Would you consider a Flat-Pack House? Iain Perham discusses

Many of us have experienced the frustrations of following complicated instructions written in ten different languages to build flat pack furniture only to find several screws left over or that components are missing. How would you feel if your new house arrived in “flat pack” form accompanied by a 300-page instruction booklet on how to assemble it?!The term ‘Flat Pack Home ‘or ‘Kit Home‘ has recently become a popular way to describe homes built using the pre-manufactured or prefabricated process here in the UK.

Prefabrication has come a long way from the commonly remembered ‘Prefabs’ which were built in large numbers as temporary housing solutions after the Second World War.

Although companies offer a range of options from traditional to contemporary, the designs are limited and may not be suitable for conservation areas where the Local Authority require a specific style of house using certain materials.

Speedy off-site manufacturing within a controlled factory environment reduces the risk of delay due to bad weather and the reliance on individuals associated with on-site construction methods. The long drying out period associated with ‘wet’ construction is reduced considerably. The shell including the roof of prefabricated flat pack houses can take as little as 1-2 weeks to construct on site reducing the overall construction time by as much as 50%.

From a sustainability perspective, modern prefabricated houses are constructed using sustainable materials such as timber and due to their good thermal efficient properties, running costs are greatly reduced. In addition, pre-fabricated components create less waste and there is less impact on the local community from site traffic, noise and disruption due to the reduced construction period.

According to the manufacturers, flat pack houses cost roughly 10-25% less than other types of traditional construction, making them more of an affordable option for many different people especially first-time buyers. You can purchase a flat pack house from as little as £70,000 upwards depending on size, style and level of specification. Although this cost excludes land purchase, utility connections and professional fees. In addition, the options for land purchase maybe limited and any build will be subject to Planning Permission.

Prefabricated flat pack houses are certainly becoming a more popular alternative form of construction to traditional methods due to their many advantages, however it seems that the perception of future customers need more confidence in the longevity of these houses and the warranties being offered. In order to in still confidence in this type of construction, it is advised that individuals carry out extensive research to ensure that their requirements are met. In addition, to appoint reputable manufacturers who have the relevant knowledge, experience and accreditations that provide a turn-key service from the design, prefabrication to the assembly on site.