“Prefab is a way to create innovative high quality buildings on time and within budget.” (prefabnz.com)
Prefabricated, or “prefab”, means that parts of a home or whole homes are made off-site, and the building is either partly or fully assembled on-site. Prefab housing is currently at the forefront of design, with leading building companies incorporating sustainability, liveability and durability into their prefab homes. And many prefab housing companies are attracting some of the best and brightest architects and designers, who want to be part of this exciting way of producing better quality built environments for people, now and into the future.
The building industry takes a number of different approaches to prefabrication, with varying advantages and applicability for different projects. Here is an easy reference table to help you through some of the terminology you may encounter when looking into prefab homes.
Finding your way through the definitions
Prefab and Modular Variations
|Flat pack/panel homes||These are made up of factory-made wall, roof and floor panels or sections that can be easily delivered to and efficiently assembled on-site. A range of materials and building systems are used, varying from standard to very innovative. The site work required is much less than standard building technology, its extent dependent on the particular system. Being relatively small in size, the components do not always require large trucks or mechanical means for lifting on-site. They can be used for totally new houses, or for extensions to existing.|
|Modular homes||These are homes that are made up of more complex modules; most of the work is undertaken in a factory and then can be put together very quickly on-site with minimal labour. Modules generally use standard construction and finishes, undertaken in a factory, with all its benefits. They can range from bathroom modules through to rooms or granny flats, and up to whole sections of houses. They need to be transported to a site on large trucks and often require cranes to lift into place.|
|Kit homes||These involve a comprehensive set of components required to build a home that are delivered ready to be assembled onsite. While this completeness is the main benefit, the relatively standard construction systems employed by these approaches does not offer the benefits that can be delivered by flat pack and modular homes.|
|Manufactured homes||These homes are considered portable and temporary, and are transported to a site in a finished state. Of varying quality, they tend towards lower quality and are not really part of the bright prefab future that awaits us.|
|Component||We already use many prefabricated components in our buildings – think of windows and doors, joinery for kitchens and living rooms, etc. Components are an important part of both on-site and factory-made buildings.|
Download the Liveability Guide to Prefab and Modular Homes
How does our poster guide work?
This guide includes companies based in Australia that manufacture prefab and modular homes that have:
- Passive design features
- Features that allow natural cross-ventilation
- Features with the potential for reduced running costs, such as energy efficient lighting and fixtures
- Low embodied energy and low impact materials
- Locally sourced, ethically sourced or recycled construction and building materials (where possible)
- Many prefab and modular homes can be customised to suit the climate and needs of the site and the client. Orientation of the home and shading should be discussed before the site construction to consider passive solar gain.
The Photo Gallery
For more information and photos, see each company websites located on the downloadable poster guide.