Prefabricated self-builds, also known as ‘modular’ or ‘kit’ homes, have been around the UK since the 1920’s, but have only recently surged in popularity among home builders. So why the big fuss all of a sudden?

Essentially, the shell, or exterior of these modular homes are constructed in a factory and then dropped onsite for architects and self-builders to apply the finishing touches. Outsourcing the construction of your home to a factory…sounds expensive right? Actually, in comparison to traditional self-builds, prefab houses are actually quite cheap – with many modular designs ranging from £1,300-£2,000 per square meter. The design of these homes has improved over the last few years, and are also quite eco-friendly. With the recent housing shortage, prefab self-builds have became a convenient option for homebuilders, as an estimated 300,000 new homes must be built per year in the UK to maintain affordable housing prices.

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So by now you are probably wondering what the benefits of a prefabricated self-build might be. Here are some of the main benefits in selecting a modular home design for your self-build.

  • Efficiency: Typically, prefab homes have a shorter build time than traditional self builds, as factory homebuilders focus on one house at a time, and do not have to travel to and from the site to complete work.
  • Sustainability: The sustainable design of prefabricated homes has significantly improved with their increasing popularity. Specifically, precise measurements of these homes in the factory result in improved air-tightness and insulation.
  • Bespoke Design: Prior to construction, you/your architect can arrange design briefings with a specialist in order to make sure all your requirements are met. As long as it is transportable on a lorry, your modular home can be constructed to any shape and size that you need!
  • Cost Certainty: All major details and specifications will be decided prior to construction. This means no surprises down the line, but it also means that changing your mind is difficult later on! It’s worth carefully planning the design with your architect first before pressing ‘go’

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New builds from Michael (left) & Nick (right), Architects on DfM

Types of Modular Homes

A major element to these prefabricated homes is Timber Framing. For more information on Timber Frame design, see our recent article here. An open panel Timber Frame home consists of essential structural elements including the floors, walls, and roof along with various joinery elements such as windows, stairs, and doors. At this point, the rest of the design and finishing for the home is up to you and your architect. Self-builders typically prefer this option, as they are still able to maintain control of the design of their homes.  


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If you are a self-builder looking to start a project in the new year, a prefabricated self-build may just be the right option for you! With the help of an architect, you can still ensure that your specific requirements are being met in a convenient and cost effective manner! If you have any questions or comments on prefab homes, feel free to drop us an email on and we will be happy to offer some advice!

Hope that helps!

Austin,  Design for Me

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