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Prefab Modern

by Clayton Williams last modified Jul 25, 2005 03:18 PM
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Prefab Modern

Posted by Clayton Williams at July 24. 2005

I am interested in constructing a prefab modern home in Atlanta. Any suggestions as to where I should look for a lot to build on.

Re: Prefab Modern

Posted by Steven Scott West at July 25. 2005

I don't claim to be an authority on pre-fab by any means but from what I've seen on the subject so far is that there's a lot of media buzz and general interest in the subject but the reality is that most of the products available are in their infancy and have not reached a level of market share and production efficiency to really be competitive with prices for building a simple custom home designed by an architect with an eye for creativity and cost-efficiency(shameless plug for myself). It could make sense if you live in an area where construction costs are relatively high - such as in the northeast or california or have a difficult-to-reach site, but construction costs in the Atlanta and the southeast in general are relatively low so it would probably be cheaper for you to build on your own with the guidance of a good architect and builder, and you have the bonus of getting exactly what you want in terms of design. The FlatPak house for example claims construction costs in the $150-$200/sq. ft. range which goes against one of the main tenets of pre-fab which is affordability. Hopefully as companies like these mature the prices will drop and I sincerely hope companies like this are ultimately successful as it's a great thing in general for the furthering and awareness of good design. Though as a point of reference, my simple modern house here in Atlanta was built two years ago for around $110/sq.ft. The key is to keep it simple and prioritize where you think it's important to splurge for nicer finishes, extras and upgrades.

As far as finding a site - that actually is the trickiest part these days as you will find you will have a LOT of competition from builders and developers who are constantly looking especially if you are looking for something in desirable intown areas. Ones that are well-priced and in good locations will rarely stay on the market more than a day or two. Prices for lots of course depend completely on size and location. You can probably find something an hour outside of Atlanta or in the ghetto for $30-50K or you can buy something in Midtown, Buckhead or Va-Hi for $300-500K. You should be able to find something in a reasonably good improving intown area (this is a relative term depending on your sensibilities, of course) for around $100K.

Hope this was helpful!

Scott West

S. Scott West, AIA Architect 614 Irwin St. Atlanta, GA 30312 404-222-0962 ofc. 404-222-0962 fax

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