Jan 20 2022

Transportable homes: Understanding the basics

Transportable homes NZTransportable homes have been around for many years. And while confusion remains about their exact definition, their growing popularity in New Zealand shows that many people are jumping at the chance to embrace this innovative building method. ‘Transportable home’ is a broad term. Much like how ‘kitset home’ encapsulates homes you buy as a kit to build yourself and homes you buy flat-packed for someone else to build. So let’s get the basic definition out of the way so we can explain the more nuanced details.


Transportable home - A home that is built in one location and then moved to another location.


In this article, we are going to walk you through the basics of transportable homes to help you understand why they’re not all created equal. We will also explore how they are a low-cost building option and why they’re growing in popularity as the year's progress.


Key differences in transportable homes


As already mentioned, not all transportable homes are the same even though they fall under this umbrella term. Transportable homes can differ in some fundamental ways but the two main subcategories of transportable home are:

  • Prefabricated home

  • Relocatable home

Prefabricated Home 

These homes are constructed entirely in a factory or specialised environment. They are then transported to their permanent site before being finalised and connected to services. The services they’re connected to are permanent water, waste, electricity etc so the intention is for them to remain at that location for the rest of its useable life.

Relocatable home

While a relocatable transportable home is also built off-site (prefabricated), it’s not built to be a permanent feature of the site it’s delivered to. Rather than being connected to mains water, electricity, and sewage, it will piggyback off another property, or be entirely independent through composting toilets, rainwater collection, and solar. The big difference is this property can be disconnected, picked up, and relocated with ease.


Here at Manor Build, we specialise in prefabricated homes which we build in our dedicated facility and deliver to its final site.


Cost-efficiencies of a transportable home


Building quality prefabricated homes is our specialty, but doing so at a reasonable cost makes us proud of what we can achieve for our clients. The very nature of a prefabricated home’s production process creates natural savings that an on-site build cannot replicate. So while you always need to factor in the cost of transport, the reality is that the savings seen will likely remain visible even with this cost added. We’ve listed a few of these efficiencies below so you can get a sense of why a prefabricated transportable home is so efficient.

Process and timing

Building inside a warehouse allows us to avoid weather delays, and keep to a strict schedule. This means we can keep building all year round and can remain on time – usually finishing homes in 8 weeks once construction begins. This shorter build time means lower labour costs in comparison to a house built on its section.


A centrally-located factory makes all the difference in costs as well. Being based in New Plymouth enables our houses to be shipped across the North Island easily, with Wellington and Napier being almost at equal distance from our factory. 


When building on-site tradies will often bill for travel (as they should), which can increase your costs especially if you’re rural. Because our trades are coming to the same location everyday, and it’s near residential areas, we can lower or negate these costs all together.


As our homes need to be transported to their final location we must consider road width and access heights into the design of our buildings. And while you can still have a large sprawling design, it means we are often smarter about the layouts of our buildings than an on-site build would be. For you, this means an uncompromising finish with the features you’re after but in a considered and efficient design. This also saves you money by not wasting materials and space due to an inefficient layout.

Less waste

With our repeatable and exacting indoor build process, waste is reduced to a fraction of a normal build. This means that we aren’t having to spend as much on disposal, or on materials - savings which are passed straight on to you.


We can also buy in bulk as we have greater foresight into the jobs coming up. We save on delivery costs as it’s all coming to one location, and we can over-order as we have the space and facility to store excess materials. The fact we’re often buying bulk quantities also means many manufacturers give us preferential treatment over builders ordering smaller quantities, which means your schedule is safer with us than a small independent builder.

Cost to run

The cost efficiencies don’t end once the house is complete. Because the houses are designed well and have a small footprint, they are efficient to heat and cool. Using high-quality insulation and double-glazed windows means that you won’t lose heat during the winter and your home will be easy to cool in the summer. The inclusion of efficient, low-voltage LED lighting and easy-clean finishes all contribute to a massive reduction in operating requirements.


Transportable homes: Where efficient design meets practicality


Many people are turning to transportable homes which feature strong and compact designs that are highly functional. Manor Build designs homes that are elegant in their simplicity, containing all the details that make a home inviting without being unnecessarily complicated. Furthermore, our approach to design results in low long-term maintenance costs, making these buildings an excellent long-term investment. The result is a home you’ll always be able to trust.


Simplicity doesn’t have to be uniform - in fact, we offer several different design options that can be tailored to each of our customers, ensuring that your home will represent you as well as it represents our work.


The team at Manor Build has years of experience in the business of constructing prefabricated transportable housing and we understand what it takes to provide a quality home that you will treasure. If you’ve never fully considered a transportable prefabricated home before, let our innovative team show you the possibilities. We deliver throughout the North Island from our New Plymouth site and look forward to working with you on your dream home.

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Tags: Transportable/Prefab home