The Complete Guide
Kit Homes vs Modular Homes in Australia
Prefabricated homes have far more similarities with standard houses than people may think. Just like the classically-built houses, these structures provide homeowners with everything they might need to make their kit or modular home into a suitable living space. And just like classically-built houses, they require a significant investment of finances and time.
Most people will be prepared to make that investment, but before you even consider putting the first brick down or even committing to a type of prefab home, it’s important that you’re aware of the distinct characteristics of both modular and kit homes to be able to make an informed choice.
Table of Contents
Kit homes are designed and shipped in parts and are assembled on the property of the buyer. This method of constructing a house is a bit rigid as it doesn’t allow much room for changes past the initial planning stages of the home’s layout.
In practice, this means that exact measurements need to be made straight from the get-go, based on the requirements of the client and what they will need in order to get the most out of their home. While this may seem a bit distressing, it’s not really as difficult as it sounds, and the company you’re contracting will provide a team of professionals that can help you during any stage of the process, as well as answer any questions you might have.
It should also be noted that even though there are certain restrictions that will apply after the initial planning and blueprint stages, kit homes do come with an assortment of extras that can be included without making drastic redesign choices.
These additions usually amount to balconies or extensions to the rooms or the floor layout, although the scope of the alterations can’t vary greatly from the standard designs that kit homes usually come in.
Modular homes are designed as separate modules that are later connected on location. This allows a lot more flexibility when it comes to making the floor plan, measuring room dimensions, and the amount of necessary materials that are required to complete it.
Additionally, modular homes also allow a lot more modifications to be made to the initial blueprints, even if the construction has already started. In fact, depending on the exact changes that the client requests, things such as light fixtures or even non-load bearing wall placements can be modified much later in the building process than you might think.
The major disadvantage to this sort of design work as opposed to the way that most kit homes are planned out is that it will take up a lot more time. This is mostly due to the fact that modular homes, unlike the kit homes, need to have the fittings properly measured out and placed right from the start.
Luckily, while this does mean that the house will take a bit more time to complete, it will also ensure that everything is ready to connect the second that the modular home is on the property, and that there aren’t any unnecessary mistakes when it comes to connecting the house to the water system for example.
In general kit homes take much less time to construct than modular homes. This is largely due to most kit homes being much smaller than a lot of modular homes, but the way that the kits are made and put together also play a large part.
Unlike the more classic methods that are used in the construction of modular homes, kit homes are made in a way that allows skilled builders to simply assemble them as easily as putting together a puzzle.
Due to the fact that all of the house components are already present on the property, as long as all of the necessary permits are taken care of and all of the fittings are in place, a kit home can be put up in a few weeks or a few months, depending on weather conditions.
The most precarious element of the construction is making sure that each piece fits together properly so that the integrity of the structure isn’t compromised. However, even if there are a few components that don’t exactly match up, small alterations can usually be made to the pieces that don’t quite fit on-site without having to take apart the entire structure.
When it comes to where modular homes are built, the clients actually have 2 options. You can either choose to have it built on the property itself, or to have it built in a warehouse and simply have it transported and connected after it’s fully constructed.
You should be aware that certain companies will only offer one option or the other, but there are plenty that give their customers the option to choose where they would like their house to be constructed.
Building the house on-site will guarantee that the foundations are set properly and that there is as little chance of a mistake in measurement or placement as possible. This will also allow the company to forego the transportation and fitting process for the home, which is no small feat, regardless of how many times they’ve completed it successfully.
The biggest advantage of building the modular home in a warehouse is the time frame of the construction. As the building process takes place indoors, there won’t be any delays due to weather conditions or poor lighting, and the team can work around the clock to complete the project in as little time as possible.
Initially, kit homes are generally cheaper than modular homes, though putting an exact figure on the cost is very difficult since it will always vary depending on the exact specifications of the home, the company that you buy it from, and even the state of your property.
Speaking of your property, the reason why kit homes are more cost-effective only at the time of purchase is because there are additional fees that will need to be covered when the time actually comes to install them.
These additional fees include the costs of hiring a contractor and a crew to fully assemble the home on your property, as well as the price of linking up all of the necessary connections like plumbing, electrical, and so on.
It is recommended that you speak with a professional ahead of time in order to get at least a semi-accurate quote on how much the entire project is going to cost, building permits and all. If you neglect to do this, then you shouldn’t be surprised that the final toll vastly exceeds the purchase price of the kit home.
Keep in mind though, if you know what needs to be done and are able to engage a good contractor to finish your house for you, the final price might still result in a cheaper option than a lot of modular homes, especially the more extravagant models.
In general, most modular homes will have a higher price tag than most available kit homes, due to all of the additional costs of building this sort of house. While this sounds like it gives the competition a bit of an advantage, the truth is that it’s quite the opposite.
One of the biggest advantages that modular homes have over kit homes is the fact that most companies will include the final fittings and even the carpeting and the lighting as included costs that will be taken care of for the client without them having to lift a finger.
These inclusions that the buyer is paying for will also include the on-site installation, the bathroom and kitchen installations, and even the carpeting and the lighting.
This is great news for aspiring modular homeowners, as they won’t have to worry about engaging additional help in order to get their home to a point when it’s actually liveable, unlike kit homes. All of this results in an admittedly higher price tag, but one that is worth paying in order to get the full package.
However, despite all of the positives, at the end of the day, these sorts of homes will put a significant dent in your wallet. While this shouldn’t be enough to scare people off, the point that we’re trying to make is that you should be prepared for the financial burden before you start the project in the first place.
Kit homes are generally smaller and quicker to build than most mid to large-sized modular homes. Their initial cost is also significantly lower than pretty much any modular home that’s on the market. However, keep in mind that paying for all of the necessary permits and finishing additional work that will need to be done before the house is deemed liveable will need to be personally taken care of by the owner.
Modular homes will take more time to build, but will require no additional work or payments to complete after all of the pre-established necessary costs have been covered. In general, they will offer more living space and flexibility in their design, though that will depend on the size of the property, the available budget, and the company that’s building it.
Both of these prefabricated houses have their strong points and weaknesses. But regardless of which you choose, they both offer plenty of advantages that won’t make you think twice about choosing either of them.