So, you’re looking to build a new home. Researching. Fact-finding. Looking at options. Maybe you’ve seen an ad on Facebook, or we’ve popped up in a Google search. Whatever the method, you’ve come across modular homes and are thinking – I wonder if this is an option for me?
In this article, we’re going to give you a basic understanding of modular homes – sort some of the facts from fiction, and help you decide on whether modular homes are a viable alternative for you.
Ok, let’s dive in and find out about what modular homes are; when they work best; when they don’t work and some of the main benefits and efficiencies this smart method of building offers.
Offsite vs Onsite – what does it mean?
Firstly, modular homes fall into a building category known as OFFSITE construction. In basic terms, this means that we complete at least 50% or more of the construction process away from the final site location in a controlled, factory-style environment.
Onsite built homes use traditional building methods where all your materials and trades travel to the construction site and create your home from scratch.
As a company, Westbuilt Homes firmly believes in the concept of offsite construction and will minimise the amount of onsite work as much as possible.
When to consider modular building?
Now we understand the basic concept of modular homes, let’s consider the main scenarios of when to consider building a modular home as opposed to a traditional onsite home. We get it, there is no “one size fits all”, and each client has specific needs to consider when building their home.
We find that modular homes work best if the client’s site, requirements and needs fall into the following categories.
- Your site is steep or sloping.
- You’ve got a larger block size or acreage.
- You’re in a remote location.
- Your prepared to work with a design team to ensure your home fits into specific module sizes.
- You don’t require a slab on the ground.
- You’re looking for a medium to a high level of finish
- You want a unique design not something off the shelf
- You’re looking for a home in a hurry.
- You don’t want to deal with site mess.
- You want an easy ‘hands-off’ building experience.
When not to consider modular?
To save you wasting time in your search, we want to be clear about the limitations of modular building. We’re not all things to all people and being honest about where modular does and doesn’t work is very important.
From our experience modular is not a practical alternative if you’re looking at the following options;
- If you’re looking for a slab on ground, project style home in a new estate.
- If your looking to owner build or do a lot of work yourself
- You’ve done all the design work for a site home and don’t wish to change the design at all.
Are modular homes cheaper than onsite homes?
A common perception of modular building, as with any alternative to traditional onsite construction, is that building modular MUST be cheaper.
Mostly, this is not the case. Unless you’re looking at a donga or site hut, then most offsite building methods will be similar in cost to traditional onsite builds. If you are looking at a modular home as an option purely for price reasons, then you are sure to be disappointed! We find that our modular homes are consistent with good quality, local builders.
Why are modular homes a smart alternative to traditional builders?
We find that our clients choose to build modular for several reasons, each entirely different and dependent on their circumstances. However, overall, they share these major drivers on deciding to build modular!
- Speed of build – modular homes have a shorter lead time, and the process eliminates most delays and time waste.
- Quality of build – believe it or not, modern modular homes are built to a higher level of structural quality and finish than most onsite homes. Your home is designed to withstand hundreds of km’s of travelling at 100km/hr on our bumpy roads – a minor cyclone and earthquake all at once! It’s called the transport effect!
- Guaranteed cost – because of the modular process, it is essential to ensure EVERYTHING is chosen, sorted and double-checked BEFORE the build starts. Moreover, this includes the price. We find that most of our clients to never receive unforeseen changes after the signing of the contract. We don’t believe in variations!
How do modular homes compare to onsite home builders?
Modular homes are a viable and smart alternative to onsite builders. Fair enough, you say – but where do you sit in the market? Firstly, you need to understand there are three main types of builders in the market in Australia;
- Project Home Builders – these are your stock standard slab on ground homes you see popping up by the 100’s in new estates. So, due to the scale and volume of these homes, they are quite simply the cheapest way to build. Also, you will have limited selections available and little or no design input.
- Local Builders – these builders are more expensive and offer you a vast range of options and designs. They will range from larger; more volume orientated builders to a family business or local tradesperson. The benefit of a local builder is their experience of building in the local region, and they will make what you want. Timeframes can be very long – especially for a good quality builder.
- Architectural Home Builders – these builders will work closely with an architect and yourself to create your dream home. Price and time are not the primary considerations here – getting the house perfect is, and you pay for that privilege.
So, where does a modular home sit in this? Westbuilt Homes is a family business and is very similar to a quality local builder in the finish, cost and style.
Where to from here?
Ok – you’ve made it this far! If you’d like to investigate modular homes in more detail or would like to take advantage of our quality building design service give us a call on 1800 688 044 or email the team at
To find out more about designing modular homes, check out this helpful article on custom creating a modular home.