The process of building a house used to be very rigid. You would need surveyors, architects, builders, plumbers, electricians and a whole raft of tradespeople with specific and technical skills. But in recent years, the landscape of building houses is changing. The rise of kitset houses has added a new cost effective and time efficient method for building.
What is a Kitset House?
Kitset houses (also known as prefabricated homes, or prefabs) are not built in the traditional way. Instead they are produced in a warehouse and are largely built before they even come to the site you are going to build on.
They can be built from an ‘off the rack’ plan, or some designs can be customised to suit your individual needs. Prefabs can be erected incredibly quickly as much of the building process is done in the factory, right down to wall coverings and tap fittings.
Why are they popular?
The state of existing New Zealand homes can be very hit and miss. Some are well maintained and cared for. However, many are riddled with damp, mould and the need for many upgrades. It can be an expensive exercise to bring existing homes up to an adequate standard of living. So why bother?
With the available funding options like home start grants and drawing on your Kiwisaver, coupled with the promise of a beautiful new home, many are choosing to build.
A better building experience?
The costs of building a home can stack up quite quickly and that is before the foundations are even laid. If you have no experience in the building world then you need to hire an expert for every aspect. Most of these experts are worth their weight in gold when it comes to knowledge and experience, but it is an extra cost.
Then you add in the physical costs of building the home. The materials, the labour, and potential added costs of weather delays and late deliveries.
This can make people look into alternative options.
What is so great about Kitsets?
Cost effective: Kitsets truly can save you money. There is no chance of weather delays as they are built indoors. As they are produced to certain specifications, the costs and timeframes can be tightly controlled. There is very little chance of a cost blow out.
Fixed timeframe: iIt takes around 20 weeks for a prefab to be constructed, erected and finished. This is great if you are working to a planned timeframe or if you are wanting to move quickly on your project.
Customisable: just because the design is pre-planned does not mean that you will end up with a boxy house that is a carbon copy of your neighbours. You can customise the layout, size and features to suit your needs.
What are the negatives?
Delivery costs: while the costs of creating the home are lower than traditional building methods, there are still the costs of transporting the house to your build site. At the lowest this would be around $3,000 - $5,000 via truck. But if your site is difficult to navigate, you may require a crane or other specialised equipment which can severely increase the costs.
Transport size: because the house needs to be transported from the factory to your site, the width is restricted to what will fit on a truck. This is why most kitset homes are modular.
Finances: it can be more difficult to obtain a mortgage for a prefabricated home. Banks are less likely to lend when the house is not yet on the land. This can mean that you would have to pay for the cost of the house upfront and in cash to the manufacturer.
There are many options for purchasing a kitset home in New Zealand. With a number of suppliers and transport options available, you are spoiled for choice!
Remember that a home may still require resource (planning) consent and will need building consent from your local council. If you have any queries about what might be needed for your prefab, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here at Planning Plus.
As with all our blogs, the information detailed here is general in nature and meant as a preliminary guide only. This should not be substituted for your own investigations or use of your own professional’s. Planning Plus is not liable for any errors or omissions.