Modular homes – are they a good choice for affordable home buyers?

Kiwi-owned company Modul is offering affordable, precision-manufactured modular homes. The three-bedroom homes are built offshore and designed in New Zealand for Kiwi lifestyles – which sounds very promising. So why choose a modular home?


Prefab homes

The concept of a prefabricated house isn’t new, modular construction is used around the world in residential housing, as well as hospitals, schools, offices, hotels and retail. However, Modul is offering an innovative new angle to Auckland house buyers.

Normally, prefab houses are made up of pre-built ‘components’, which are transported to the site and the building is assembled from the individual units. Modul homes are different. They arrive fully constructed and are placed on pre-prepared foundations.

Designed by the experienced Kiwi team at Shanahan Architects, the construction materials and the sustainability of Modul homes are as important as ensuring that the design is right for Kiwi lifestyles.


Checks and balances

Any home built in New Zealand has to comply with the New Zealand Building Code. So what about homes that are constructed overseas and shipped into the country, like Modul?

There are a number of building consent and compliance types in New Zealand, and Modul received the government-approved Multiproof consent. It’s the consent builders apply for when building 10 or more of the same, or similar, designs over a period of two years. Building consent authorities (usually the local council) assess the plans and specifications, conduct inspections both onsite and remotely in the factory, and later the completed building receives a code compliance certificate – if it has been built to the consented plans.

Manufacturing offshore definitely creates new challenges, and quality management is a big part of the Modul process. “It took years to get the first Modul homes ready,” says Tony Houston, director of Modul and well-known Auckland developers the Neilston Group. “But it took that long because we needed to get the right materials, visit the factory, work with the people there, modify the design, go back again – we had to get it right.”


Keep it affordable

When Tony Houston talks about “getting it right” he’s also talking about getting the right balance of affordability. There’s a healthy list of advantages to the modular process that are passed on to the buyer through a lower price point. The weather isn’t a factor in the construction, as the homes are built indoors. The site has a lower impact on the environment, creating less waste than a traditional building site, and difficult sites are less of a challenge as the standardised design of the modular home makes planning more simple.

From the start, the Modul mission has been to bring more affordable houses to the New Zealand market. And, while what is ‘affordable’ will vary from person to person, in today’s market a home is currently said to be affordable when priced at or below $650,000.

Modul homes are three-bedroom, two-storey, freehold title, terrace homes. As the homes are shipped into New Zealand they become available for purchase in developments in north-west and central Auckland. Some Modul homes will be available at open market prices, with a portion offered as KiwiBuild or Axis Series homes, priced at $650,000.

Related articles

Modular architecture – an affordable future for New Zealand homes
Modul homes – better than the building code
Mission affordable: Modul is bringing more affordable homes to Auckland
Meet the Modul family – the team behind innovative modular housing

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