MIT rethinking house construction: Open prototype initiative

The Open Prototype Initiative is a collaboration between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology House_n Research Consortium, Bensonwood Homes and other construction industry members to develop a series of four prototype homes , deploying advanced designs, materials, systems, and fabrication strategies, with a goal of showing how high-quality, sophisticated, and personalized homes can be built more cost-effectively and in less time. Each home will be built in 20 working days. The first prototype, Open_1 – a three-story 28-by-46-foot house begins in June 2006, with another new home being built every 18 months through 2010.

Some key features:
– The floor, wall and roof systems will be pre-built with wiring pre-installed.
– Floors, ceilings and baseboards will allow for easy access to plumbing, heating and wiring;
– The structure will consist of distinct, disentangled and accessible layers that allow for both efficient assembly and for change over time;
– The building shell, with exterior finish, will be assembled in five working days
– Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems will be installed in three working days
– Interior fit-out will be completed in five working days
– Interior finishes will be completed in five working days

It seems like they have several interesting ideas to improve upon the modern manufactured/prefab home.

A quick summary of categories of manufactured homes. The MIT plans are a fresh take on a mix of panelized and modular systems.

Manufactured Home: Built entirely in the factory under federal code administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which went into effect June 15, 1976, has been upgraded numerous times.

Mobile Home: The term mobile home used for homes built prior to June 15, 1976, when HUD code went into effect. Voluntary standards were previously in effect.

Modular Home: Built to state, local or regional code where home will be located. Multi-section units are transported to sites and installed.

Panelized Home: Built in factory, where panels that include windows, doors, wiring & siding, are transported to site and assembled. Codes are set by state or locality where sited.

Pre-Cut Home: Materials are factory cut to design specifications and then transported to the site and assembled. Examples are: kit, log and dome homes. Standards are set by state and locality.