Pre-fabrication is not new, but the ability to work precisely has made the difference in the success.
In 1929, Konrad Wachsmann built a prefabricated home for Albert Einstein near Potsdam, Germany. In the USA from 1941-46, Wachsmann and Walter Gropius manufactured the Packaged House in Massachusetts. In 1946, Celotex of California took over and formed the General Panel Corporation, which lasted until 1952. The reason given for the failure of this early prefabrication effort was that,
“the facility’s equipment failed to provide the proper tolerance needed for the system to work, ultimately affecting output and, consequently, the bottom line."
(Source: Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling by Barry Bergdoll and Peter Christensen)
Precise CAD/CAM production data and documents, combined with accurate CNC equipment have eliminated this excuse for failure. Prefabrication is the way of the future for cost effective housing and commercial buildings.