Prefabricated is a broad term for the method used to manufacture and construct homes off-site and then shipping and assembling them later. They differ greatly from traditional houses, which are usually built on-site over a number of months. The most common forms of prefabricated dwellings include tiny houses and cabins. There are a few different types of prefabricated homes, but the most commonly known are kit and modular homes.
Modular homes are manufactured and constructed off-site and will arrive on the property fully assembled. Their design is informed by the need for portability, and they are some of the easiest homes to relocate, even after construction. They will also come with standard inclusions such as electrical fittings and water connections. Once a modular home arrives on a property, it is essentially ready for immediate habitation. Up front, modular homes are the most expensive type of prefab homes as they are the closest to traditional house building methods.
Kit homes are fairly similar, but there is one key difference: a kit home will arrive on the property disassembled, and the homeowner is now responsible for the construction. They can be assembled by individuals or hired contractors, though everyone must have the appropriate understanding of building processes and safety if this is a DIY job. Kit homes often arrive on the property much faster than modular homes as there is no time needed for pre-assembly. The arrival of a kit home can sometimes take as little as a few weeks. Kit homes are also the least expensive type of prefab home initially and can come as cheap as $100 per square metre.
However, these benefits do come with minor considerations. Though a kit home arrives in very little time, the assembly is likely to take longer – especially if you have not hired professionals to assemble the home and intend to DIY. The cost of assembly is also another factor to remember when considering the cheap prices of kit homes.
It is also important to know that kit homes do not always come fitted with the necessary extensions for electricity and water. Features like this, whether they are added before or after construction, will definitely increase the price of a home kit.
On average, a kit home ranges from $400-$600 per square metre. Three-bedroom kit homes with the basic connections necessary to be on the grid start at around $53,400. The average modular home costs between $500-$1000 per square metre, and a basic model will cost between $60,000-$200,000. Regardless of the type, you will see that there is a significant financial advantage to choosing a prefabricated home over traditional home building methods.
The first prefab home company was the American home store Aladdin in the early 1900s. Since then, prefab houses have grown in popularity across the globe, gaining traction in Australia around the Second World War. They are now popular choices for vacation properties, second homes, and in areas with limited space.
Prefab homes Australia: the best brands for prebuilt homes
13. Strine environments
Strine Environments is a modular home architecture firm based in Queanbeyan, NSW renowned for its commitment to sustainable design. Strine has been providing the Canberra regions with high-quality green modular homes for many years, promoting passive solar and recycled materials such as reclaimed timber, steel and concrete. Read more about Strine Environments here.
Ehabitat is an acclaimed manufacturer of eco-friendly, fully modular homes which supply along the majority of the eastern Australian seaboard (NSW, Victoria, TAS and QLD). The company is primarily based in Victoria and Tasmania, but they have a Brisbane-based architect associate to service from Sydney to Cairns.
Ehabitat spaces have an extremely flexible design which can be tailored to your specific environment and requirements. Read more about previous Ehabitat plan layouts here.
11. Valley Workshop
Priding itself on providing some of Australia’s most energy-efficient houses, Valley Workshop is an architecture-led practice with a focus on conservation. Using sustainable materials from local suppliers and intelligent passive design, the modular homes of Valley Workshop are sure to impress all through their serviced states of Tasmania, Victoria and NSW.
Another modular home provider specialising in climate-friendly energy design, CarbonLite homes leads the charge on precision prefabrication and ultra-efficient energy design. Focusing on the principles of passive house design, CarbonLite is based in Melbourne. For more information, see here.
9. Fairweather Homes
Fairweather Homes works in conjunction with MODUS Architects to provide the highest quality prefabricated homes with a strong foundation in sustainable design practices. The company is based in Melbourne and has locations throughout Australia. See more at the website.
8. Maap House
A celebrated modular home builder based in Buladelah, NSW, MAAP House provides affordable and adaptable house-hybrid modular homes across Australia. Read more about the catalogue and prices here.
7. Ecoliv buildings
Ecoliv buildings are sustainably designed modular homes which strike a balance between sustainability and comfort. Browse their catalogue of gorgeous modular homes here.
6. Mode Homes
One of the most well-known builders of modular homes in Australia, Mode Homes provides architecturally designed prefabricated homes from Perth to Sydney. Read more about the company’s critically best-known projects here.
5. Habitech Systems
Based in Sydney, Habitech Systems provides some of the most cost-effective housing options on the current market. Delivering kit homes across NSW, QLD and Victoria, Habitech Systems is known for its unique design approach and focus on innovation.
Ecoshelta is one of the most established modular home building and development firms in Australia. They have paved the way for kit and modular home design throughout their extensive career. Read more about the leaps they have taken in prefab home design here.
Arkit is a renowned prefabrication home provider with extensive experience catering to residential and commercial needs. The brand prides itself on its flexibility and ability to address all client needs on an individual basis.
Archiblox is a modular home company catering to Victoria and NSW with a strong commitment to innovation. Archiblox homes are guaranteed to be sustainable, energy-efficient, and closely attuned to the natural climate. Read more about the studio’s projects here.
Modscape is one of Australia’s leading prefabricated home designers. Known for award-winning projects such as the Phillip Island Project (pictured above), Modscape‘s designs merge the beautiful with the practical to create the perfect home for every client.