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What is an offsite built home?

In recent years, offsite construction has gained a lot of attention as an innovative building solution, but it can be confusing to know how it fits in. While terms like prefab, transportable, and modular have been used widely in the construction industry, offsite manufacturing, or OSM, is less familiar. To simplify the terminology of building a house, ‘offsite manufacturing' is beginning to emerge as a generic term for all the construction techniques mentioned above. While each method is slightly different, the aim and outcome are ultimately the same – quality new-build housing that’s hassle-free.

What is offsite construction?

Unlike traditional construction methods, offsite manufacturing (OSM) refers to any part of a building that is built away from the final building site. Depending on the manufacturer, this can range from small parts to fully assembled houses. 

Typically, offsite building companies will work on the houses in a factory under controlled conditions. This way, for most of the process, the environmental conditions are consistent and predictable, making it a far more efficient construction method than the conventional approach. 

The amount of time spent installing the house on the site will depend on how complex the design is and how complete it is upon delivery. Some smaller homes, for example, can be delivered 100% complete, while some may need components connected together. Varying techniques aim to have as much done as possible while others require more time to put everything together in location.

Benefits of an offsite build

There are several reasons behind the rise of prebuilt homes, including convenience, price, and the streamlined building journey. If you want to build a new house without living on or near a building site for 6+ months then an offsite approach is definitely for you.


Building a house onsite can be a long and arduous process, especially when accounting for the weather. There’s disruption from material deliveries, dozens of tradespeople trampling the site, and waste and debris impacting the local area. Fortunately, prebuilt homes can avoid most of that drama by minimising the time spent out in the elements and reducing the disruption to the site.  

Compared to the long months or years of onsite construction, some offsite building methods can deliver your completed home in a matter of weeks of going into production. That’s due to the controlled environment and predictability of working in an organised factory. 

Traditional construction is known for its frustrating weather delays, problematic deliveries, and higher travel costs but these problems are virtually non-existent when working in a reliable offsite facility. At Genius Homes, you can even book a factory tour to see how it all works.


Due to the speed and productivity of offsite manufacturing, these houses also tend to be more cost-effective. With builders operating in a dependable, convenient location, time isn’t wasted on travel and delays. This means labour costs are dramatically reduced without sacrificing quality. 

With a prefab home, the only time spent travelling to the site is during delivery and installation. At this stage, most of the work is done and the house is already weathertight, with only a few finishing touches for our team to complete.


Building offsite is a relatively stress-free approach because of its predictable nature. By reducing the external influences that onsite construction faces, having your house built in a factory makes things a lot easier. 

At Genius Homes, our customers enjoy a hands-off experience, knowing their new home will be ready just 20 weeks from the beginning of construction.


While offsite builds have historically been boxy and relatively boring, the range of designs available now is quite extensive. With an array of house plans to choose from and plenty of customisations, you can easily add a personal flair to your offsite manufactured home.

Many people assume that a prefabricated, or offsite home means an off-the-shelf, mass-produced house design is built for speed and efficiency and not for style. If you like the layout of a floor plan, but want a few changes to make it more suited to your lifestyle, then a prefab home can still deliver these touches.

Types of offsite construction

The adaptability of offsite manufacturing provides a much-needed solution to the problems the New Zealand housing market is facing. When it comes to speed, cost, sustainability and materials shortages, offsite methods are the way to go. 

To determine which offsite building approach is best for your project, here are the key types to look out for:

Componentised construction

The most basic form of offsite construction is called componentisation where some elements are made offsite, such as pre-nailed roof trusses or precast concrete.  These ready-made components save time for builders but are mainly used as a supplement to onsite construction. 

These components are then delivered to the site and assembled into their whole state. Many view componentised construction as one end of the offsite spectrum where more elements are pre-built than a standard build, but not as much as many prefabricated solutions. 

Modular homes

The term modular construction refers to a type of prefab that are built in different sections and then assembled as a whole onsite. Once fixed to the foundations, the house looks undistinguishable from a conventional house and has all the same amenities.

These modules can include living sections having bedrooms tacked on. You may even have multi-storey dwellings placed on top and beside each other in living ‘pods’. There’s a lot of flexibility around this style of building.

Prefab construction

A prefab home is constructed in a factory and delivered to the location on a truck. A large prefabricated home may be delivered in two components and brought together on-site but the vast majority are one single structure.

With all of the electrical, painting and interior finishes already added, the only work that needs to be done after the delivery can be done in a few weeks. That includes securing it to the foundations, connecting utilities, adding decking, and completing the final touch-ups. 

Inside the Genius Homes prefab factoryHouses using this method can also be called transportable homes, but these can generally be removed at a point in the future with ease while most prefabricated homes are permanent buildings once situated on site.

Offsite manufacturing NZ

As people look for ways to break into the New Zealand housing market, offsite manufacturing is one of the most viable options, especially when the majority of the house is complete upon delivery. Due to the efficiency of this process, these methods are generally more affordable and much faster, making them far more attainable. OSM can be particularly appealing to people looking to build an additional home on a section near their primary dwelling as this minimises the disruption to their lifestyle and reduces the impact on their neighbours.

OSM construction standards 

While they tend to be the most affordable option, offsite-built houses still meet all the same quality and sustainability requirements as onsite builds and meet the latest Building Code requirements for your region, so you can be confident that it will stand the test of time. 

Financing for offsite manufacturing

As more and more people seek affordable building solutions, the recognition of offsite manufacturing is far higher. In 2022, Genius Homes was excited to announce our partnership with BNZ to provide construction loans for our prefab house designs. This partnership paves the way for more people to have flexibility in the type of new build home they seek, without the typical financial hurdles.  

To find out more about our prefab homes and offsite manufacturing approach, reach out to our friendly team. We can guide you through the construction journey, design your dream home, and deliver it to your South Island site. 

Or, if you want to get inspired, check out our range of house designs. From small self-contained units to large family homes, you’re sure to find a design to suit your needs. 

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