Rendering of duplex

Modular and Panelized Construction Research Thrust

Besides conventional site-built construction, the housing industry benefits also from factory-built approach to address the need for quicker home construction. Three of the major types of factory-built component or whole unit products include:

  • panelized,
  • modular, and
  • manufactured homes.

Panelized construction refers to factory-manufactured components such as walls and floor panels, modular construction involves the prefabrication of volumetric sections of a building, and manufactured housing are entirely factory built.  

In modular construction, one or more sections are built in the factory and shipped to the site. Modular homes are supported on a permanent foundation like site-built homes. Manufactured homes that are completely prefabricated mostly in single section do not require a permanent foundation, but all sections must be built on a permanent chassis that remains with the building at the site and are transported in most cases on their wheels. While the panelized construction and modular construction must be designed based on state, local, or regional building codes, manufactured homes are mainly governed by the Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards known as HUD Code (HUD 1994), which regulates strength, durability, transportability, fire resistance, energy efficiency, and quality as well as performance standards for heating, plumbing, air conditioning, thermal and electrical system. Modular homes are normally built in multiple sections and attached to one another once placed on the foundation. These homes can be two to three story-homes. Panelized homes are assembled using prefabricated panels built in the factory, most having sheathing and some including windows, doors, wiring, and siding. Modular construction is particularly has become of interest for application to multi-story residential buildings.  There is also some development in the area of temporary housing that is used for post natural disaster situations. Such temporary units are not necessarily built to the standards for permanent manufactured units for prolonged use.



The Pennsylvania Housing Research Center serves the home building industry and the residents of Pennsylvania by improving the quality and affordability of housing.

We conduct applied research, foster the development and commercialization of innovative technologies, and transfer appropriate technologies to the housing community.

Pennsylvania Housing Research Center

219 Sackett Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-2341

Fax: 814-863-7304