Modular or demountable homes are the next big thing in housing. They’re a lower-cost alternative to traditional homes and don’t bind you to one specific location. You can–quite literally–take your home with you if you choose to move from one city to another. It’s this sustainable and off-the-grid freedom that has captured the hearts of new Australian homeowners.
Demountable homes are relatively straightforward to order: give us a call, and we’ll help you decide on the best size and structure that best suits your needs. The entire home is then carefully assembled in a factory and delivered to you through a logistics service.
While modular units may be a more affordable option at first glance, it’s important to know that other costs are not included in the initial quote, which only covers design and construction. You may have to pay for things like land and plumbing, all of which can make demountable homes prices swell by a few thousand.
Here, we’ll cover the extra fees you need to consider before deciding to go modular.
What Makes Demountable Housing More Affordable?
Modular or demountable homes are usually 10-20% cheaper than the market average because they cost a lot less to build. Homes built on-the-spot are susceptible to unpredictable weather conditions, which may increase the labour hours necessary to complete production. On the other hand, modular homes are built in an indoor assembly line unaffected by the rain, heat, or snow. Resources are also properly allocated, preventing the cost of excess materials from piling up, reducing landfill waste in the long run.
Apart from the cost of building the actual demountable unit, you need to consider these additional costs.
According to the Housing Industry Association, the cost of a 480 square metre lot in Sydney is approximately $467,500. That amounts to just under $1,000 per square metre–but prices vary depending on location, even within Sydney. If you’re looking to build a tiny home with a little bit of yard space, you may need to shell out $30,000-$40,000 for land.
Alternatively, if you’re looking to live off-the-grid and further away from the bustling cityscape, then a report from the Rural Bank estimates that it’ll cost you about $5,271 per hectare of land (10,000 square metres).
There are various permits required when building a home, regardless of whether you decide to go for a traditional or portable home.
A building permit ensures that your modular home and building project complies with all the policies within its scope. You need to obtain this before commencing off-site construction, as it’s essentially a proposal that a building surveyor needs to approve before you can legally commence a building project. Small projects will cost around $500-$1,000.
A planning permit is also required to allow you to prepare the land for housing. The cost varies depending on the size of your home and where you intend to live. In Sydney, you may have to pay anywhere between $200-$1,400.
Depending on your situation, you may also have to obtain permits for other projects required to set-up your new home, including demolition and foundation fees.
Site and Plumbing Preparation
A challenge with demountable homes is figuring out the foundational site work. Because the actual home is assembled off-site, construction companies can’t build assets tied to the land. For instance, the plumbing system will have to be built underground to connect to the city’s main reserve before connecting to your modular home once it arrives. Drywells, gas lines, electricity lines, and heating and cooling systems are other utilities that need to be considered, as they can increase demountable homes prices. All of these can cost at least $20,000.
Your new modular home will need to be transported from the factory to the site. Prices vary, but the cheapest it can go is $1,000 if the delivery consists of a small unit within the same city. Long-distance transport may cost upwards of $10,000, as you want to ensure that the portable house gets from point A to B as safely as possible.
Once your demountable home finally arrives at the site, there are a couple more tweaks you need to power through to ensure that the place is as safe and livable as possible. For instance, the flooring may need to be finished, or temporary partitions may need to be removed. Anything established during the site prep–plumbing, electricity, and more–will also have to be completed at this stage, as the actual house has to be there for workers to finish connecting all the lines.
This is the ideal time to commence interior design work–and that may include installing custom countertops and light fixtures, and painting the interior. You can also build a basement and finish up the garage, driveway, and yard at this stage. The total cost of the finishing touches is dependent on what you end up doing, but it can be anywhere between a few thousand dollars to over $100,000.
Despite the additional costs of building a demountable home, it’s still almost always the more economical choice, especially if you intend to downsize your life with an ideal tiny abode.