What is a modular house? It’s a house that has been built in a factory, transported to its final location, and assembled on-site. Its sections are constructed in a controlled environment before being set down atop permanent foundations somewhere else.
The way modular homes are built and then assembled means they can be completed more quickly than conventional houses. Protection from adverse weather conditions makes delays rare, and total build time often takes weeks rather than months.
Modular homes vary considerably in their styles and size, and designs are easily customised. Once built, their structures are permanent, and their values appraise just like traditional houses. They are also typically more environmentally friendly.
Another type of design are pod homes and they have been gaining popularity.
Building houses in factories to specific measurements significantly reduces waste material. Approximately 40% of landfill space is filled by byproducts from construction, but prefabricating parts such as frames and trusses reduces the waste a build produces by up to 52%. (1)
By utilising low-energy lightbulbs and innovative insulation materials, modular houses often provide considerable savings on energy costs. Self-sufficient prebuilt homes can reduce energy consumption by as much as 72%. Case studies have also shown modular townhouses to use approximately 30% less water than traditional alternatives. (2)
The materials used in constructing modular homes are usually more sustainable than those used to build traditional houses. Importance is often placed on using non-toxic materials or materials low in volatile organic compounds. Many manufacturers of prebuilt homes prioritise the use of recycled and sustainable materials. Generally, modular homes have a significantly smaller carbon footprint than sustainable houses built on-site. (3)
More efficient use of materials, fewer delays and reduced construction time also make prebuilt homes comparatively cheaper. It’s estimated that the total cost of building a modular house is approximately 10-20% less than that of an equivalent house built using conventional methods. (4)
Many companies provide modular homes with both pre-designed and customisable layouts. They differ considerably in terms of the designs, quality, price and level of service they offer. If you’re considering a modular home, it’s vital to thoroughly research your options and identify the company and design that meets your needs.
Below, we’ve identified some of the best models of modular homes with prices and floorplans included:
Some of the Best Modular Homes Available Today
Archiblox Carbon Positive House
Archibox is an eco-minded builder of modular homes and recipient of the Build Excellence Award at the 2018 Australian Construction Awards. It claims its Carbon Positive House “moves beyond carbon zero by making additional ‘positive’ contributions, producing more energy on-site than the building requires.”
Cooling tubes project cool air from the earth around the house, solar panels power it, and in-built mechanisms enable the recycling and reuse of water. It also boasts lots of windows and an indoor garden.
The standard model comes with one bedroom, one bathroom, an open-plan kitchen, living and dining room, a laundry nook and an indoor garden, all set on one level.
With a footprint of 73m2, its price ranges from $300,000-$400,000.
Prebuilt has designed its Metro modular home specifically for inner-city plots. Its footprint is just 5×16 metres, but by providing a second storey it’s able to offer three bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms. Decks and pergolas are available as optional extras for people with additional space.
The ground floor is devoted to an open-plan kitchen, living and dining room, and all bedrooms are located on the upper level. Prebuilt has endeavoured to make the design compact and chic. From an aesthetic point of view, the most prominent feature is an asymmetric sloping roofline which peaks 3.2 metres from the ground below. Prices start at $489,000.
Modscape Family Home
Modscape’s prebuilt homes are only designed to order, allowing it to carefully consider the space, budget and precise nature of the proposed site for each of its designs.
Promising energy-efficient appliances and high-quality finishes, it says its completed homes are fully-functioning and ready to be lived in. It also claims to be able to build and deliver them in just twelve weeks.
The prices of its designs are determined by their size, complexity and level of finish, and it provides no set floor plans or price list. But Modscape estimates the cost of a 300m2 four-bedroom, 2.5 bathroom family home at between $1.083m- $1.59m. Unlike Archiblox and Prebuilt, its prices do not include GST.
Ecoliv Eco Studio
Ecoliv claims to be the only manufacturer of modular homes to include a 1.8kw solar power system as standard in every design. It also provides a 10,000-litre water tank and guarantees that each of its buildings will achieve a minimum 7-star energy rating.
Its cheapest model is the Eco Studio. With a modest footprint of just under 26m2, it offers a single room that functions as a bedroom, kitchen and living room, in addition to a bathroom. The smallest of Ecoliv’s designs, it’s also the most affordable modular home on this list. Prices start at $86,000 + GST.
This model by Habitech is designed to optimise the sunlight received by whatever site it’s placed on. The living room and all four bedrooms are intended to face north, creating a house full of natural light.
The footprint of 157m² is relatively small for a house with this many rooms, enabling it to be placed on sites of various orientations and sizes and still optimise their northern aspects.
The ground floor has an entry porch, open-plan kitchen, dining and living room, one bedroom and a bathroom. An additional family bathroom and three further bedrooms are found on the first floor.
The Cumulus is priced at $428,000 +GST
There are many manufacturers of prebuilt homes in Australia. Whether you want a set design, one that’s customisable, or to completely design your own house, there are more options than ever before. In an age of climate change and exorbitant house prices, modular homes provide a partial solution to two prominent societal problems. They may be the future of Australian housebuilding.
- Pebble Mag: https://pebblemag.com/magazine/living/modular-homes-ecofriendly-reasons#:~:text=Modular%20houses%20are%20often%20held,toxic%20or%20low%20VOC%20materials
- PBC Today: https://www.pbctoday.co.uk/news/modular-construction-news/sustainability-and-modular-housing/39488/
- Environment Journal: https://environmentjournal.online/articles/why-hasnt-modular-housing-taken-off-yet/
- Money Crashers: https://www.moneycrashers.com/building-prefab-home-types-cost/
- Archiblox Carbon Positive House: https://www.archiblox.com.au/design/carbon-positive/
- Prebuilt Metro: https://www.prebuilt.com.au/our-houses/pre-designed/metro/
- Modscape Family Home: https://www.modscape.com.au/blog/pricing/
- Ecoliv Eco Studio: https://ecoliv.com.au/featured-builds/eco-studio
- Habitech Cumulus: http://www.habitechsystems.com.au/cumulus