Modular synthesis: a prefab buyers guide

The “prefab aesthetic” isn't mandatory for homes constructed via prefabrication, but if designers lean into it, the results can be impressive—both inside and out.

Image: Betti & Knut Architecture

Forget the fibro shack—prefabricated homes have undergone a marked evolution in recent times. The term “prefab” is no longer limited to basic, utilitarian structures, instead spanning a range of typologies from affordable rural to high-design urban “architectural homes”. Belinda Smart surveys the home build options available and assesses the sustainability factors to consider.

Prefabricated construction is increasingly attracting attention in the market for its benefits, from speed of construction and labour savings to waste reduction. The industry here is still in its infancy—an oft-quoted figure is that prefab represents 3% to 5% of the construction industry, but despite its small size, Australia’s prefab market boasts a number of innovative home building companies. These include suppliers of upper mid-market premium prefab homes—which are often custom-designed and are thus referred to here as “architectural homes”—such as Habitech or Ecoliv, as well as suppliers of more affordable options such as Anchor Homes.

In Australia, prefab is a radical departure from mainstream building approaches, but for forward-thinking home owners, there are reliable pathways to a successful prefab build. The prefab buyers guide in Renew 153, which is out now, outlines the key factors to consider when seeking out a supplier for your prefab home, with a focus on sustainability. It should not replace advice from a building architect or designer. Instead, its aim is to provide a foundational knowledge that will enable you to decide whether you want to pursue prefab.

Read this article in its entirety in Renew 153!

Belinda Smart
Belinda is Managing Editor of Built Offsite Magazine and Editor and Content Lead at Boston Publishing.

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