So, you’re thinking about building a kit home in Tasmania? 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 Tasmania
Here are some of the best kit home manufacturers in Tasmania to consider:
Tasmanian Kit Homes – Since 1991, Tasmanian Kit Home designs offer a great degree of flexibility, allowing the customisation of floor plans, exterior finishes, and interior layout. As an employer of fully accredited trades people, and full members of the Housing Industry Association (HIA).
Pod Homes Tasmania – While not a true “kit home”, Pod Homes Tasmania is a family-run, modular building company, with a core focus on using locally sourced materials and suppliers. Range includes Studio, Two bedroom, Three bedroom, Fruit pickers’ huts and custom designs, with the extra ability to add additional Pods on later.
Statewide Constructions – Since 1989, Statewide Constructions is Hobart’s leading supplier of cutting-edge steel-framed flatpack warehouses and homes. 100% Tasmanian owned and operated, with their own teams of qualified and experienced builders to assist with the on-site build of your home.
Tasbuilt Homes – Tasbuilt takes care of the entire project, from design and council application through to connecting the services/utilities onsite, all under one fixed-price contract. Home designs feature large, open living areas, high ceilings, family-style kitchens, grand entrances, generous bathrooms, and ample storage. Premium insulation to walls/floors/ceilings and double-glazing as standard package inclusions, as well as a quality range of finishes and fixtures throughout our homes.
SystemBuilt – Style, functionality and affordability to create quality lightweight homes that can adapt to any location–be it country, coast, or an affordable home in the suburbs.
Valley Workshop – Established in 2013 by father and daughter team, their bespoke timber houses are prefabricated in northern Tasmania with eSIPs (environmental Structural Insulated Panels). They’re hyper insulated and have multiple vapour control layers to mitigate condensation.
Kit Homes Tasmania – Transportable modular homes built in the factory in 9 – 12 weeks. Steel kit homes can be supplied as just the materials or completely installed on your land. Once your design is on paper we can then manage the process or help you as much or as little as you require with your project build. Every step and be customised, from the exterior cladding type to the interior fittings and fixtures.
Timber World Tasmania – Everything from small amounts of timber to house lots, we can supply all your timber needs and can arrange delivery of your portable homes or cabin. Committed to using softwoods and plantation timber and do not support the importing of rain forest timber from countries with dubious forest management and poor human rights practices.
Out of State Australian Manufacturers that Can Deliver to Tasmania:
Prestige Kit Homes – One-bedroom to five bedroom homes, designed with the owner builder in mind. To comply with Council regulations, every design comes with fully detailed plans and specifications ready for you to submit for approval. Each upgrade item is fully itemised with their prices for your consideration. Kits delivered to locations all across Australia.
Wide Span Homes – Offering a range of floor plans from studio cottages to large 4 bedroom homes with enough space for the whole family. Homes are made from Australian TRUECORE® steel (making them rot and termite resistant), and a 20 year BlueScope steel warranty. Our kit homes are all supplied with detailed plans and construction manuals for you to erect yourself or source a local builder to manage the project.
i-Build – Pre-fabricated building supplier of kit homes, granny flats, modular buildings, and more. 100% Australian owned business and a winner of the prestigious Australian Export Awards 2021, as well as an Approved Tender Supplier of prefabricated buildings to the Victorian Government and United Nations. Products are available for Worldwide Delivery.
Kit Homes Nation Wide – Choose from one of their existing designs, modify one or start from scratch! Your “Home Sweet Home” will be delivered to any part of Australia, from remote WA to QLD and NSW to the east. Many owners choose to lend a hand or manage the construction process themselves.
Wholesale Homes and Sheds – These kit homes are available in both treated timber frames or steel frame construction. Homes can be built with no experience necessary, and all homes are divided into 4 stages: lock-up, lining, final and Floor. Each phase is optional when purchasing. Among purchasing a Kit Home from us, you will receive full working drawings of your home, energy reports, full engineering that will assist you when submitting plans to council.
BRIBuild – All Bribuild Kit Homes come standard as a lockup kit. This includes the sub floor, structural steel walls and trusses, single and double glazed aluminum windows and sliding doors. We also consult your local council regarding any requirement for a planning permit. Kit homes are bushfire rated, energy assessed, and can be engineered with specific wind ratings.
Ecoshelta – With minimal impact to the environment, these prefabricated, modular buildings use state of the art alloy frames, structural insulating panel systems, responsibly sourced timber, plantation bamboo and E0 plywood systems. Each Ecoshelta pod has a fully modular frame and SIPS panel based floor, and can be easily transported and erected anywhere.
Home Build Concierge – As part of the Kitome group, Home Build Concierge has roots in the business since 1996. With HBC, every owner builder is assigned an advocate to assist from beginning to end with designs, materials, fabrication, acting as a liaison with suppliers, From the ground up, this is the solution for owner builders, with a timeline to completion in just under a year.
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 mold, 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.