Prefabricated wooden house or traditional house?



Prefabricated wooden house or traditional house?

30. 04. 2018


According to statistics from international manufacturers, interest in prefabricated wooden houses has increased by a third in the last decade. We are increasingly appreciated by people and the awareness that assembly construction in terms of technology and materials has made so much progress. The prefabricated house is energy-saving and economical, and at the same time pleasant to live in.

The main advantages of the prefabricated wooden house in front of the classic brick building are higher energy efficiency and low consumption costs, living comfort, natural materials, and fast construction. In the case of a prefabricated wooden house, more things need to be done at the design stage, i.e. earlier than in the case of conventional constructions, but during construction, there are fewer surprises and unforeseen situations. Particular attention should be paid to guided construction for a previously known price, where one company coordinates all operators and ultimately ensures execution. The advantage is also the greater use of space because the average house has more internal surfaces by at least 10 square meters due to thinner external walls but with the same external dimensions as traditional construction.


  • Quick assembly: Regardless of the prefabricated building system – skeletal or panel – the house is generally assembled within approximately 1 month, from the delivery.
  • Use of natural materials: Wood better regulates humidity in the space and is a six times better insulator than brick and 15 times better than concrete, which affects the amount of heating costs.
  • Sustainable aspect: Wood has the smallest carbon footprint of all building materials.
  • Seismic safety: The construction of a prefabricated wooden house is very sensitive to seismic loading and transmits many overloads.
  • Fire safety: wood preserves stability for a longer time than concrete, steel, and brick. The fire begins to eat its structure, it can burn two centimeters, and the deeper fire does not penetrate due to lack of oxygen.
  • Stability: wind resistance is ensured by correctly connected elements, an anchored structure, and correctly attached plates.

Despite the many advantages of prefab wooden houses, they are still accompanied by many prejudices. For example, people are mainly concerned with flood and fire safety and protecting wood from pests. Since most materials are waterproof, the surfaces dry quickly. There is also a concern for fire safety, since the double-wall cladding of gypsum-based panels with good insulation guarantees fire resistance for up to 90 minutes. As for pest control, no special protection is required, since the wood itself is heat treated, so the use of substances that are harmful and dangerous to health would be meaningless.


Home construction is extremely challenging and demanding and requires the investor to constantly monitor and organize the workers, which represents a significant challenge to the fast pace of life. In addition, the vast majority of the new house owners order the house for the first time and have no experience or verified interpreters.  That’s why is not surprising that new owners prefer to order “turnkey” options. The advantage of such a decision is also that the manufacturer guarantees the final quality of the structure.

The prefabricated house is much faster than bricklaying – about a year after taking into account the time for collecting permits, carrying out procedures, and construction. In the case of turnkey finishing, it can be moved in about five or six months from the start of construction, depending on the manufacturer. Most of the work is done before construction begins, in production, where the house is usually built in a few weeks, the construction itself is completed in a few days, followed by other finishing works.



  • The tendency to overheat: despite this, wood has good thermal properties.
  • Sensitivity of wood and thermal insulation to rain– this is a problem, especially in bad weather during assembly, until the house is covered with roofing.
  • Architectural constraints: The range of wooden beams is relatively limited, so large open spaces cannot be created easily. In these cases, we have to use steel beams.


The prices of prefabricated houses are completely comparable to those of classic construction, but obviously, the offers vary. Some manufacturers promise at least 15% more favorable prices than similar brick houses, while others claim that they are classically built and somehow cheaper than prefabricated ones. The fact is that the price of a house built in comparison with the assembly in a comparable energy standard is the same or slightly higher, and the price difference between the cheapest and average savings is estimated by manufacturers at around 5%.

What about the consumption of the prefabricated house compared to the classic new building? On average, most houses built with classic heating consume about 150 kWh / m2 per year, while low prefabricated energy consuming less than 35 kWh per square meter, passive or even less than 15 kWh / m2. Assuming that the newly built house, 150 square meters in the facade of 15 inches of polystyrene, PVC windows, the roof 25 inches of insulation, heating is a gas boiler condensing and without ventilation, the difference in energy costs after manufacturers’ estimates of at least EUR 1.000 per year. On the energy consumption of the house, in addition to the type of construction and heating methods the living habits of the residents are also significantly influenced.

Marko Hrovatin

Marko Hrovatin