Prefabricated homes: Design ideas, inspiration & pictures

Why prefabricated homes?

Prefab homes are an alternative to the traditional housing structure. These houses are meant to be inexpensive, easy to customise and modern. Prefabricated houses are also easier to build and requires far less time to construct when compared to old fashioned architecture. These houses are either constructed from re-purposed shipping containers or modular pieces that are manufactured at a factory and erected on site.

Although these modular homes are not a new invention throughout the world, they add a stylish and sophisticated take on construction. However, as the cost of development and property continues to increase in Hong Kong, this contemporary home style is gaining popularity. These structures are ideal for the single family household.

How are prefabs constructed?

Most prefabricated homes are constructed from the inside out. The phases of manufacturing take only a few days and inspections follow each step.

1. The construction begins with the floors and a wooden frame is placed under the floor and attached to the wall panels.

2. These panels are put together with bolts and nail and then insulated, spaces are cut out for the windows before the panels are fitted.

3. After the skeleton of the structure is fitted, the intricate housing features can be included and installed, such as the plumbing, electrical wiring and ceiling.

4. Thereafter, the roof is constructed at the factory and attached onto the house at the site.

5. The final step of the construction means completing the finishing touches, such as the exterior and interior finishes which includes the fitting the cabinets and furnishings and painting the walls.

Since prefab homes are constructed mostly from wood, glass and steel, they are not as durable when compared to the traditional brick and mortar house. If your property is located in an area that is prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes, fires and even floods and gale force windows, then you may want to consider a stronger home design. However, since these structures are so cost effective, you can easily rebuild a prefab home again.

If you’re looking for a more durable prefab house, there are cement options available too, but these will take longer to construct than wooden houses. Remember to look for the prefab that will suit your property, in terms of the type of soil or landscape. The construction can be completed in a few weeks, a month or a few months, depending on the size of the house and materials chosen. Choose a prefab house that suits the needs of your household, whether it be more than one bathroom, multiple bedrooms and even a spacious kitchen. These houses can be customised to fit the budget and family unit.

The legal issues and implications of prefabs

Permits are required in Hong Kong for a construction of project of a certain size, especially in areas that are prone to landslides. Since, these structures are not as durable as the traditional housing option, it’s necessary to gain a permit from the local government or council before beginning with your construction. Constructing a prefab house without permission means your run the risk of your house being dismantled by the authorities, and possibly paying a fine for the lack of permit. Contact the local council for more information on prefab construction.

Pros & cons of prefabs

Some of the pros are the affordability and efficient construction time. These homes are also eco-friendly, using minimal energy and water in their construction. Prefabricated houses are built mainly from recycled materials, making them more environmentally friendly. These homes are so easy to construct, they are even DIY options. As a result of their contemporary and modern design, there are a variety of options and styles to suit any personality. These houses can be customised from layout to colour scheme and design.

The cons include the quality factor, which means that the house may seem rather inexpensive, but it’s because lower quality fittings and fixtures were included in the structure, wearing out faster than the higher quality options. The personalised option is more expensive than the standard.

Maintenance & costs

The maintenance of a prefab home is similar to the maintenance of traditional brick houses. Inspect and organise maintenance for electricity and sewerage every five years to ensure the house is in an ideal condition. Wooden buildings however, require a treatment annually depending on the climate and should be adequately sealed or varnished before purchasing. The same goes for a cement house in terms of waterproofing. The costs of maintenance are related to the service provided, but it’s important to insure your property against damage resulting from a natural disaster.

Which type of professionals are able to help you?

If you’re dead set on a manufactured home for your modern family, then homify has an extensive list of professionals from architects to interior designers to help you with your perfect home. When it comes to designing a modern home from the beginning with a layout and floor plan to suit your space, then the homify tips and tricks are easy to incorporate. If it’s a modular design you’re looking for or you would like to add some pizzazz to that existing house, then browse through the site for information to help enhance your space.