Fast & Fabulous
If speed, ease of construction & cost savings are a
priority, a modular home may be the right solution
Modular homes cover a range of price points but they can be a cost-effective option for those who need to keep an eye on the budget, and they offer quicker construction times. Most modular homes can be manufactured in 14 to 16 weeks and once delivered to site, can take as little as a day to reconnect. Other benefits include added quality assurance and reduced waste.
With a modular home, the dwelling is built off-site in a factory or manufacturing facility. The structural units, or modules, are then split up and delivered by flat-bed trucks to the site, where they are rejoined and the home completed. Each module comes complete with the walls, floor and ceiling attached, the plumbing and wiring incorporated, and the essential fixtures and fittings installed.
The size of the finished home will, of course, vary. While there was a time when modular homes were constrained in terms of width and overall size, great strides in construction technology and methods of transport have made it possible to build much larger homes and even create multi-level dwellings.
The Speed of Construction
“The main benefit is the speed of construction. The site works and footings can commence while the construction of the factory component is underway, resulting in a much compressed timeframe,” says Gerard Goldsmith, Broadworth Modular Homes’ building designer. “While a kit home involves getting building elements such as frames, cladding and windows delivered to site for yourself or a builder to assemble, a modular home involves a completed product getting delivered to site, with the only work required being service connection and any on-site decks, garages etc the client may want.
“One of the main benefits of prefabricated modular homes includes no delays in weather, resulting in shorter construction times. The short turnaround time on-site also means there is less damage to the surrounding area and the environment, and less chance of theft as the home is delivered and installed immediately to lock-up stage,” says Jacky McDougall, co-owner of Parkwood Modular Buildings.
While the relative swiftness of construction is a main attractor, it’s not just about how long the off-site manufacturing and on-site reconnection processes take. It’s also about how quickly things can happen once you’ve found your builder and determined your design. “We usually begin building the components within a month of contract signing,” says Gerard.
The Cost Savings
For many, the potential for cost savings is the main drawcard. Explains Gerard, “Prices can be given for a complete turnkey product, although it’s very important to know what the specific inclusions and exclusions are to avoid any surprise costs throughout the build.”
A home might typically come with cladding, internal linings and insulation to the roof, ceilings, walls and floor, plumbing, electrical, tiling, floor coverings, bathrooms, a kitchen, curtains/blinds, fittings and the painting completed. Some of these things might come as standard, others might be optional extras. The final cost will also include delivery, installation and, if you want, foundations. “Sometimes clients wish to complete their own painting or landscaping to savey money,” says Gerard.
For some, its the simplifed approach that appeals most. Modular home companies offer a one-stop shop, which streamlines the process. “At Parkwood, the design, construction documentation and supervision are all carried out in-house by fully qualified tradesmen and sub-contractors, with regular visits by an external engineer,” says Jacky.
Most prefabricated modular home companies offer a range of standard designs, which leads to a more cost-effective build compared to a custom or project home. Others, like Broadworth, specialise in individual designs, which means the cost will be more. But whatever approach you choose, look for a reputable company with a proven track record.
Low Waste, High Quality
One of the benefits is the opportunity that modular construction provides for reduced material wastage because the components are precision-made in a controlled factory environment. The manufacturing process also allows for high levels of quality assurance and structures that are more airtight than those built in the traditional manner. Another major benefit is the reduced environmental impact as there is less land disturbance and less on-site waste than there is with a conventional home building project.
The modular construction can also be very sustainable and there are several modular and prefabricated building companies who prioritise eco-friendly construction. Companies such as Archiblox can offer the complete package, including homes that are designed along passive solar principles and incorporate everything from waste water treatment systems to the use of FSC-certified external timbers. The company is even using recyclable steel frames in an increasing number of its projects.
But it’s not just modular homes that are proving popular because of ease of construction and predictable quality. Companies such as Parkwood Modular Buildings offer two-, three- and four- to six-bedroom modular homes, as well as one- and two-bedroom granny flats, Smart Pods that can be used for anything from a studio to a home office, and cabins.
Young & Old
Modular homes appeal to young and older
buyers, although, adds Gerard, “Our main client
base is people building their second or third
home — those who are looking for a faster and
more controlled process, people who have often
had bad experiences with mainstream project
home builders.” But the benefits are many for
first-time homeowners because a modular
build offers a more predictable process and that
added certainty can be a comfort.
A potential problem is that modular homes
aren’t suitable for every site. “Some sites have
limited access, which can pose problems,
or there may be restrictions placed by local
councils who aren’t up to speed with newer
construction methods,” says Gerard. Sloping
sites can sometimes be an issue, but a skilled
modular home builder can talk you through the
limitations and help find effective solutions for
the most common challenges.
Despite the occasional site-related hitch, a
modular home speeds the construction process,
results in lower material costs, reduces waste
and involves a high level of quality assurance.
What more could you want?
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