Prefabricated homes (also known as modular homes) have been gaining in popularity over the years as they offer a more sustainable, affordable and socially conscious alternative to traditional, on-site builds. Our residential quantity surveyors in Sydney have had their fair share of experience with this alternative and thought it would be great to explore five vital areas that should be considered when choosing between a home built on-site, and a prefabricated home.
1. Durability & quality of materials
This really comes down to the company you use but generally speaking most prefabricated home builders make a point of stating that their quality is on-par with homes built on-site. In fact, because prefab homes are constructed within controlled environments, there is far less chance of any elemental damage occurring during the construction phase such as timber getting soaked.
The foundation of a prefabricated home is actually constructed on-site and will vary in style and materials used depending on a number of factors such as the distance between the floor and the ground or if the sub-floor is enclosed. The modular home is then lowered onto the foundation. If you are considering a prefabricated home, then our residential quantity surveyors recommend shopping around and getting all the facts from each company before advancing.
2. Construction time
For some people, a quick construction time is important whereas others are in no rush to move into their new home. Prefabricated homes are built in enclosed, monitored environments which means rain or shine — construction continues. This ultimately leads to shorter construction times as contractors can finish much faster.
Some prefabrication home companies buy their materials in bulk as well — eliminating the need for trips to bunnings or waiting for deliveries from suppliers. Once prefab homes are completed, they are loaded onto a truck and transported to the desired location where a crane will lower them into place. This can also be done as individual pieces for larger homes.
This is in comparison to homes built on-site which can only operate when the weather allows it and also within certain hours of the day. Depending on where prefabricated homes are being built, there may be some flexibility with construction hours. On the other hand, though, when a house is constructed on-site, everything can be done methodically whereas there are some elements that cannot be completed straightaway during a prefab build.
Utilities such as plumbing, electricity and gas are crucial to a home’s development but require connection to external sources to function. This is something that can be done seamlessly on-site as the home is being constructed using traditional methods. For prefabricated homes, however, this will all have to be done after the fact. How it is handled depends on the company but they will generally prepare everything so that it just needs to be connected upon delivery.
It is no secret that prefabricated homes are actually considered to be a more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional homes built on-site. This is done through a number of methods such as passive energy-efficient design, eco-friendly materials and minimising/recycling wasted materials. There is also less sound pollution produced — and what is produced will not be affecting the residential neighbourhood.
It is also common for prefab homes to be built to run entirely on solar power, further reducing their carbon footprint. Whilst homes built on-site can still be quite sustainable and eco-friendly, you may have to look around for contractors that specialise in sustainable designs to get the same level as a prefab home.
5. Size and cost
It is a common assumption that prefabricated homes are small — and to some extent that is correct. Because they are built off-site and then transported, the home itself cannot be too large. However, through multiple modules, large homes can be formed. Overall, prefabricated homes are more affordable than your traditional home.
Traditional homes, though, have so much more flexibility in terms of design, size and future renovations. If you have something very specific in mind, a traditionally built home may be the one for you. For both prefabricated homes and traditionally built ones, you will still have to buy the land the house will eventually occupy so that is something else to keep in mind.
Residential quantity surveyors in Sydney
Regardless of which type of home you commission, you are going to need a registered and qualified quantity surveyor to ensure the construction process stays on track and is viable at every step. Section 94 employs experienced and certified residential quantity surveyors in Sydney that can meet your every QS need and more.