In the UK today many are looking at cheaper alternatives for new homes and flatpack homes are becoming more and more popular. The term “flatpack” may not be particularly flattering, but these modern prefab designs can be extremely stylish and are also very green and recyclable. These modern homes are nothing like the prefab homes that were built back in the 1950s, these are off-the-shelf modular type kits which are highly customisable in terms of both the external appearance and the internal layouts. Buying a flat-pack home offers potential savings and architects fees which can often be substantial with new build homes.
Before discussing the costs of flatpack homes it is important to bear in mind that before you buy your home you will need land with planning permission, the ground work and foundations in place, services ready to connect and the budget to purchase the flat pack kit and also to pay the stamp duty within 30 days of the completed build. This, of course, is in addition to the cost of the builders and other professional tradesmen which will be required plus the finishing costs including bathroom and kitchen installation plus decorating. This is a large project and it is vitally important that a realistic budget is in place long before any major decisions are made.
Most of the companies that market flat pack homes also offer to build your own. They prefer to offer full service from initial consultation, delivery on site, to complete installation and handover. This can be a good option if you want the minimum of headaches and hassle, but this is unlikely to be the cheapest option. As with every other aspect of a major building project, the way to get the most competitive prices is to shop around.
Flatpack construction can offer the perfect home at a price that is considerably cheaper than a conventional build. So if you have a plot with planning permission, you can save tens of thousands of pounds on your dream home. But you should bear in mind that once you have built a flatpack home it is extremely difficult to extend it further or to alter their internal layout - you really have to stick with the original design, so make sure you get it right the first place! Another disadvantage of flatpack construction is that mortgage lenders may not offer loans on this type of project or if they do, the rates are likely higher. On the plus side, the potential to customise building project at the early stages it's huge! With flatpack designs, you really can choose exactly how you want your home to be, especially the interior which is essentially a blank canvas.
Land with planning permission is in such short supply in popular areas that they can be very tough to find. This means that many who are looking to build their dream home or buying an existing house and knock it down to make way for their new flatpack home. Obviously knocking an existing house down is more expensive than simply building a house on a plot of land, but if the land is simply not available in your chosen area then there is no other option, though the cost savings of a flatpack home will somewhat offset the additional costs of demolishing the existing building.
Planning permission will be required for a flatpack home in the same way it would be required for any new building. It is highly recommended that you have planning permission in place before you even buy the land as you may find it difficult to get planning permission for flat pack homes in certain areas though this can vary tremendously with different councils around the UK. Some of the companies which sell flatpack homes can offer further advice and can even work with your local council to help you gain planning consent.
There are around 10 well-known flatpack house companies in the UK which will both supply and install your new home. These companies are Haus UK, Scandi-Hus, WeberHaus, IKEA, Kingston Timber Frame, Baufritz, Huf Haus and Potton. Scandinavian and German companies are very popular in this market and offer stunning modern designs with lots of glass and wood. These companies have featured in popular TV programmes such as Grand Designs and the homes they sell include extremely good insulation along with renewable energy technology for low running costs and super green credentials. But bear in mind you will probably get a better price if you shop around for the installation rather than just using the same company for both.
But if you’re looking for a hassle-free turnkey project, then some of these companies can literally take care of everything for you, with no need for you to be on site at all until the day you collect the keys! They can take care of everything from the foundations and design through to the finished build. They can even deal with demolishing an existing property and clearing the plot, before laying the foundation for the new construction!
There are three main materials used in the construction of flatpack homes - timber, oak frame, and structural insulated panels (SIPS). Timber is most often used for traditional looking homes where load-bearing walls are not required. Timber flat-pack homes take just a few days to build and costs around a £100 per square metre for the main building shell. Oak frame flat pack homes are the most expensive at £200 per square metre and they use oak frame timbers in a post and beam construction where the timbers are often left exposed. Structural insulated panels cost roughly the same as timber for flatpack constructions but offer high insulation and easy builds. In terms of the completed costs, final installed price can be anywhere from £1000 per square metre up to £3500 for the most luxurious flatpack homes.
Once you have the land with planning permission in place you can build a prefab or flatpack home for less than £50,000. This will be for our basic two-bedroom house including the building shell and windows, but no fitted kitchen or bathroom.