Us Aussies have always had a thing for little prefabricated homes. We affectionately named them dongas after the Second World War. Then, we were enthralled when The Castle‘s Darryl Kerrigan dragged a kit home up to Bonnie Doon and assembled his own holiday house. He just made it sound so easy…
Pod homes have been reinvented in recent years into something so much better than the traditional donga. The rise in popularity of sustainable living has seen many Australians make the shift to eco-homes. These are small, normally prefabricated structures built to reduce carbon footprints. They are versatile, compact, and easy to build, making them a popular choice for a huge range of people.
Pod homes normally come in studio form, although some companies do build larger prefab homes. In this article we look at the reasons why people are making the shift to sustainable living, while looking at some of the best prefabricated home companies in Australia today.
Why choose a prefab home?
Prefab homes have come a long way in recent years. There any many differences between the old bushman’s donga, and new creations such as modular houses, garden kit studios and the prefab granny flat design. We have picked seven reasons why people are choosing the construction of prefab buildings on their properties:
1. Shift to sustainable living
One of the main reasons people are choosing pod homes is to lessen or negate their impact upon the planet. Sustainable living means not only reducing your demand for natural resources, but also by replacing what you do actually use. Many pod homes come with their own renewable energy source (solar or wind). Smaller homes mean less energy is required. This design leads to lower emissions and money saved on power bills.
The kids may have left home or you could just be tired of dusting all those empty rooms in the house. There is a definite trend towards retirees moving away from the traditional family house into something a lot smaller.
3. Extra space for visitors
If the space is available, backyard cabins can be built behind the house. These are ideal for families that often have visitors, but do not have anywhere to accommodate them. Backyard pods provide extra space for house visitors, without the need for expensive extensions and renovations.
4. Rent it out
Owners also have the potential to make money back on their building investments by renting their outdoor studio rooms to the public. If owners do not want people living on their property full time, they can look into the temporary or holiday accommodation options offered by sites such as AirBnB.
5. Have a holiday house
The Kerrigan family first planted the seed in The Castle, showing the possibility of having flat-pack cabins pop up as holiday homes. Just think of all that serenity.
6. It is transportable
And if you do not like that site anymore, the best thing about the pod home is that it is completely transportable. To start a new project, pick it up and move it to a new site you like better.
7. Have a home office
Modernization has led to greater flexibility. It has given many Australian people the opportunity to work from home. If all the space in that home is already accounted for, then considering an outdoor office pod could be an option. Many companies display their pods as open plans designed for business professionals.
What is a modular home and what designs are best?
Similar to the DIY granny flat and flat-pack cabins, modular homes are built off-site, normally in a factory or construction center. The difference is that modular homes come in two or more ready-made pieces that are transported to the site and joined together. This method of construction can be rapid if purchasing pre-designed and ready-built pods.
Modular homes will not suit the DIY handy person looking for their next project. If you want to get more involved with your home project, then assembling a flat-pack cabin could be the best way to go. Others who are less able or do not have the time for a DIY project, then modular homes or prefabricated houses should be considered.
What are the best kit cabins construction companies in Australia?
Installing or building your first backyard studio, modular building or pod home can be an exciting time. Choosing the right company to suit your budget and commercial requirements will make the project more enjoyable.
Every company has its building niche. Some are tailored to the budget-orientated DIY crowd, while others very much target the high-end luxury building market. Some companies look to pioneer usage of new modern environmental technology, paving the way for state-of-the-art eco pods. Others look for a speed-build with a prefab modular design.
We have hand-picked a range of Australian companies that we feel offer a broad range of these services:
Modscape – Most Sustainable
Whether designed at their base in Victoria or imported to Australia from their partners overseas, the new pods being sold by Modscape are both futuristic and eco-friendly. You can expect to pay for this technology, with prices for their homes usually starting at around $3k – $4k per square meter. However, this is off-set by an energy-efficient design that utilizes renewable energy resources, meaning no more huge power bills.
You can expect professional project support from Modscape, with locked-in prices and fixed timelines for construction and delivery.
ModnPods – Most Stylish
If you are looking to build within 200 km of the Gold Coast, the people at ModnPods can install their pods for you, but otherwise, they do ship nationwide. They offer three residential modular building design options:
The Point – A small 4m x 3.5m open plan design priced at $29,700.
The Pass – Comes in two options. The open plan design is ideal for a backyard office project and costs $45,100. The other design features a studio with kitchen and bath and is priced at $67,100. Both designs are 8m x 3.5m.
The King – This spacious 12m x 3.5m design comes in either one bedroom or open plan form. The open plan office building goes for $71,500, while the one bedroom project with kitchen and bath is $97,900.
BackyardPods – Best Value
Located in Sydney, BackyardPods offer installation of their products on-site in Sydney, Melbourne, Newcastle, Brisbane, Gold Coast, and the Northern Rivers region. Otherwise, they deliver to most places on the east coast. They feature a huge range of garden studio kits that can be used for myriad reasons.
Their smallest and most cost-effective building is sized at 2.5m x 4m and costs $4,128. The cost increases with surface area, all the way up to their largest design (4.5m x 10m valued at $17,999).