Ok, so we're a bit biased here (of course) but we'll endeavour to remain objective and honest. Because let's face it – modular homes are not for everyone. There are benefits and drawbacks to either type of building. The key is understanding what the differences are and then applying them to your situation.
So, read on to find out more about the key pro's and con's of each building method and how they generally apply to clients.
That being so, let's eat the elephant in the room first! A common myth is that modular or prefab building is cheaper than building conventionally. While in some instances this might be the case, however the truth is that if you usually are comparing a "project" style home to a "custom-designed" home. And the price for the custom home will be invariably higher than the cookie-cutter project home.
Back to the question at the beginning, if you are only buying for the lowest price, then a project build "onsite" home will be the most cost-effective option for you. However, if you want your very own custom-designed home, then a modular home should be on your options list!
The second area that differs between a modular building and an onsite building is around the design. Onsite construction gives you a lot of flexibility with your home design; your site and budget are the only real constraints. However, with modular building, there are some constraints. The most obvious one is the construction of your home in modules. Then the module size needs to be transportable. As you can imagine, this does add a fair few limitations on what you can and can't do.
So, if you want complete flexibility with your design and don't want to compromise on anything, then an onsite build will most likely be best for you. However, if you are willing and prepared to work with your modular builder's constraints, then a modular home is an option.
On a side note, while there are lots of design constraints with modular, these can be used as design strengths to create a pretty unique and spectacular home that, once complete, is indistinguishable from an onsite built home.
While this is not a common issue, your site will dictate what sort of build is best for you. Regarding your home site, we've listed the two main challenges you will face if you consider a modular home.
- Covenants. If your land location is in a new estate or similar, these will quite often have a "brick and tile" type building covenant which will rule the vast majority of modular home builders out of your shopping list.
- Access. We are experts at getting your home onto a tight block, however, we do have our limits. Generally speaking, if you can't get a semi-trailer truck to your site, we're not going to be able to deliver a modular home!
Now, this is where a modular home really shines. Due to factory building's inherent benefits, modular build times are generally around half that of an onsite built home! So, if you're looking to create a new home in the fastest time possible, then start with your closest modular builder. Some prefab home builders can have lead times as low as 12 weeks for standard designs.
The other factor at play here is time on site. A modular home is completed and handed over with four weeks of arriving onsite. This fast build time means that you're not going to end up with tradies, trucks and junk blowing around your land for six months.
Another obscure benefit of modular home building is the fixed pricing. As you can imagine, a modular builder doesn't want to have the home held up in their factory – it's going to muck the production line around a fair bit. While this means that once your home construction starts in the factory, you can't make any changes, it does give you the benefit of getting a fully fixed price contract!
"I thought all builders do this", you may say. Well, you'd be shocked to know that it is scarce in the building industry to find a builder who doesn't work on issuing variations. In fact, in the project building space, the variations are used to increase the builder's margin on the home – hardly a fixed and final price.
On a final note, let's talk about bank finance. We quite often hear the statement that banks will not finance modular homes. This is not the truth and is just another myth! Our company would not be operating if banks did not provide finance for modular homes, with over 40% of our home builds funded by a bank.
If your bank tells you that they will not fund a modular home, make sure you clearly explain the building method. Sometimes, the bank can be confused into thinking that a modular build is an owner build or kit home, which banks do not provide finance for.
Well, we hope you have found this article insightful. We've tried to remain as unbiased and objective as possible and hope that it clarifies the best building option for you and your site. If you have any questions or queries about these points, we'd be more than happy to have a quick chat on the phone to discuss them and clarify if a modular home is the best option for you or not.