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Modular vs. Conventional Home Building – Pros and Cons


Considering building your dream home and not sure where to start?

It can seem overwhelming, and for good reason. For starters, there is the choice of building a modular home compared to a conventionally built one.


What’s the difference between modular and site built homes?

Modular homes are built with same materials and construction codes as houses built on site—but modular homes are built off-site in a manufacturing facility, much like vehicles are. Once the homes are complete they are transported to the site, installed onto prepared foundations, connected to services, finishing touches are added—and they are ready for you to move in!


Benefits of building modular

To find the best option for you, make sure you consider the following factors when making a decision on building a modular home or conventionally built one:

  1. Construction Time. One of the upsides of building a modular home is that construction times are never delayed by weather! Inclement weather can have a big impact on building times on conventional sites, but because modular homes are built in a factory environment, the building remains on schedule no matter how wet and wild it is outside. Our previous article on how long it takes to build a modular home walks you through the process in depth.
  2. Quality Control. Supervision by a construction manager plays an important part in making sure that homes are built to strict quality standards. The factory environment modular homes are built in means that the factory manager is able to guide and supervise the tradespeople in a controlled environment.
  3. Sustainability. Sustainable features can be added to conventionally built or modular homes. In modular homes passive features such as house orientation, good ventilation, insulation and shading, plus add-ons like solar power and grey water systems, are easily incorporated in the design and building stages. Because modular homes are built in a factory and delivered to site ready to go, the amount of waste and site disruption is also greatly reduced, making modular a more sustainable option than site built.
  4. Structural integrity. Both traditional and modular homes are built to the relevant building codes, but over and above that, modular homes are constructed with added enhancements such as increased bracing and steel chassis, so that they can withstand the stresses imposed on them during transport.
  5. Ability to service remote locations cost effectively. When your land is remote, and you are building onsite, costs can skyrocket quickly through higher delivery costs and long term travel and accommodation expenses for the builders. Because 90% of modular home construction is completed in the factory, in remote locations they can be installed for a fraction of the time and cost of conventionally built homes.
  6. Client access to home throughout construction: When your dream home is being built, it’s natural to want to keep an eye on the progress. Often conventional building sites don’t allow for this to happen, but with modular homes clients are welcome to visit their homes at the factory throughout the construction process.
  7. Design flexibility. When designing your home, flexibility is important. You want the finished product to be exactly right for you. Generally speaking, modular home builders are more flexible in design than volume home builders. Modular builders will offer a range of home designs before taking the time to work with you on your own brief so you can achieve the best possible outcome – one that suits your needs and your site 100%.
  8. Reduction in holding costs. A big factor when building is where do you (or your tenants) live while it’s all going on? Because the construction time on site is drastically reduced, the factory built modular home option means that you could be still living in your old home on your property for much longer. This reduction in holding costs on your property is definitely something to consider when weighing up your options.

Restrictions to building modular

Of course, modular homes aren’t the right option for everyone. There are some situations where you would be better off choosing a conventional site built home over a modular building process. For example:

  1. Covenants on the land: Certain areas have covenants on the land where only a brick home can be built. These are typically found in new housing estates. While it’s possible to build modular homes with a brick façade, the amount of effort involved will raise the cost, making conventional building a better option in these situations.
  2. Top end luxury home building: If your goal is to build a high end luxury home then the modular building process might not be right for you. This doesn’t mean a modular home can’t be luxury, but extremely large homes such as these would need a lot of modules and extra features, which the modular process is not ideal for. In this situation you’d maybe better off going with a traditionally designed and site built home.
  3. Urban built up areas: While modular homes are becoming more and more popular in urban areas, there can be obstacles to building modular homes in the city. For example, in an area or street with a lot of power lines, it can be very difficult to deliver the home to the building site. This could result in the installation cost escalating, meaning a conventional build made more sense.


Ultimately the choice between building modular and going with a conventional site built home comes down to a range of factors. You’ll need to weight up the pros and cons between the two and see what’s right for you. If you have any questions about the right choice for you, feel free to leave a comment below, or contact us directly. 


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Lester Raikes

Posted by:
Lester Raikes

Director at Anchor Homes

Find me on:

July 17, 2015
Lester Raikes Lester Raikes
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Topics: Process


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