Stephanie Stefanovic

When thinking about building or purchasing a house, there are a few key factors that need to be taken into consideration: cost, design, and environmental impact. With your standard brick home, you will typically need to compromise on one thing or another. Modular housing however, may just provide the perfect solution to all of your housing needs.

They currently comprise only 3 per cent of the Australian housing market, but according to Prefab Australia this is expected to increase to 10 per cent over the next five years, with Sydney-based company TEKTUM leading the way.

According to David Hartigan, the company’s CEO, there has been a significant change in the attitudes towards modular homes.
“At first, people were looking to modular housing as a cost solution. But now people are turning to modular housing for environmental outcomes or as a solution to a problem,” he said.

“More people are doing their homework, so they come to us with a positive attitude about modular housing.”

So why choose modular housing?

It’s fast
Build time varies between different companies and houses, but typically a modular home takes significantly less time to build than a traditional home. TEKTUM’s “House2.0” for example, takes just 12 weeks to build in the factory and is ready to occupy within a week of on-site installation.

It’s flexible
The options are virtually limitless with modular housing. Not only can they be designed to your taste and altered to suit your needs, but modular homes are also ideal for complex sites. For instance, Sydney has a number steep sites (particularly in coastal areas) which may be aesthetically pleasing, but are not ideal for traditional housing. Modular housing provides a solution to this problem through the use of a strong, rigid metal framework. This allows the home to be safely and securely placed in such a location without the need to use concrete or significantly alter the ground’s surface.

It’s cost-effective
Purchasing a modular home can be a great way to keep your costs down. Initially, you will save money on building costs due to the efficient construction process. However, that is just the tip of the iceberg. The majority of modular homes use environmentally sustainable materials and building techniques, which will mean less money spent on energy in your daily life. Modular homes also tend to incur less repair and maintenance costs than traditional homes because they are resistant to termites and other structural defects such as warping and rotting.

It’s environmentally-friendly
One of the major benefits of modular housing is how conducive it is to the use of environmentally sustainable materials and building techniques. TEKTUM for example creates modular homes using almost exclusively renewable, recycled, and recyclable materials whilst also incorporating features such as solar power, solar hot water, and recycled rain water. It’s unarguable that building a traditional home with these features would cost much more, which is why environmental sustainability tends to fall to the wayside in the building of traditional homes.

It’s safe
Modular homes can be designed specifically to address people with special needs, such as those in wheelchairs or the elderly who are less mobile and are fall-prone. The materials used in modular homes are also carefully considered, eliminating the use of toxic materials such as Volatile Organic Compounds and Formaldehydes. Companies such as TEKTUM have also engineered solutions to common health-threatening issues such as mould build-up, dust mites and other organic threats.

Clearly, there are countless benefits associated with modular housing. But it’s not necessarily for everyone. One thing to keep in mind is that building a modular home will require you to purchase the land and home separately, meaning you will need to do your research and consult with the local council about building regulations. You will also be unable to secure a loan with the bank until after the house is built, meaning you will need to pay for construction out-of-pocket. If either of these factors is an issue, modular housing might not be the right option for you. But if you’re looking for an aesthetically pleasing home that is flexible, environmentally sustainable and cost-effective, don’t look past the modular home as your housing solution.