to be built.
How is flexibility and personal choice achieved?
Offering their customers a wide range of styles and home plans is one way that these kit home companies attract a lot of business. It captures the attention of website visitors and allows them to sell more homes. By also offering to build any home that the customer has house plans for they hope to snare even the pickiest of home shoppers.
There is, however, a downside to offering to panelize plans provided by their customers. When the home building company panelizes and ships plans that they have never built before, getting every single wall perfect is difficult. The companies normally use sophisticated computer software and panelizing machines to design and make these walls. This process allows for accuracy most of the time. But, since each custom home is unique, there is no chance to work out any bugs in the design and panelization. Mistakes are often made which end up at the site.
A good packaged home company will solve the problems on site. But, delays can occur. I always suggest that before you settle on a kit home company, check references with the specific goal of determining how they handle quality control and customer service.
The choices than just floor plans for custom homes
Your choices are not limited to just choosing floor plans and the custom home option. Here are some of the other items that you can expect to be able to select:
— Sizes of the homes typically range from about 1000 S.F. to over 4000 S.F. for the stock plans with custom plans at any size you want.
— Different companies can offer different outer wall systems including 2×6, 2×4, cement walls, SIP (structural insulated panels), and more. Check for “green” building options and energy efficient homes.
— Some companies will frame the home on site for you for an extra charge. Often this is an excellent option unless you are planning to frame the home yourself.
— The panelized kit home packages can be built on any type foundation you want. There is usually no limitation on this. You, or your builder are in charge of getting the foundation done yourselves. The kit home companies do not do these.
— You’ll have a variety of choices for windows, doors, siding, roofing, exterior trims, and accents.
— You’ll be able to decide how much of the interior finishing materials you want the housing company to provide and have the option to purchase items locally.
— Sometimes you’ll have the option to eliminate or substitute some of the building materials to suit your needs and taste.
It’s important to understand that all these companies are different and they should be evaluated separately and not as a group. Not all kit home packages or companies are the same! It will require you to research and evaluate. Before you decide, make sure that you know what you are looking for so that you can select a company that provides just that.