What Is a Modular Home?
Modular buildings or homes are prefabricated buildings, made in sections or “modules,” that are manufactured off-site in climate controlled facilities and then shipped and assembled with cranes on site at any desired location and in any desired configuration. They are made of all the same parts as any other standard building; windows, doors, walls and use the same materials, all of which adhere to regular building standards. You will need to own or rent a plot of land however to install them on.
Modular buildings can come in any style or layout and be custom made or ordered from standard plans as per your specifications. They are much quicker to build and often much cheaper than standard site-built homes. This is because of the shorter build time, sometimes taking only weeks rather than months. Many features such as windows, power supplies, water and sewage pipes, telecommunications, air conditioning can be installed before being taken to site, saving considerable time for installation once there.
They are also time and cost efficient because all approvals are taken care of in advance throughout the build process. Modular homes have a more precise building framework resulting in much less waste as exact amounts are ordered and there is less labour to complete each job. Because of this they not only tend to be cheaper but also more environmentally-friendly.
Other than it’s prefabricated nature, there is no difference between a modular home and a standard home built on site. They can be made in a variety of materials such as concrete, wood or steel and all come with ceilings, floors, windows and similar to standard homes they can also be fabricated to any style depending on your needs and design aesthetic.
Is a Modular Homes Different to a Manufactured or Mobile Home?
While a modular home is also sometimes referred to as a ‘manufactured home’ it is slightly different in that many municipalities and councils require a modular home to be connected to a foundation whereas a manufactured or mobile home does not. As modular homes are permanently attached to their foundations, they are effectively and legally no different from other site-built homes, meaning they are classified as real properties – they have title deeds, follow residential building codes and can qualify for mortgages. Manufactured or mobile homes on the other hand are considered personal property. Another key difference between modular and manufactured or mobile homes is where they are allowed to be located.
Modular homes are situated on a rented or owned plot of land whereas manufactured or mobile homes can sit within many zoning areas open to them, such a mobile home parks or rural areas.
The Pros and Cons of Modular Homes
- Shorter building time: Since modular homes are made in a factory and assembled on site relatively quickly, there is less chance of weather-related setbacks.
- High quality levels: Modular homes are built to standards that are equal or higher than traditional site built properties, ensuring high levels of quality control.
- Cost effective to build: More precise manufacturing processes means less material and manpower making builds less expensive.
- Customisable: Modular homes can be built in any style to any design specification using any material similar to a site-built home.
- More environmentally friendly: Because they use less energy and less materials, modular homes are generally less impactful on the environment.
- Purchasing land: You will need to purchase or rent the land first.
- Additional costs: Often times electrical and plumbing are not included in the cost so you might have to pay to have this work done. This is something to look at before making your purchase.
- On site works: You will need to prepare the site with a good foundation and prepare for electricity, plumbing and sewage on site.
- Misconceptions: Some people believe modular homes aren’t as durable or well-constructed as traditional builds, which might make selling the building more difficult in the future.
Who Is a Modular Building Right for?
Modular homes can work for many different types of buyers:
- Empty-nesters looking to downsize.
- People looking to expand living spaces such as home offices, guest houses or conservatories on their property or bring in income from additional rental property.
- Anyone looking to save time and/or money on new construction.
- Individuals building in remote areas where hiring local builders is difficult or expensive.
- Businesses looking for additional square footage to place their employees or for meetings and presentations.