So, you’re thinking about building a kit home in Perth? Over the last several years, kit homes have become an increasingly popular option, and one of just several alternative, non “stick-built” housing options.
You may have also heard the labels “prefab”, “prebuilt”, or “modular”, used concurrently. And maybe you’ve also heard other non-traditional home types mentioned in the same conversations–pod homes, granny flats, tiny homes, flatpack homes, or even pole barn homes.
The upshot is this: As building technologies, systems and processes improve, more and more people are realizing the benefits of alternative home construction.
Kit Home Manufacturers in Perth
Here are some of the best kit home manufacturers in Perth (and surrounding Western Australia) to consider:
Kitco Builders – Founded by Dave Sharp 25 years ago, these timber and steel-framed homes offer a premium yet cost-effective offering for value driven product. Neerabup, WA
Ross Squire Homes – In business since 1981, these homes offer lots of extras, including verandahs, walk-in pantries, extra large window and more. Midvale, WA
Fox Modular – In business for more than a decade, Fox is the creator of high-quality tiny homes, granny flats, and transportable buildings. They use solar energy when possible and low (or no) VOC paints and stains. Gnangara, WA (and Fox Granny Flats)
Trans Homes – Trans Homes has been providing superior framed transportable housing throughout Western Australia since the mid 1970’s. One of the longest tenured manufacturers in the space. Kalamunda, WA.
Cabins WA – Established in 2012, Cabins WA builds high specification homes and granny flats. From ordered to delivery in 3-4 months. O’Connor, WA
Perth Modular Homes – Boasting loads of options of materials, colours, timber finishes, and more, Perth Modular Homes can help with customizations of all kinds for your granny flat or alfresco. Malaga, WA
Australia Wide Transportables – High-quality modular homes, granny flats, and portable buildings capable of withstanding corrosion, climatic events and fires. Forrestdale, WA
Tiny Homes in Western Australia – Traded under the name “Pocket Condos”, these homes on wheels have a lot to offer. Clients get both a designer and project manager assigned to them when they begin the order-build process. Bellvue, WA
Milford Homes – In business since 1977, Milford specializes in stump and pole homes in difficult to access blocks and acreages. Wangara, WA
Steel Frame Homes – Growing up in Mt. Newman’s cyclonic weather of the 1970’s led founder Dean Bathurst to focus his company on extremely durable steel frame construction. Wangara, WA
West Coast Sheds – Sheds, garages, industrial buildings and kit homes offering customizations and Australian Bluescope steel. West Coast Sheds can design, engineer, builds of all shapes and sizes. Kenwick, WA
Evoke Living Homes – All homes are fully customizable, designed to meet or exceed 6-star Energy Ratings and Bushfire Attack Levels, and can be constructed to meet cyclonic ratings as well. From design to fully tailored builds in as little as 15 weeks. Northam, WA
Aussie Modular Solutions – Designed, engineered, manufactured, transported and installed modular homes for mining, construction, and residential applications. Muchea, WA
Classic WA – Over 75 years of experience, Classic WA designs, manufactures and installs custom granny flats and patios. Their in-house architectural draftsman will provide detailed easy to read plans and even handle all the forms and processes required in dealing with the local shire to obtain the relevant permits. Canning Vale, WA
Southern Built Homes – Owner-Builders can now select a plan from a range of kit homes and they can supply them with the quality materials they need to build it their own way. Their first series of kit homes come in 3 sizes and two roof options; gable or skillion. Donnybrook, WA
Modular WA – Combining modern sensitivities and a uniquely “Western Australian” approach, their kit and modular home ranges are inspired by landscape and lifestyle. Environmentally-friendly and pocket-friendly materials. Wangara, WA
TR Homes – A range of 1-5 bedroom modular homes in a choice of modern designs. This is a cost-effective and efficient solution for customers who usually face time delays and costly fees when building in remote and regional areas. Maddington, WA
Form Homes – The high performance airtight envelope provided by SipForm™ is multi-beneficial, producing outstanding energy savings and reduced noise levels whilst creating the perfect framework for dramatic architectural features. Malaga, WA
Total Home Frames – Using time-efficient construction techniques and pre-manufactured engineered floor and roof trusses, their 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom homes can be constructed within 4 months of starting at site. Stump and pole designs for eco-sensitive construction, or when building on blocks that are sloped. Wangara, WA
Straight Edge Steel Framed Homes – Supplying Western Australian owner-builders with impressively designed steel frame kit homes, chalets, and studios. They offer one point of contact, clearly defined project milestones and no price surprises. Mullaloo, WA
Westkey – By choosing Eco kit homes, clients are selecting environmentally friendly homes which minimise the effects on nature, and maximise the use of recycled materials, utilising recycled Australian steel which is a better option than timber, and also minimises waste. Wangara, WA
Granny Flats WA – Family owned and operated for over 20 years, they can build a locked up structure for you with the necessary allowances for pre-lay plumbing so that you can elect when you wish to proceed with adding a bathroom, kitchen or laundry and decorating as your budget and needs require. Booragoon, WA
Tiny Homes Perth – Whether you simply need affordable living, or want more space for a teenage retreat, granny flat or farming accommodation, Tiny Homes Perth offers a solution. Construction of the trailer chassis is based on the weight of the building to allow ease of towing, while the frame is constructed of steel to ensure marriage to the chassis. Bellvue, WA
Eco Habit Modular Homes – Homes follow the Ecohabit model of sustainability, energy efficiency and quality. Not only is the quality of the home closely monitored while being built in a controlled environment, but there is far less wastage of materials. Northbridge, WA
Benefits of Kit Home Construction
So just what exactly are the ideas, goals, and benefits propelling these new housing types? Here are the big ones:
Producing several of the same units in a factory means that manufacturers can profit from the economies of scale, and pass on some of these savings to the end user. There is significantly less time spent in problem solving and “working out the kinks”, so the end product can be delivered less expensively.
There is also less material waste, and less man hours wasted in repeated travel to a building site. All of these result in lower overall costs, and a lower consumer price tag.
And finally, not having to site build a home means that the home is less susceptible to losses during construction from water damage, rust, or theft.
Because the construction of kit and prefab homes occurs largely in the controlled environment of a factory, timelines are almost never interrupted or upset by weather (or transportation issues), resulting in shorter build times.
Another benefit of the off-site construction is that the home can be built at the same time that the dirt work, foundation, driveway approach, or utility work are happening.
And with a ready made set of plans and many of the issues already worked out, a kit or prefab home can also frequently be permitted in a shorter amount of time than a “one off” home.
Save The Earth
As mentioned above, one of the most green and eco aspects of kit home construction is the ability to significantly eliminate waste. This means that each home produced in a factory requires fewer total resources and less total energy to build.
Another feature of kit building is that homes are frequently made of materials that are eco friendly and/or sustainable. Often manufacturers are using materials like bamboo, low VOC insulation, cross-laminated timber (CLT), structural steel, and more. Sometimes these homes are even manufactured with the end goal of being largely recyclable.
In many cases, kit homes have a smaller footprint and total size, meaning that they require less earth disturbance or disruption at the building site for a foundation. The smaller overall size also lends itself to increased energy efficiency once the house is complete.
Several prefab and modular built homes opt for environmentally friendly systems, such as solar panels, high efficiency hot water, heating and cooling, rainwater harvesting, grey water systems and more. This also gives these homes the flexibility to be built in more remote locations.
Finally, one of the hallmarks of more modern home kits is the attempt to incorporate passive solar thermal design principles into the build. With the strategic placement of windows, the angle of the home, overhangs, and materials selection, kit builds are delivering a home that is more comfortable in both the winter and summer, and requires less energy to be so.
Overall Higher Quality
In general, there are some quality and quality control measures that can often be delivered at a more affordable price per foot with kit homes than with traditional stick built homes, including:
Less mould, mildew, and rust: a tighter and more exact building envelope means that the home is less susceptible to moisture, and all of the things that come along with it.
Fewer toxins: Although this isn’t universal, many kit and prefab homes are made with materials that are low-toxic, low-VOC, and otherwise more natural materials. There is a shared ethos among many in the industry that focuses on health, well-being, and sustainability.
Challenges of Kit Built Homes
With all these benefits, what are the downsides to kit built homes? Here are the main drawbacks that are wise to consider:
Kit Homes Can Be Difficult to Finance
Even though this is getting better all the time, it is still more difficult to finance a modular or kit home than it is a traditional stick built home. Quite simply, this is because it’s hard for lenders to define what it is, and then assign a specific value to it.
Is a kit home a mobile home? Is it a pile of parts?
On the whole, there are just fewer comparisons out there for lenders to be able to use as comps, and in a risk-averse industry like lending and finance, anything that seems different can be an uphill battle.
Thankfully, there are some options. Several manufacturers have created flexible payment terms for customers purchasing directly from them. There are also some lenders that can issue loans for a kit home–construction loans, mobile/modular home loans, etc.
Limited Customizations Available
It probably goes without saying, but many of the advantages of a kit home can also be considered disadvantages. Customizations are one. In order for a manufacturer to reap the benefits of a well-thought out home design and the economies of scale, you can’t “reinvent the wheel” each time.
Kit homes aren’t intended to be wildly modified from their original design. While most manufacturers do allow for some modifications, there are fees associated with this (either on an hourly or per square foot basis), and in some cases, it’s just not possible. Speak with your manufacturer early to communicate the changes that are important to you, and be realistic about the fees or limitations that you may end up with.
In Some Cases, They’re Not Actually That Much Cheaper
This leads us to our final consideration, which is, that in some cases, building a kit home may not actually end up being cheaper than a traditionally built home. For as much as we all want the cost-savings to be significant, in some cases, it won’t end up that way.
Design choices, materials used, the amount of site prep involved (grading and dirt work, foundation, delivering utilities, etc), as well as any unforeseen issues that arise, may ultimately render your kit or prefab home more expensive than its traditional counterpart.
The biggest recommendation here is to be crystal clear about what is included in your kit home package:
- Who is building/assembling their home, and how much are they not doing?
- What are the delivery/transportation fees of your home?
- How many of the interior finishes will be included? (Doors, cabinetry, etc)
- Who is performing electrical, plumbing and HVAC?
What Are the Components of Kit Houses?
So, what are the individual milestones and components you can expect to address when building a kit home? Although every manufacturer’s systems and processes vary, in general, you can expect:
- Design: Finalize the home design you are interested in, as well as any customizations that you are requesting.
- Land: Although this typically happens outside of the manufacturer, it is obviously a significant component that needs to be firmed up well before you build. Are there any legal restrictions against building the type of home you are wanting to? Be sure to check council and state restrictions
- Timelines: According to the design, customizations, and materials lead times, the manufacturer should be able to give you at least a rough schedule of when to expect things to happen.
- Financing: How will you pay for and purchase your home? Are you hoping to do this through a conventional lender? Make payments directly to the kit home manufacturer?
- Permitting: One of the advantages of building a kit home is that frequently the manufacturer will already have designs and drawings that have been previously approved by other councils. This should make getting a permit easier, but it is usually still the homeowner responsibility (if you have a builder helping you with your kit home, sometimes they handle this aspect).
- Prep work: It is your responsibility to make sure there is adequate driveway and road access to the build site, develop the foundation, and arrange to have water and utilities brought to the site.
- Delivery/Construction: The final piece of your kit home is the actual delivery and assembly. This could look different depending on what kind of home you have opted for. If your kit home is actually more of a modular prefab, than it may arrive to your home site already mostly built. On the other hand, if it is a true “kit”, it will likely involve a much more ground-up building process.
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