Interested in building a system-built home? As you research, you will find there are all kinds of ways to prefabricate your home. The different system-built construction methods include panelized construction, modular construction, and other specialties, such as timber frame, SIPS construction, and log home construction.

What is System-Built Construction?

System-built construction is a general term describing building components that are built in a factory setting and shipped directly to a job-site for quick on-site assembly. There are many types of system-built construction options, all of which include factory-built components for optimal quality, faster on-site construction, and minimal waste. Because of modern technology and a lack of labor in the construction industry, more builders and homeowners are looking into some form of system-built construction. Each of these system-built methods has its advantages and disadvantages. Learn more about each type below.

Panelized Construction

Panelized construction offers the most flexibility in system-built construction since almost any custom home can be drawn and constructed as panelized. Panelized construction uses 2x dimensional material to create large wall panels. The roof is usually assembled using pre-cut dimensional rafters or conventional trusses where needed. Because the panels are prefabricated in a factory, it speeds up labor on-site, shaving off significant framing time. These panels also factor in window and door openings, allowing for easy window and door installation, with no additional cutting on-site. There is virtually no waste and will also ease the dumpster bills! Builders also like panelized construction because of the similarities to conventional stick frame construction, while also giving them some flexibility when on-site changes are desired or needed.

Pre-cut Shipped Loose Lumber Packages

Quite a few companies now offer pre-cut lumber packages, which are a great option to consider. Builders also like this option because it’s a happy middle ground between conventional stick frame construction and panelized. With pre-cut lumber packages, a factory will use CNC machinery to pre-cut all the lumber. This lumber is bundled by sections and fits on a flatbed truck. The home can then be built, without cutting, by assembling each wall section using precut plates and a simple and foolproof system of dados for layout. It speeds up framing time for builders and also creates minimal waste.

Modular Construction

Modular home construction is a total system-built home option. The entire home is built in a factory setting, from the structural framing and exterior finishes, to the sheetrock walls, finished floors, and cabinets. The home is split up into 2-3 sections/mods, which are then joined together on site. The biggest advantage of this method is reduced cost and reduced on-site construction time, compared with than other system-built options. Some disadvantages of modular construction, however, are size and design constraints. The limitations in home size are due to shipping and trucking constraints. The sections must fit on flatbed trucks. Other disadvantages of modular homes include design and floor plans. For instance, you are typically unable to incorporate popular open concept ceilings into modular home design.

If you are looking for a basic and straightforward design, it could be an option to explore! If you are interested in a design with more custom details and intricacies, this method may not be the best option for your new home.

modular home

Specialty Types of System-Built Construction

Timber Frame

Timber frame is a specialty type of system-built construction. Chunky wood, either Douglas fir or other similar wood species, make up the structural component of the home. Today, most timber frame companies use CNC machinery to cut the wood that is then hand-finished by carpenters. The key differentiator of timber frame construction is its unique look, with its soaring ceilings and beautiful wooden exposed beams on the inside of a home. Similar to other system-built techniques, time on site to frame a home is swift, typically taking 3-5 days to erect the timber frame structure. After the timbers are erected, the frame is wrapped with Structural Insulated Panels (SIPS). SIPS (see more information below) are also prefabricated in a factory setting, using OSB for the skins sandwiching a solid foam core for the insulation.

While timber framing isn’t for everyone, the end product is unique with exposed wood timbers in the interior and an exterior that looks like any ordinary home on the outside, so it blends in with conventional homes in any neighborhood. Plus, it’s becoming increasingly popular to marry timber framing with conventional construction to create a hybrid home, where you can determine how much timber you would like to incorporate.

SIPS Construction

SIPS construction is also a specialty type of construction and another way to prefabricate your home. SIPS can be used as a standalone product or is a popular option with timber frame construction. Panels are created in a factory setting using OSB on both sides with a foam core. Large panels are then cut into smaller sections so they can fit on a flatbed truck. Some SIPS panels are joined together with splines and some by locking panels together. In fact, SIPS manufacturer Murus Company, uses a patented cam-lock system and that results in as much as a 30% savings on installation time over SIPS that use the spline method of joining panels.

The most significant advantage of SIPS is their superior R values. SIPS construction also creates an airtight structure, with no thermal bridging, creating continuous insulation. Better R values and continues insulation results in cost savings year after year.

Log Home Construction

Log home construction is another unique building method that results in a rustic finished look with exposed logs in the home. For those wanting a rustic retreat, it’s a great option. Like all the other system-built options, logs are cut in a factory setting using CNC machinery. On site, log homes are built by stacking logs horizontally for walls. Each log is visible on the outside and the inside. One downside to this is that the log home industry has faced some challenges with energy efficiency. However, most modern-day log home companies have addressed the energy efficiency concern, each company handling the issue differently. Just like the other system-built options, log home construction also allows for a home to be built faster with minimal waste.


log home

What We Offer

So how is Davis Frame Company involved in system-built construction? We are a designer and manufacturer that offers a few different system-built structural shell package options, including timber frame construction, SIPS, panelized walls, and pre-cut shipped loose dimensional framing packages.

Interested in learning more about our system-built house packages? Call us today at 800.636.0993!