Prefabricated house

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Budde prefabricated house (1948)
First OKAL prefabricated house (1959)
Prefabricated building in Bergfelde
DDR prefabricated house in the 1986 Genex catalog
Wooden stud wall in a carpentry
Assembly of a prefabricated house (also available as a time-lapse video )

The term prefabricated house is generally used to denote a house which - at least in part - is delivered to the construction site prefabricated at the factory and is then finally assembled. As a rule, type approvals are available for classic prefabricated houses . However, there are no uniform, binding definitions for the term " prefabricated house ".

According to ÖNORM B 2310 of the Austrian Standards International in Austria , which has been in force since 2009 , a prefabricated house is "a structure built on a prepared substructure made of prefabricated, floor-to-ceiling large panel wall elements, room cells and prefabricated ceiling and roof elements that are manufactured in production facilities regardless of the weather This standard applies to residential buildings (one and two-family houses, terraced houses, multi-storey residential buildings), office buildings, kindergartens, schools and multi-purpose houses and regardless of the building materials used (wood, concrete, brick). This standard does not include structures that are "constructed with non-storey, but prefabricated individual load-bearing structural elements, such as houses made of brick, aerated concrete, hollow blocks or casing stones or wooden block house planks", or that do not meet a certain minimum scope of services.


Villa Undine from 1885 in Binz on Rügen , a so-called Wolgasthaus and one of the first prefabricated houses in the world

Already in medieval half-timbered construction in Germany, the components were prefabricated, marked with so-called rhombuses and transported to the construction site on a suitable wagon. This was also due to the fact that the carpenters at the time had to do the work of felling and cutting in addition to the construction work. Such prefabricated structures sometimes even found their way across the sea, to Iceland and Greenland, wherever the people were willing to settle and the surrounding area did not provide the necessary materials. Even in ancient Greece there are indications that parts of structures such as temples were manufactured in foreign locations, put together and taken apart again for transport.

In 1516, Leonardo da Vinci described his plan to build an ideal city on the Loire, consisting exclusively of demountable type houses. Only the foundations should be created on site.

In 1624, panel elements were used in England to create prefabricated shelters for the state fishing fleet. They were transportable and could be erected within a short time without the help of specialist staff. The accommodations were functional, as the fleet could be used so mobile without building new houses in all locations.

This construction method was then used primarily by the military: In the late 18th century, hospital barracks were transported from Vienna to the distant theaters of war in Slovenia.

In America, the prefabricated houses appeared increasingly during the gold rush (1848). In order to offer accommodation to the masses streaming west, prefabricated accommodation was created that could be set up quickly without specialist staff. This is where the “mass production” of prefabricated wooden houses that could be dismantled began.

The so-called Wolgast houses in the style of spa architecture are considered the first individual prefabricated houses. These are artistically decorated wooden villas that were manufactured between 1868 and 1910 by the " Wolgaster Actien-Gesellschaft für Holzverarbeitung " in the town of Wolgast off the island of Usedom . By compiling the desired elements such as balconies, verandas or corner towers from an extensive catalog, the clients were able to put their houses together individually and have them largely prefabricated. The Pomeranian company built for clients all over the world, especially for property owners on Usedom and Rügen - and z. B. at Berlin Wannsee , in South America and German East Africa .

The Austrian Count Franz Hardegg acquired a prefabricated house from the World Exhibition in Vienna in 1873 and had it rebuilt as a hunting lodge on the Count's country estate in Veitsch , Austria. Today it serves as the Radwirt alpine inn at the foot of the Hohen Veitsch .

From the world exhibition in Chicago in 1893 , the Berlin-based Oskar Blumenthal brought back a wooden framed Wolgasthaus that was produced in Germany for the world exhibition and that could be dismantled. It was a two-story building with terraces, bay windows and an imposing tower. Allegedly without using a single iron nail, this building was rebuilt in 1895 as Villa Blumenthal in Bad Ischl .

After the first modern prefabricated houses came to Germany mainly from Sweden and Norway, ideas of their own soon emerged in this country too. This development started parallel to the emergence of wood-based panels in the 20s and 30s. In 1931 the Bauhaus architect Walter Gropius in Germany developed a building system made of prefabricated wall panels with an internal wooden structure. He wrote:

"Since 1910 I have been advocating the construction of assembly houses, for the industrialization of house building in lectures and articles, and have carried out research and practical experiments together with industrial companies ... In the factory, an assembly house can be loaded onto a truck with a trailer, with floor and walls , Roof and all the equipment ready to go to the construction site and assembled there in the shortest possible time, regardless of the season ... "

From 1943 to 1945 he improved his development in cooperation with Konrad Wachsmann in the USA to the "Packaged House System" after he had to leave Germany in 1934 as an opponent of the National Socialists. As early as 1940, prefabricated houses were distributed in the USA by mail order, and within a few years over 110,000 houses of the same type were sold.

After 1945

In Germany , the construction of serially manufactured houses became common after the Second World War . Post-war production homes included prefabricated Budde homes and many others. Also steel prefabricated houses as the 1948-1953 built Man Steel House and Hoesch bungalows in the 1960s, came on the market. The pioneers of today's prefabricated house construction in wood composite construction were Otto Kreibaum (OKAL, today Deutsche Fertighaus Holding (DFH)), Walter Zenker ( Zenker house construction , today Bien-Zenker ), Egon Brütsch (POLA prefabricated house), Alfred Bergstedt ( Nordhaus), Hermann Wandke (Hanse), Franz Huf ( Huf Haus ), Hans Streif ( Neckermann-Streif ), Josef Hebel (Hebel-Haus, now Kampa ) and others.

The German prefabricated house market boomed from the beginning of the 1960s. From 1962 onwards, the Quelle GmbH mail order company offered the Huf Haus through the Quelle Fertighaus GmbH and the Kaufhof Group . Most of the 18,000 prefabricated houses that existed in 1962 were imported from Sweden . The Bausparkasse Mainz took over from the Alpine-Holzindustrie GmbH for its customers the entire annual production in 1962 in the amount of 800 prefabricated houses. In some cases, the type delivered by Quelle shaped entire building areas, for example in Bad Harzburg there is a spring settlement named after the company .

However, due to the materials used and the external appearance, prefabricated houses got a negative reputation as "uniform architecture made of cardboard". In addition, there was a scandal in the 1970s about wood preservatives containing PCP and lindane , which had been used in prefabricated houses. Market leaders in Germany in the 1970s were OKAL with over 4,000 houses per year and Neckermann-Streif with over 3,000 houses per year. In the 1980s, the market share of prefabricated houses was only a good seven percent. As part of the emergency aid for reconstruction in earthquake areas, small prefabricated wooden houses were particularly in demand because of their earthquake security.

After the reunification of Germany , prefabricated construction experienced an upturn, especially in the new federal states .

In 2013 around 15.6 percent of the newly built homes in Germany were prefabricated houses. In Baden-Württemberg they had a market share of 25.8 percent, in Lower Saxony only 6.7 percent.

In Austria, the proportion of prefabricated houses in private house construction was almost 30 percent in 2013, in Germany it was over 15 percent, in the USA over 90 percent of all homes are built using wood system construction.


The elements of prefabricated houses can in massive construction (as of reinforced concrete - or masonry construction as in the plate ) or in lightweight construction (e.g., steel or lightweight. Wood construction be manufactured). Either a floor slab or a basement serves as the foundation on which the prefabricated house is then erected.

Massive prefabricated houses have only a small share. Walls made of bricks, concrete, lightweight concrete ( expanded clay ) or concrete blocks are prefabricated here. 95 percent of all prefabricated houses are built using wood. Here, wooden frames are stabilized by cross struts, filled with insulating material and usually covered with plasterboard on the inside and wooden boards on the outside. Other sources differentiate the timber construction in z. B. timber frame construction, timber panel construction. A "stabilization" by cross struts is not necessary for timber frame and timber panel construction. B. wood-based panels (but plasterboard panels are also possible) takes over. For reasons of building physics, the wood-based panels are preferably arranged on the inside of the construction.

Expanded clay lightweight concrete walls for a solid prefabricated house.

In the case of post construction , also known as the “wooden skeleton” construction, vertical posts as load-bearing scaffolding enable multi-storey construction. In contrast, the timber frame construction is not counted as a column construction. Multi-storey timber construction is usually in timber panel construction or a hybrid construction, e.g. B. implemented as a wood-concrete composite. A number of multi-storey buildings were erected up to 2014, including in city centers.

Log houses - mostly offered by Scandinavian or Canadian manufacturers - consist of planks or logs that are interlocked at the corners. Inside there is an insulating layer that is covered with plasterboard or wooden panels .

Prefabricated houses are available as kit houses, extension houses, organic houses (made from biodegradable raw materials) or turnkey .


Advantages of a prefabricated house can be the short construction time as well as fixed prices and deadlines. In addition, model houses can be viewed in advance.

Prefabricated wooden houses have a good ecological balance and, thanks to their insulation, have a low heating energy requirement . However, if one compares different life cycle assessments with one another, general statements are not possible, since the boundary conditions always have a considerable influence on the result of the assessment. According to the Federal Association of German Prefabricated Buildings, almost all prefabricated houses are KfW efficiency houses today .

Prefabricated houses can also be built on rocky or damp ground. The results of the subsoil investigation must be taken into account accordingly. Building on slopes is also possible with “wooden base structures”. However, the term “wooden base structure” is not defined.


Prefabricated houses usually have less sound insulation than solid buildings, whereby it should be noted that the sound insulation goal is always an agreed quality that must be met regardless of the construction method or type of construction.

Prefabricated houses lose u. U. resale value after a few years. This result was achieved by at least one study that was commissioned by the “Massiv Mein Haus eV” association in 2000.

Prefabricated houses are not necessarily cheaper. Series-produced models - so-called "type houses" - only make up a small percentage of prefabricated houses today; more than two thirds are individually planned prefabricated houses. According to the Federal Association of German Prefabricated Buildings, this is one of the reasons why prefabricated houses do not automatically cost less than conventionally built houses. According to industry information, every fourth prefabricated house has an order value of more than 300,000 euros (as of 2013). The price structures and packages on the prefabricated house market are very inconsistent. Depending on the provider, the basic price (usually called a "fixed price") includes differently extensive construction work and the building owner has to provide different amounts of advance work (e.g. building site investigation, paving an access road for heavy trucks, paved space for the crane, rubble containers, electricity, water or insurance) . In addition, there are cost risks, for example when preparing for construction or developing building land.

Quality mark

The Bundesgütegemeinschaft Montagebau und Prefabricated Houses (BMF), the Gütegemeinschaft Deutscher Fertigbau (GDF) and the Gütegemeinschaft Holzbau - Extension - Dachbau (GHAD) award the " RAL quality mark for timber house construction" to certified manufacturers .


  • Peter Burk, Günther Weizenhöfer: Buying and building a prefabricated house , 4th edition, Consumer Center North Rhine-Westphalia, Düsseldorf 2013, ISBN 978-3-86336-034-4 .
  • Oliver Gerst: Finished houses: own contribution in prefabricated house construction. Saving tips, practical reports, sample houses . Blottner, Taunusstein 2005, ISBN 978-3-89367-637-8 .
  • Julia Gill: Individualization as standard: about the discomfort with the prefabricated house architecture . 2010, Architekturen Bd. 3, ISBN 978-3-8376-1460-2 (At the same time dissertation at the TU Braunschweig 2008 under the title: Eigenheimbild und prefabricated house reality. About the discomfort with prefabricated house architecture ).
  • Oliver Jahn, Arnt Cobbers: Prefab Houses , Taschen-Verlag, Cologne 2010 ISBN 978-3-8365-0753-0 .
  • Johannes Kottjé, Angela Raab: This is how a wooden house is created: from planning to moving in . DVA, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-421-03567-7 .
  • Bundesverband Deutscher Fertigbau eV (Ed.): Modern prefabricated timber house construction, current materials, draft planning, constructions. Building physics and building services in timber construction. Advantages in prefabrication and assembly . Weka, Kissing 2001, ISBN 978-3-8277-1195-3 .

See also

Web links

Commons : Prefabricated House Construction  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files
Wiktionary: Prefabricated house  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations



  • Building + Prefabricated House: 1/1985, p.62 - 68, The Prefabricated House - Yesterday and Today; Fachschriften-Verlag, Fellbach / Stuttgart 1985, publisher: Ottmar Strebel
  • Building + Prefabricated House: 2/1985, p. 44 - 50, The prefabricated house - advance to industrial companies; Fachschriften-Verlag, Fellbach / Stuttgart 1985, publisher: Ottmar Strebel
  • Building + Prefabricated House: 5/1985, p.139 - 148, wood - setting the tone; Fachschriften-Verlag, Fellbach / Stuttgart 1985, publisher: Ottmar Strebel
  • BLBS (Federal Association of Teachers) Current 3/2004: History of wood protection; worksheets from the advanced training center for handicrafts and monument preservation Propstei Johannesberg, 6400 Fulda
  • Federal Association of German Prefabricated Buildings eV and team of authors Teaching and Research Practice: Modern prefabricated timber house construction; WEKA MEDIA, Kissing 2001, publisher: Bundesverband Deutscher Fertigbau eV
  • Institute for Building Research eV Hannover (Dr.-Ing.W Triebel): prefabricated house directory; Bauverlag GmbH, Wiesbaden and Berlin
  • Mackenthun, Michael M: Glunz Forum`86 The prefabricated house as a branded product. Chance or illusion ?; Verlag Moderne Industrie, Landsberg / Lech 1986
  • Schäfer, Ingrid: OKAL - pioneer in prefabricated house construction 1928–1998; Salzhemmendorf 1998, Ed .: OKAL Lauenstein

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Prefabricated Houses: The Expensive Dream of a Home from the Factory , Der Spiegel , April 13, 2013
  2. a b c d e f g h i j prefabricated house. The real estate from the catalog , Focus , April 25, 2006.
  3. The prefabricated house ( Memento of the original from February 22, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , there What is a prefabricated house? , Austrian Prefabricated House Association  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  4. Prefabricated houses - terms and definitions as well as minimum scope of services. ÖNORM B 2310: 2009 05 01 , there summary . Austrian Standards International
  5. German prefabricated houses were produced as early as 1890 - the Wolgasthaus as ancestor ( memento of the original from October 6, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. . @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  6. The development of prefabricated wooden houses in Germany - renovation and energetic modernization of prefabricated wooden houses ( Memento of the original from October 1, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. In: from January 15, 2014.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  7. Apartments: As in 1871 . In: Der Spiegel . No. 29 , 1950, pp. 26-31 ( Online - July 20, 1950 ).
  8. Anyone sitting in the steel house is comfortable , , September 21, 2011
  9. steel house in Renninhausen: Old love never dies , Ruhr Nachrichten 10 July 2008
  10. Housing construction / prefabricated houses: dream off the peg . In: Der Spiegel . No. 16 , 1962, pp. 48-66 ( Online - Apr. 18, 1962 ).
  11. a b Off the shelf: The plates are back , Spiegel Online , 2000. Accessed January 30, 2014.
  12. a b c Building off the peg: More and more prefabricated houses in Germany ( Memento from February 2, 2014 in the Internet Archive ), Münstersche Zeitung , September 16, 2013.
  13. Prefabricated houses: There are growth opportunities primarily in exports ( Memento from September 8, 2014 in the Internet Archive ), Wirtschaftsblatt , May 21, 2013
  14. Economic situation of the German prefabricated construction industry: 2013, prefabricated construction
  15. a b Federal Association of German Prefabricated Buildings eV and team of authors, teaching and research practice: modern prefabricated timber house construction; WEKA MEDIA, Kissing 2001, publisher: Bundesverband Deutscher Fertigbau eV
  16. E3 - Esmarchstrasse 3, Berlin
  18. Buying and building a prefabricated house , North Rhine-Westphalia consumer center , 2013. Accessed January 30, 2014.
  19. Research report F04-8-2008: LCA study comparing solid house / timber construction, Technical University Darmstadt-Institute for solid construction, 2008.
  20. Comparative life cycle assessment and life cycle analysis, Saint-Gobain-Rigips, 2010.
  21. The prefabricated construction industry is growing faster than the market , Federal Association of German Prefabricated Buildings, October 11, 2013.
  22. MBO model building regulations
  23. DIN 4109 noise protection in building construction.
  24. Abstract, Resale Value of Solid Houses, DIA Consulting Aktiengesellschaft, 2000.
  25. RAL quality mark for timber house construction