Charlie Lazor
Charlie Lazor

Minneapolis-based Charlie Lazor first introduced the panelized FlatPak house in 2005. Since then, his firm, Lazor Office, has built 18 FlatPaks. Over the past few months, it’s also introduced a lower-priced version of the house. “The original FlatPak is really a high-performance building envelope,” Lazor says. “We’ve simplified the construction of it so it’s more in line with the way houses are typically built.” The new iteration will cost around $200 to $220 per square foot, whereas the original FlatPak, which is still available, costs approximately $260 to $290 per square foot.

The company’s own shop in northwestern Wisconsin produces the FlatPaks, which it then takes charge of assembling on the site. “The benefit of doing FlatPak and other modern prefab is that there’s a high degree of predictability—of cost, schedule, and what you’re going to get,” Lazor explains. He estimates that his panelized houses cost an average of 15 percent to 20 percent less than a comparable stick-built custom home.

He’s also explored modular prefab, as opposed to panelized, and found that he can achieve a modular price point starting at $180 per square foot. Additionally, about a third of the firm’s current workload is stick-built. “It really depends on what the client wants,” Lazor says. 

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architect: Lazor Office, Minneapolis
in the prefab business since: 2005
prefab homes completed: 19
prefab method: Panelized and modular
average construction cost: $180 to $290 per square foot