A Guide to the Rising Trend of Modular Homes

Sustainable, cost-effective, fast and simple to build. It’s easy to see why more and more Australians are opting to purchase a modular home. Our guide will help you learn more about this innovative housing trend so you can determine if it’s the right option for you.

What are modular homes?

Modular homes, also known as prefabricated or factory-built homes, are houses that are manufactured in off-site production facilities. The prefab components (or modules) of the house are then transported to and assembled on-site by builders. Modular homes, also known as prefabricated or factory-built homes, are houses that are manufactured in off-site production facilities. The prefab components (or modules) of the house are then transported to and assembled on-site by builders. 

Not to be confused with mobile homes, modular homes are set in place permanently and are very similar to a traditional home with the main difference being that the modules required to construct a prefab home are built off-site.

Modular homes are often constructed with the same quality materials used to build traditional homes. They meet and often exceed building standards which ensures their structural durability.

Design and range of modular homes

From smaller granny flats and studios to extensions and full-scale family homes, there are countless modular housing sizes and styles to cater for a range of needs and budgets.From smaller granny flats and studios to extensions and full-scale family homes, there are countless modular housing sizes and styles to cater for a range of needs and budgets.

Many people assume that because modular homes are manufactured off-site they restrict the home owners design input. However, the increased demand for prefab buildings, in both the residential and commercial sectors, has driven the market to ensure that they are highly customisable.  Almost every element of your home can be tailored including your floor plan, paint colours, windows, doors, flooring, tapware and cladding. This level and range of customisation options has continued to grow steadily in recent years, largely driven by technology (such as computer-aided design and 3D printing) becoming more sophisticated. However, no matter your vision, most soon-to-be home owners will start with a rough sketch or select a standard design and add, remove or alter rooms as required. 

Many prefab companies work closely with clients to modify their designs to meet their specific site or lifestyle requirements. Some even offer a custom service that allows homeowners to create their own unique designs.

Modular home companies

While not an exhaustive list, below are some examples of Australian modular home companies, providing options for a diversity of styles and budgets:

3 key benefits of modular homes

So why, you ask, are so many Australians considering modular homes? There are many benefits on offer, but top of the list are ease of build, sustainability and cost-effectiveness:

1. Ease of build

With the house modules being manufactured in a sheltered, off-site factory, the amount of time required to assemble and install it is greatly reduced. This means weather and the associated construction challenges won’t blow out your timelines which is a common occurrence when building a traditional home. Construction can also be completed whilst the site is being prepared which further minimises potential delays. The overall building process can be reduced from years to months or completion may even take mere weeks. It largely depends on the size of the home and the quality of the modular home provider and building team.

2. Sustainability

Modular homes are considered a more sustainable option, as they tend to have a low environmental footprint and minimise waste. For example, fewer building materials are transported (and used) with a modular home than a conventional build.

Passive design principles are often integrated into modular homes. The provider is able to consider and respond to the climate, site and location in the design of a building so that it maintains a comfortable temperature.

Examples include insulation, skylights, glazed windows, the thermal mass (how it stores and absorbs heat) of the materials used, passive cooling (i.e. air movement and evaporative cooling), and passive heating (i.e. solar heating, the orientation of the home and use of natural shade).

Many modular manufacturers also have the option to use environmentally friendly materials, such as recycled steel and timber, and energy-efficient elements, like solar power and greywater tanks, in the build of the home.

3. Cost-effectiveness

Modular homes are cost-effective in many ways. Homeowners will be able to reduce their building spend through a streamlined design process especially when using an existing model or selecting a limited number of basic customisations. Shorter construction periods will also provide savings on building labour costs. As modular homes are well-designed and energy-efficient savings are likely to continue on amenities such a water and electricity once construction is complete.

As the industry grows and evolves, so too does the popularity of modular homes. Talk to an insurance specialist today to find out how to insure your modular home.