Forest For The Trees. Vaughan Buckley, a custom builder in Philadelphia, has found that modular construction for urban infill gives him the production velocity and revenue he requires. But dropping modules into an urban landscape has its own sets of challenges. Vaughan Buckley Custom Homes

Prefab, or modular, homes have been around for decades, and they've been touted as less expensive, more durable and better build than traditional stick-built homes. Yet there aren't that many of them. The Washington Post asks why:

Design magazines love them. So do movie stars and environmental activists. New technology, including the use of robots in factories, makes them even easier to build.

So why are advocates of prefab houses still talking about “disrupting” the home-building industry?

Architects, environmentalists and some forward-thinking builders embrace prefab construction — whose products run the gamut from affordable manufactured homes to sleek tiny houses with ultramodern finishes to contemporary mansions — as the way every home should be built in the future, says Greenwich, Conn.-based Sheri Koones, author of “Prefabulous + Almost Off the Grid” and other books about prefab houses. But despite having been around for decades, prefab or modular homes made up just 2 percent of new single-family houses in 2016, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

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