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Pros and cons of a prefab house

Whether you're ready to upsize your home, retire, invest or get onto the property ladder, the process of building a new house can be daunting. It’s important to explore all of the building options to ensure that you're making a sound investment that meets your timeframe, budget and needs. Prefabricated homes provide an affordable and convenient solution compared to a traditional kitset build, however, there are some drawbacks. In this article, we'll explore the advantages and disadvantages of choosing a prefab home so that you can see both sides and evaluate the best option for you.

Benefits of a prefab house

Controlled environment

Because prefab homes are constructed inside a purpose-designed factory, every element of the build can be tightly controlled. This means that the budget and timeframe of the build can be better defined and adhered to. Also, as the whole build is carried out in the factory under close supervision, Genius Homes can also ensure that your home is built to the highest quality standards. 

Weather can often be an unreliable variable for traditional builds, as heavy rain or strong winds can cause tradespeople that work on the exterior of a home (such as builders, painters or brick-layers) to halt work on jobs. This can have a domino effect on the timeline of other trades which delays the schedule and may increase the costs. As prefab homes are built in a factory, work can continue throughout the year, rain or shine.


The building process of a prefab home is better for the environment than conventional construction because fewer materials are used in their construction and less of the site’s environment is disturbed. Without the constant footfall of vans, trades and diggers your section won't be torn up and there’s a good chance of the land recovering a lot quicker, meaning you can enjoy that 'settled in' feeling sooner.

Faster than traditional construction

Once your plans have entered the production line, on average the building process to site delivery will take 10 weeks. There will be an additional 4 weeks of on-site work until the keys are handed over. With an internal team of builders that are used to building our designs, we can move efficiently and quickly to have your home ready as soon as possible. Our houses come with appliances, fully fitted kitchens, and bathrooms, meaning that once the essential connections have been made you'll be ready to start enjoying your house within hours. Generally, it takes one to four months longer to build a traditional home than it does to construct a prefab home, especially during the winter months. Therefore this reduces your temporary accommodation costs or means less time staying with family while you wait for your house to be built. 

Customisable designs

If you’re not sure about the shape of your roof or you want to add a scullery, don't worry - your plans can be changed to reflect your individual preferences! Prefab homes are customisable so you can add a personal touch or change the layout. Genius Homes offer custom design options and will draw up a new design to meet your specific requirements. You can take one of our designs and tweak it, or come to us with your ideas for a dream home and we can discuss your options.  

Progress updates

During the construction phase, we send you regular photos and progress reports of how the construction of your prefab home is tracking. However, if you want the experience of watching your house come together like an on-site build, you can still do so by visiting our factory and see your new home coming together. No matter the weather, you can conduct a 'site visit' whilst guaranteeing you'll be warm and dry, and your house will be too!


According to Money Crashers, building a prefab home is typically cheaper than traditional or kitset homes by an average of 10% to 20% less. The controlled construction environment inside the factory means that we can also ensure there are no overrun costs, so you will be provided with a fixed cost at the beginning of the process. Also, due to the volume of houses we do and our bulk buying agreements with suppliers, we are able to pass along great discounts to clients.

Materials unaffected by the elements

Because prefab homes are built inside a warehouse the exposure to wind, rain and chill is minimised, which results in less fatigue on the wooden internal frames. Since materials on traditional construction sites are often subjected to rain and snow in New Zealand, they can be vulnerable to environmental toxins like mould, mildew, and rust. 

Prefab factory build

Downsides of a prefab house

Securing financing can be trickier

It can sometimes be more challenging for people to get a mortgage for a prefab home compared with an all-inclusive home and land package. However, working with a mortgage advisor will help assess your individual circumstances and guide you down the right path.

It’s not a relocatable home

While it’s common to get relocatable and prefab houses confused, these two types of houses are quite different. While they are built in a factory, prefab homes (also known as transportable homes) are considered permanent once delivered to the site, fixed to foundations and connected to utilities. A relocatable homes (also known as mobile homes) can easily be removed at a later date, making them ideal for temporary accommodation.

Finding your own land

When you go down the path of a prefab home, you’ll need to find and purchase your own piece of land for this to be placed on. This may require more time and resources than if you were to get a house and land package, however, it also gives you more control over the end location. Any work required to prepare the land for a prefab home, such as removing or adding in soil, will also be an additional cost to factor into your budget as this will vary depending on the condition of the site you choose.

Additional expenses

Genius Homes understand that one of the biggest frustrations when building a home is unexpected costs, therefore we provide an all-inclusive price for enquiries which, when broken down, include; materials, construction costs, fittings, and most importantly site costs. However, it’s important to be aware of the costs that are not included in this price, such as the transport and travel, and the normal service connection costs (power and plumbing) as these are dependent on your site location and available existing services. Transport prices can range from $3,000 to $20,000 depending on your location. When purchasing a prefab home from Genius Home, your project manager will come to your site and identify additional costs before your project gets underway so that you have no expensive surprises later on. 

While each route you take towards building a house has advantages and disadvantages, prefab homes tend to provide a faster and more affordable solution to a traditional kitset house due to the controlled construction process. As long as you are aware of all of the costs involved and are happy to find your own land, prefabs provide a convenient housing solution!

To explore our full range of prefab home options, download our latest product catalogue. Alternatively, if you’d like to discuss the process with one of your experienced consultants, feel free to contact us directly.

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