Kit Homes in California: panelized or precut

two story kit home

Kit Homes in California: panelized or precut

Everything You Need to Know About Building with Kit Homes In California

7min read
by Olesia Chikunova, ADU Specialist.

Home construction costs in California are at an all-time high, even though some say that buying a home here is more expensive than building one. Are you looking for ways to get a comfortable home at an affordable price? Consider building a kit home in California! Getting a house that anyone can mistake for a custom home may be an excellent choice.


Not only is it cost-effective, but plenty of benefits come with making your own house – from using eco-friendly materials and leaving a smaller carbon footprint to pre-engineered plans that allow customizing features according to your style! We have all the information you need to get started on your very own California kit home project. And we have all the necessary skills to help you do it – our founder had built 5 houses with home kits for her family.

What You Need to Know About Modern Prefab Homes?

Is a Home Kit a Modular home?
steel framed home kit

Prefab houses come in modules or preassembled sections, making them ideal for those who want to build their own home but lack the time or expertise to construct a traditional stick-built structure. Modern prefab homes are becoming increasingly popular due to their convenience, affordability, and efficient design. 


These homes are typically constructed from pre-engineered plans that eliminate the need for complex pre-construction processes, allowing them to be permitted quickly and cost-effectively. They also come in various shapes, sizes, materials, and designs to meet any housing needs. Modern prefab homes make building your own home easier than ever before. 

While modular homes and buildings are a great way to build a new home or commercial building quickly and efficiently, they are not home kits. Both are prefabricated homes, though. All modulars are pre-fabs, not all pre-fabs are modulars! A modular home is a factory-built, pre-engineered house constructed off-site and then delivered in one piece or sections to the construction site.

A Kit Home : Wall Panels or a Precut Lumber Package

The panelized home kit involves prefabricating walls with panels made from wood or other materials cut to size and assembled on-site. 


The panelized wall-building system eliminates the need for complex framing methods, allowing you to get your kit home up and running in a fraction of the time. Additionally, panelized wall-building systems are more affordable than traditional stick-built homes, making them an attractive option for those looking to save money on their project. 


The panelized home kit consists of panelized walls, floors, and roof sections constructed off-site in a factory and then delivered to the job site. Pre-built walls and roof sections must be pieced together in the correct order.


Precut home kits include all the individual parts typically needed to build a single-family dwelling – it will come precut and numbered to make assembly on site a piece of cake (as long as you follow strict manufacturer’s instructions).

In California and across the United States, kit homes are an increasingly popular option for those planning, designing, and constructing their dream home. An owner-builder can benefit from modern designs and enjoy cost savings while managing the entire process from A to Z if they so want. 

This method is especially ideal for those who do not have the time or resources to design their own home from scratch. The factories produce the designs on repeat, so you can be sure multiple homeowners have previously tested the solution.


Kit homes have been around since the late 1800s when they were created as an affordable way to quickly build a house. Nowadays, many companies offer complete kit homes that come in a variety of sizes and styles. Pacific Modern Homes is an apparent industry leader. The factory builds homes from 600 square feet, making it perfect for beachfront getaways, in-law units, or year-round residences. 


California is one of the most popular states for building kit homes due to its average home sales price – even a homeowner, who engages a local builder to assemble a kit and complete construction, will see lower building costs while benefiting from high-quality materials.

Plus, once the construction is completed, you will never guess if this home (see image below) was built with steel frame kit, wood frame kit or in a traditional stick built method with a lot of waste on site.

house built with a home kit

Sustainability and Energy Efficiency of Kit Homes

Kit homes in California are becoming increasingly popular due to their energy efficiency and sustainability. Precut and panelized home kits have been around for decades. They are now gaining more attention due to the growing demand for environmentally-friendly housing options. 

The main benefit of kit homes in California is their sustainability because they are usually made on the factory floor. This means less material waste is generated during construction, reducing the environmental impact of building new housing. 

The prefabricated components of kit homes and repeatability also mean that construction times are significantly shorter than those for traditional houses, which can help to save energy and resources during the building process. 

The pre-manufactured components are designed to be insulated and airtight, helping to keep the home’s interior at a comfortable temperature year-round. This means homeowners can save on energy costs since they won’t have to use as much heating or cooling to maintain a comfortable environment. Even if the panels do not include insulation (to be added after the framing is done), new California regulations ask for energy calculations as part of the building permit process. 

In addition to their environmental benefits, kit homes in California also tend to cost less than traditional homes because they require less time to construct. 

framing walls

The Floor Plans of Kit homes

Floor plans for kit homes in California are often flexible and customizable, allowing homeowners to create their perfect home. Kit homes typically come with pre-engineered plans that can be adapted to suit personal preferences. Floor plan options usually include single and two-story designs, open floor plans with plenty of space for entertaining guests, and large windows for natural light.


How To Choose the Best Building Site for Kit Homes?

It’s important to consider the building site when considering kit homes in California. The size of your lot may determine the type of home that can be built and how much construction is required. 


It’s important to remember that some areas may have restrictions on how large a home can be or what materials are allowed for construction. When in doubt, remember: flat lands are always best.


modern house built with a kit home

Check With Building Department Before Signing a Contract

building permit

It’s essential to check with your local building department before starting construction on any kit home in California, as specific requirements may need to be met. California also has specific regulations for all types of building projects. 


For instance, all projects must comply with the California Building Standards Code and applicable local building codes. Depending on the scope of your project, you will need to obtain permits from the local jurisdictions. 


If you are using a prefab home kit, you will also require a certificate of approval or occupancy permit from either your city or county building department. Additionally, it is essential to follow all the instructions in your kit for installation and assembly and ensure that any changes you make to the design comply with all local building codes. 


Abiding By the Rules Issued By the State Of California 

Building a kit home in California is subject to the state’s strict building codes. The California Building Standards Commission oversees the development of statewide building standards and has established general requirements for all types of construction, from traditional stick-built homes to prefabricated, panelized kits. These regulations protect public health, safety, and the environment. 


For example, California requires that any kit home be anchored to the ground with approved anchor bolts and seismic straps to meet earthquake safety requirements. 


Additionally, all prefabricated homes must follow strict energy efficiency standards set by California. Finally, in High Fire Hazard Zones, or WUI zones, all kit homes may be required to meet fire-resistant building materials requirements for roofing, siding, and floor covering. 


Installing Roof Trusses for Better Support

Roof trusses are an essential part of kit homes in California. A roof truss is a structural piece that supports the roof and walls of your home, transferring the weight of the building materials to its supporting structure. Regarding shed roofs, several types of truss designs are available on the market for kit homes in California. 


Most trusses come pre-engineered and require minimal assembly. Depending on the design, roof trusses may be constructed with 2x4s or 2x6s for added support and stability. 


They can also be customized to fit your specific roof size and pitch. When installing a roof truss system, it is crucial to ensure that all the pieces fit together correctly and that all the connections are secure. If done correctly, a roof truss system can provide your kit home in California with added strength and stability for years. 


How Does the Construction Process Work?

Building a kit home in California requires careful planning and preparation before you begin construction. Understanding your kit’s components and the necessary tools and materials for assembly is important. You may often find mentions of low-cost home kits in the news. Read the small print – you will often find that the kit contains only framing, while the rest – windows, doors, drywall, solar panels, etc. – must be added on. A home kit is often just a starting point.

Once you have a clear understanding of the building process, you will need to establish a timeline that accounts for all construction phases. You can also hire an experienced contractor who is familiar with prefabricated kits to ensure your project goes smoothly. 


The construction process typically consists of laying a foundation, assembling the prefabricated sections, and finishing the interior and exterior of your home. With careful planning and execution, building a kit home in California can be an exciting and satisfying project that will give you years of enjoyment. 


Building a kit home in California can be an exciting and rewarding experience. The key to success is planning ahead and understanding the steps that must be taken throughout the project. 


When it comes to kit homes, you will need to select the right floor plan for your needs, purchase pre-engineered plans from local suppliers or online retailers, arrange for delivery of the kit components, and assemble and install them according to the instructions provided with your kit. 


Additionally, it is vital to consider the local building codes and regulations in your area, as they will affect all aspects of your project. With careful planning and research, you can ensure a successful building experience. 

How To Get Started on a Kit Home

While a typical process starts with an architect, the building process for kit homes can start with the owner selecting an existing home model. 

Pre-engineered plans are designed to be easy to understand and follow, so you can easily assemble your kit home in a timely and cost-effectively. Additionally, pre-engineered plans are more affordable than traditional stick-built plans, making them an attractive option for those looking to save money on their project. 

These plans consider all the necessary components of your kit, as well as local building codes and regulations. 

While the vendor of a home kit will be able to quickly give you a price for the package, it will take you some time to estimate the costs of site work. You or your home builder will need to navigate the building permit process, and once the permit has been received, you can order the home kit. While the home kit is manufactured, one can start working on the foundation and utilities. Once the home kit has been delivered, construction can begin on-site.

 Kit homes in California typically comprise pre-manufactured wall panels, roof trusses, and floors. Once these have been assembled, the building project can be finished by adding siding, windows, doors, and other custom finishes.

Navigating the Construction Costs

The cost of building a kit home in California will depend on the size and complexity of your project and the materials you choose to use. Kit homes typically range from $50,000 for smaller models to over $400,000 for larger and more complex structures[8], depending on square footage. Certain costs, such as labor or foundation work, will be added depending on the scope of your project. Additionally, if you are building in a remote area where there is no access to utility lines, your costs may be significantly higher. It is important to research all the components and materials required for your project before starting construction to accurately budget for the entire build cost. 


A Panelized Wall Building System is an efficient way to complete a Site-Built Home where construction of a modular home is not an option because of site restrictions.

For those who want the satisfaction of watching their home built from the ground up, kit homes are a great option. This type of construction involves building the entire structure on-site, from framing and foundation to insulation and finishings. 

 It also gives you better control over the quality of construction – you can “course correct” if there is anything you want to improve on.

The end result is usually much higher quality and longer lasting. These homes also give you more flexibility in terms of design, allowing you to customize your home according to your needs and preferences. With careful planning and execution, site-built homes can be a great way to build the dream home you’ve always wanted in California. 

Building a kit home in California can be an exciting and rewarding experience. With careful research, pre-engineered plans, and the right materials, you can build your dream home more easily and affordably. 


Whether you choose prefabricated sections or build with wall panels on-site, many options are available to suit your needs and budget. With proper preparation and planning, you can build a beautiful home in California that will last for years. 

classic design house built from kit home

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