Not So Cheap And Nasty: Design-Led Prefab Construction

April 21, 2023
Modern prefab home design

Unlike our friends over in Europe, Australians have been slow to warm to prefab, with modular construction representing a measly 3% of Australia’s construction industry. Approximately 84% of houses in Sweden have prefabricated components, so what’s the hold up here? Unfortunately, there’s a widely held belief down under that prefab is ‘cheap and nasty’. We’re here to set the record straight and explain why prefab construction can deliver design and quality that’s on par with (if not superior to) traditional construction methods.

How Did Prefab Get This Reputation?

For many Australians, the word prefab conjures up images of unstable demountable buildings in the schoolyard. For others, prefab is associated with boxy post-war homes that lack personality. We admit that neither of these examples is particularly inspiring, but they’re not an accurate reflection of prefab solutions in the market today. 

The Current State Of Prefab

Current prefab construction is a far cry from its humble post-war roots. While these structures were once designed out of necessity to address a housing shortage, their quality and design elements are now on par with stick-built homes. Although traditional construction still leads the way in terms of customisation, prefab construction companies are offering more options for personalisation than ever before.

Prefab Quality

Off-site construction offers superior construction quality, with specialist equipment that can manufacture components with precision. This level of quality can’t be matched by traditional construction methods, especially when you consider other factors on site such as weather. 

Poor weather conditions can not only damage building materials but also make it difficult for construction workers to do their best work. Read our article about how prefab improves quality in construction to learn more. 

Prefab Customisation 

If you’ve always dreamt of building a custom-designed home, there’s no need to shy away from prefab. Modular home company, PreBuilt, allows you to choose a pre-designed home, or create a custom design that will meet your family’s unique needs. 

Who could forget the customisation options available with a prefab Plungie? From interior tiling to landscaping, there are so many ways to tailor your Plungie’s design to its surroundings. 

Prefab Inclusions You Didn’t Know About

When we attended the 2023 International Builders’ Show, we were blown away by the level of home inclusions now available in prefab homes. Here are three features that you may not have expected to see in a prefab home.

1. High Ceilings 

Low ceilings are a thing of the past, with many prefab homes featuring generous, 9ft ceilings. Vaulted ceilings are commonly used by prefab home provider, Fairweather Homes, to create light, airy living spaces the whole family can enjoy.

2. Ducted Air Conditioning 

Ducted air conditioning is not something you want to live without, and thanks to advancements in prefab technology, you won’t have to. The Mammoth Park Model from US company, Genesis Homes, is just one prefab home that includes this luxurious feature. 

3. Outdoor Entertaining Spaces

Outdoor living is essential to Australian homes, so it’s fitting that prefab homes have incorporated this into their design. Fogarty House by Archiblox is a small home with a big focus on outdoor entertaining. In fact, deck space makes up roughly half the home, so there’s plenty of room for weekend barbecues with friends. 

Prefab In Practice 

There are so many exciting home-building projects that demonstrate the potential of prefab. We’ve picked two of our favourites so you can see just how prefab delivers top-notch design. 

Ivanhoe Extension — Modscape

When the owners of this property decided they needed to upsize, they enlisted modular home builders, Modscape, to extend their existing Ivanhoe property

One of the standout features of this project is the battened timber screen on the first floor. Not only does this screen add personality to the home, but it also provides privacy and shade. All-in-all it would be near impossible to differentiate the Ivanhoe extension from a custom, stick-built home.  

Freshwater — PreBuilt

The Freshwater home by PreBuilt is designed to make the most of the picture-perfect beach views from the property. The home includes a beach-facing deck on the ground floor, as well as a terrace on the upper floor for the owners to relax and take in the view. 

This is no cookie-cutter project, with unique, copper-framed windows and a double garage built from reclaimed pressed red bricks.

We know that anyone would be proud to call these prefab properties home, and rightly so. Prefab construction has come so far since its post-war heyday — it’s now possible to experience the efficiencies of prefab construction and achieve cutting-edge design. We can’t wait to see where prefab designs go next.


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