Sep 04 2020

Benefits of a Prefab Home Over a Kitset Home

What is the difference between a prefab home and a kitset home?

Are you looking at your options for building a new home? If you have a section, there are plenty of options for you to choose from. If your budget is for a small home, it’s like that a custom-designed home is not the option you’re considering. Some of the simplest options are prefab homes or kitset homes. But what exactly are these options?


Prefab Home: The house is built off-site, generally in a warehouse and then transported to your section once it’s completed.


Kitset Home: A kitset is generally built on-site but gives you a choice between existing designs. The materials are packaged together and you are responsible for having it built. (Often the kitset supplier can arrange a builder for you too.)


You might be most familiar with the kitset building options because these often fall into the home and land packages that are advertised. Once it’s on site, a prefab home isn’t distinguishable from those built on-site. So you might be living next door to a prefab and not even know it. So, how do you approach the choice between them?


Prefab Home


Be sure you understand what is not part of the cost. Prefab homes have more inclusions than a kitset but there will still be additional costs. These typically would be the building consent, the transport and the service connections. Manor Build is clear with all pricing and will be sure to discuss everything with you before you decide to build.


You can modify the designs to suit your family. If you wish to change the size of the rooms, the storage spaces or the placement of windows – we have the flexibility to change anything on the inside of your home. The exterior walls generally stay where they are but inside you can adjust it all.


The building consent application is submitted by the builder. At Manor Build we take care of this for you by completing the application, submitting it to council for approval, and monitoring it throughout the process. In the interest of transparency, we pass the fee for the consent directly on to you for payment. That means we don’t add any markup to it.


You can watch the progress of the build. Not all builders allow you access to your site during the build process. If you live in the Taranaki or Auckland regions, you can come visit our factory to see the progress of your build. The visits are pre-arranged for health and safety reasons of course!


Kitset Home


Be sure that the costs are clear and that you understand the fine print. Often the price doesn’t include a foundation, the nails or screws, electrical wiring, floor coverings, driveways, landscaping, painting and other significant costs. If you’re just looking at the kitset price, it won’t include the labour costs either.


Factor in a large Contingency. You may have based the build on getting the builder down the road to do it for $30/hr. However, when you are ready to start, he is too busy which forces you to get another one that is slower and charges $45/hr! This situation is common across all trades, and is a prime example of how quickly your carefully-prepared budget can be torn to shreds! A prefab home dramatically reduces these sort of variables.


There’s limited customisation. Because the plans are part of the kit, usually changes to the layout will not be possible or they won’t be easy.


Upgrades can be costly. Though you can usually make adjustments to upgrade kitset plan materials, these changes come at a cost. Part of the reason the kits are cheap is the ability to bulk buy the materials so if you are changing the specs, those materials might not be as cheap anymore.


You might need to manage the build. If you aren’t having the kitset company build your home, you’ll likely need to manage the project yourself. Not only is this time-consuming but any mistakes or delays could increase your costs. Read more about whether it’s worth managing your own build.


Timing the council approval with the build. You will generally need to organise council approval, and pay any fees associated with setting up power and water before commencing with the kit home build.


With these considerations in mind, you can make the choice that allows for the smoothest build of your new home.


We’re partial to prefab homes ourselves. Contact us today to find out more!