Everything you need to know about prefabricated granny flats – is it worth it?
If you are looking at options for adding a granny flat to your property, you may stumble across the ‘solution’ of prefabricated granny flats.
They claim to be cheaper, easier, and therefore better than building on-site with a builder, but for people who choose this option, it becomes very clear very quickly that it’s not always quite that simple.
Are they cheaper? Up front – yes. But when you consider what you sacrifice in quality and value, and what you don’t see in the hidden costs, prefab granny flats are more than often not worth it.
Let us explain why – but first you need to know what they are and how they work.
What is a prefabricated granny flat?
Prefabricated granny flats can also be called kit homes (or kit flats) and are manufactured in a warehouse and brought out to your property to be installed.
Everything like building, tiling, painting and fit out is done offsite, and then the flat is transported to your property using a system of cranes and trucks. Then utilities like water and electricity are connected.
Building the prefab plans in a warehouse can be done in approximately 10 days, and then it only takes a matter of days to finish the flat once it is transported to your property, as opposed to the 8-10 weeks of building onsite.
Would you recommend a prefabricated granny flat?
So far it sounds great, doesn’t it? But prefabricated granny flats are essentially the building equivalent of flatpack furniture. They aren’t always bad, and they do serve a purpose, but more often than not, you get what you pay for.
Like flat pack furniture, it can serve a cheap, fill the gap purpose. But you don’t have a wide variety of options, and what you save ends up costing you elsewhere, like on the painful process of putting it together or the long-term durability.
The time and cost ‘savings’ of a kit home or granny flat will involve sacrifices that most people end up realising aren’t worth it.
What are the sacrifices?
We have written a whole blog on the pros and cons of a professional builder’s onsite granny flat vs a prefabricated flat that you can read here.
Simply put – you lose out majorly on crucial parts of the design process, quality in the construction stages, and the savings don’t necessarily match up.
In design, for instance, you are choosing from a selection of un-editable plans that are not made for your home or property. Not only can you run into problems trying to match something perfectly to your pre-existing home’s style, but you also lose out on all the potential value that having something purpose built can give you.
When our builders come out to your property to help you choose and draw up a design for a granny flat, we can customise it to maximise things like your land, space, light and scenery around you. We can see where you may need extra privacy and add screens, remove windows or alter floor plans. We can put windows in the right places to maximise the sunlight and views around you. You can make requests like having doors and access in locations that make using the space easier for you, or you may have a specific style of furniture in mind that requires extra space in a bedroom or living area instead of somewhere else.
All these things are easy to do when someone is designing a granny flat for you and your unique property. But you sacrifice this care and quality using a prefabricated granny flat that follows a set formula plan that someone created in an office without seeing your space.
Construction is also usually of lesser quality in a prefabricated granny flat. They will still meet Australian Standards, but best practice is often forsaken for both time, transport and because the builder and you as the client aren’t overseeing each process like you would onsite. In fact, you lose the flexibility to watch as your building is constructed and make changes as you go. While we don’t necessarily encourage this as it can add time and cost to your project, the ability to watch a space transform gives you the safety net of realising you don’t like something that you thought you would before it becomes permanent.
When you consider that the cheaper price of a prefab granny flat usually only covers the cost of building and transport, and not all the additional features of installation like concreting, plumbing and electrical, the price gap narrows very quickly in comparison to a professional builder’s granny flat that includes everything from approvals to completion.
The final verdict
The sacrifices of building a kit home styled, prefabricated granny flat are not usually worth it. It may seem cheaper and easier, but the long-term durability and the sacrifices involved to the overall quality and design will always leave you better off in the capable hands of quality onsite builders like ours.
If you’ve been toying with the idea of a granny flat and looking for a solution to add extra space to your property – we can’t recommend our team of expert designers and builders enough. And you don’t have to take just our word for it! We have been recognised with multiple Master Builder industry awards for our high quality work and innovative designs, and have a seemingly endless list of happy client testimonials who rave about our work and customer care.
Get in touch with our friendly team today to find out more about how we can make your granny flat dreams a reality!
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