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 specialty types which include 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 to be assembled quickly on-site. All system-built construction methods have some commonalities, mostly being that they are all factory built 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. The different system-built options have their advantages and disadvantages, learn more about each type below.


Panelized Construction

Panelized construction offers the most flexibility in system-built construction, as pretty much any custom home can be drawn and planned for to be 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 a significant time on framing. It also factors the window and door openings in making it easy to install these components 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 its close relation to conventional stick frame construction and they still have some flexibility to make changes on-site. It’s also more closely related to conventional stick-frame construction, creating a comfort level for builders.

Pre-cut Shipped Loose Lumber Packages

Quite a few companies are now offering 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. How it works is a factory will use CNC machinery to pre-cut all the lumber. The lumber is bundled by sections and fits on a flatbed truck. The home can be built by assembling each wall section by using precut plates and using a simple and foolproof system of dados for layout. without cutting. It speeds up framing time for builders and also creates minimal waste.

Modular Construction

Modular construction is a more complete system-built home option. The entire home is built in a factory setting, from the structural framing to the exterior finishes to the sheetrock walls and finished floors and cabinets. The home is split up in 2-3 sections/mods and the mods are then joined together on site. The biggest advantage to this is cost and on-site construction time being a lot less than other system-built options. Some disadvantages of modular construction are design and size constraints. Size and design restrictions are a major factor due to shipping constraints and needing to fit on a flatbed truck. You are also limited to what you can do with your floor plan. Open concept ceilings are popular and cannot typically be incorporated in modular home design.

If you are looking for a basic and straightforward design, it could be an option to explore! If your design has more custom details and intricacies, it 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 made up of Douglas fir or other wood species makes up the structural component of a home. Today, most timber frame companies use CNC machinery to cut the wood and then hand-finished by carpenters. Timber frame adds a unique look as it offers soaring ceilings and beautiful wooden exposed beams on the inside of a home. Typically, it takes 3-5 days to erect a timber frame structure on-site. After the timbers are erected, the frame is wrapped with Structural Insulated Panels (SIPS). SIPS construction is also prefabricated in a factory using OSB for the skins sandwiching a solid foam core for the insulation. More info on SIPS can be found below.

Timber framing isn’t for everyone, but it does offer a more refined wood look and can also be incorporated with conventional construction to create a hybrid approach, where you can determine how much timber you would like to incorporate. Also, timber framing looks like any ordinary home on the outside, so it will blend in with conventional homes in your new neighborhood.

SIPS Construction

SIPS construction is also a specialty type of construction and 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 larger sections so they can fit on a flatbed truck. It offers another way to prefabricate your home and they also offer superior R values. Another bonus using SIPS is that they create such an airtight structure with no thermal bridging, creating continuous and stable insulation.

Some SIPS panels are joined together with splines and some by locking panels together. In fact, Murus Company, a SIPS manufacturer, uses a patented cam-lock system and can save up to 30% on installation time over SIPS that use the spline method to join panels together.

Log Home Construction

Log homes are a unique way of building and offer a rustic look with exposed logs in your home. For those wanting a rustic retreat, it’s a great option. Like all the other system-built options, logs are also 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 as well as 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 which include 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!