Well This is New – Prefabricated Homes in DC?


Thanks to all who sent me emails about the giant trucks on Webster Street. And thanks to a reader for sending the above photo as well. One reader described in an email how it felt like a scene out of ET. I had the chance to walk by the home today and snap a few photos. Interestingly, there was an inspector there to check to see if the home was on the up and up. I think this is very interesting. I’ve never seen a prefab home assembled before. Aside from it being cheaper, I assume, are there any other benefits to prefab homes? How long will they last? I’m dying to see what the final product looks like. But for those who have seen them assembled do they look good? Check out some more photos after the jump.



18 Comment

  • Where did you grow up to have never seen a pre-fab home???
    Clearly not in the woods of Washington State.

    The ones today look less and less like “mobile homes” and more like regular old suburban houses.

  • pre-fab homes can be much greener than homes built on site because they cut down on all the waste that happens on construction sites. The controlled nature of a factory allows the fabrication to be precise. I would love to live in a greened pre-fab but some of them are pretty expensive. i hope you will update the post when it is finished.

  • My sister and her husband live in a pre-fab. As the first commenter notes, they feel basically like standard suburban homes now. I was skeptical, but my sister’s place looks/feels quite nice, and will supposedly last as long as any other house.

  • Also, there are plenty of pre-fabs in Columbia Heights, Petworth & Pleasant Plains.

  • The local neighbors are not happy about it.

    They say that the foundation is taking up more room int he alley and that the houses will be ugly.

    I guess time will tell

  • I love prefabs. Definitely going up to New York for the MoMA Exhibit this summer:

    Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling
    July 20

  • One wall of the foundation/house is basically in the alley. The alley way narrows quite a bit — I wonder if the garbage trucks/ambulance/hummer/whatever could fit through the opening. I think this house looks pretty bad right now and wonder if will be a pop-up. There are a lot more pieces of this place on Webster…. only time will tell. Amy

  • Off-topic
    Parkwood Person – are you from WA state? We moved here from Whidbey Island.

  • http://prefabcosm.com/

    And of course, my favorite prefab builder:

    Not trying to do any advertising, just really love prefabs – they cut down on waste, have tighter tolerances becuase they’re assembled in a controlled environment, which leads to better efficiency, leading to a better LEEDS rating, and are generally more cost efficient to design/build/own/and operate, because there are very few ‘surprises’ come building time. I’m currently in the process of trying to become a prefab owner. Happy reading…

  • For what it’s worth, this prefab is replacing one of the ugliest houses in our little corner of petworth – basically a one-story cinderblock rectangle. Not going to be hard to improve on that. But yeah, amy is right, the alley is going to be very narrow when this is done.

  • Two common benefits of prefab are better assembly and stronger framing than site built homes. Since they can work inside a heated/airconditioned building they work cleaner and are less affected by mother nature. The extra framing strength is required becasue they must survive transport over roads.

  • Prefabs are becoming a lot more common in dc. A set of homes just went up off of 12th and florida ave. NE and another set is going up near Connecticut down one of those side streets between military and nebraska

  • I lived in a prefab for quite a while, my parents had it build in Arlington back in the early 90’s, once the foundation was in construction took about a week before everything was done. Aside from the fact that it is sort of boxy, you couldn’t even tell it came in on a truck, and its still looking good.

  • I live around the corner from this and will reserve final judgment until it’s complete, but my initial fear is that this is going to stick out like a sore thumb and bring down the look of the surrounding neighborhood. Every other structure — houses and apartment buildings — are brick, and I think this is going to change the historic look of the area.

  • I live right beside these two houses and have to say i am happy they are going up…if everyone else knew what used to be there before you would be happy too…well unless you smoke crack, like to s&*t in public, fight with rival gang members while pointing guns at each other at point blank range, or hold your weekend gang meetings at 3am. the houses are being built as part of a low income housing program and have already been sold to 1 single mother of couple children and 1 family with a couple of children…prices are in the low to high 300’s. They are not rental houses.

    I think these two houses can only be positive additions to the neighborhood and I am happy they are there.

    As for the other historical looking houses around the neighborhood, i agree these will not look like anything around, but i haven’t seen any new developments that do. to replicate what was done in the 1920’s (especially the brickwork) nowadays would cost a lot more than what is being built and would make them unaffordable to the families that these are targeted for.

  • Matt91–

    Yep. Whidbey is lovely. Except for Oak Harbor… I nearly had a mental breakdown at the Walmart there. But that’s even more off topic.

  • As I mentioned before, these are not replacing a brick rowhouse, but rather a squat grey concrete bunker that got knocked down months ago and has been a crap-filled vacant lot ever since. I live on the adjacent block, and the last thing I’m worried about is that it will “bring down” the “historic look” of the neighborhood. It’s going to be a big improvement, even if it’s a bit boxy.

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