Prefab or Construction Site Built: Which Booth is Best?

Prefab Construction or On-Site-Built – Which Guard Booth Is Best?

There are benefits and drawbacks associated with choosing a prefabricated versus a stick-built security booth. Choosing the best booths to suit your needs is an important and individual decision.

Simply put, prefab construction techniques involve manufacturing a building, or the components thereof, in a location other than the place where it will be housed. For example, building a modular house in a factory and then delivering it to the property where the house will be used is prefabrication.


While prefab construction is becoming more and more popular in the booth building industry as people seek tighter tolerances and quality, building something on site is still the most popular method of construction today. When you build something on site you choose the place to build, collect the supplies and assembly equipment, bring it all to the site, and get to work using sweat equity to make a vision come to life with your own hands (or hands you paid to do the work).

There are definite pros and cons to each booth construction method. Let’s take a look at prefab vs traditional construction booth options, and consider how that applies to you renting, building, or buying a guard booth or other prefabricated structures for your business.

A construction worker using a power saw and making sparks

When considering prefab vs traditional construction, there are both pros and cons of prefabrication to evaluate. Use these tried and true stick-built methods to make yourself an on site guard house.

Benefits of Building On-Site:

  • You get to choose all the building materials and can make adjustments to the supplies as necessary throughout the construction.
  • You are in charge of determining who will assemble your booth, and you can have direct knowledge of the skill level that the individual has.
  • You may be able to acquire the building materials at a lower price point if you have the ability to order wholesale or some other connections.
  • You can outfit the building with any accessories that you deem necessary, as long as your build crew is capable of installing them.

A construction worker working with wood

Drawbacks of Building On-Site:

  • Inclement weather and other setbacks can delay construction at the security booth site.
  • When the job is over you will have excess materials that you paid for and will need to dispose of.
  • Hiring reliable, licensed, bonded, construction workers can be a daunting task and you become responsible for their safety on the job.
  • Acquiring engineering plans and construction permits can be a time-consuming and costly undertaking. Often, multiple permits are required at different points in the building process, which can really slow things down.
  • It is impossible when starting out to truly know what the final cost will be. Unexpected costs add up quickly and very often become considerably more expensive than the purchase price of a prefab unit in the end.

Workers assembling a blue guard booth in a parking lot.

Prefabricated buildings also have advantages and disadvantages – no choice is perfect. Here’s some points to keep in mind when you’re thinking about prefab parking construction.

 Benefits of Prefab Construction:

  • Prefabricated buildings are available in standard models as well as the option to be custom designed and built to your guard house buildings exact requirements.
  • Companies have established and proven prefab construction methods.
  • There is a shorter build time because of the experience of the workers and controlled conditions in the construction facility. In fact, standards designs are sometimes available immediately.
  • There is stringent quality control. Your building is being manufactured with the highest level of craftsmanship by experts in the field who build prefabricated booths day-in-day-out for many years.
  • Your cost is quoted and set in stone before the project is started, so there are no unexpected surprises along the way.
  • You have access to work with an experienced staff to determine which designs, décor, and features are best for you.
  • You can have your shack outfitted with any accessories that you can imagine from lighting to security cameras and beyond.
  • You can pre-order your shack already outfitted with everything you need, so the shack is totally ready to work for you upon delivery.

Five blue guard booths ready for delivery.

Drawbacks of Prefab Construction:

  • Paying at least a 50% deposit up front to confirm your order (though most manufacturers offer financing options so money doesn’t keep you from getting what you need).
  • Depending on the particular design you choose, you may end up waiting on delivery and nothing will be happening at your property until the pre-arranged delivery date.
  • If you do not have completely accurate measurements of the space where you want the booth delivered, your booth may not fit in the intended space.
  • Buying a prefabricated booth may seem more costly than traditional construction at first glance (though often, the reverse is true when all is said and done because of unexpected costs that arise during traditional construction).

A blue guard booth on a forklift.

Making the Choice

Making the choice between prefab construction of a guard shack and one built on site is not easy. Both shack building techniques have advantages and disadvantages to consider.

 A small prefabricated building wrapped up on a flatbed trailer.

Quite often people enter into a project wide-eyed and optimistic, only to be met with bitter disappointment when the endeavor doesn’t turn out as well as they hoped. Sometimes it’s fun and exciting to take on a new mission but the more dollar signs associated with a task, the better off you may be leaving it to the professionals. It’s one thing to suffer a small loss because the solar lights you thought would work burned out after a month, but it’s quite another to lose out on thousands of dollars when you thought traditional guard house construction would be cheaper and better than prefab construction.

A warehouse full of prefabricated guard booths.

Look, if your cousin Kevin is a skilled general contractor with an award-winning crew who will assemble your booth on-site, free of charge, perhaps conventional construction is the way to go. If not, click here to read more about prefabricated booths to determine if prefab construction techniques are a good fit for you and your business.

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