Confused by building lingo?

Prefab homes (also known as prebuilt, modular, transportable) or Kitset homes. How do you choose which is best for you? Or indeed what the terms mean!

Today’s article looks at the main differences between prefab (or prebuilt homes as we like to call them) and kitset homes and the pro’s and cons of each.


What are the main differences between prefab and kitset homes?

Think about it like furniture – say a book shelf. You can buy a bookshelf and have it delivered and installed in your home (pre-fabricated or pre-built), or you can buy a kitset bookshelf and put it together yourself.

The pre-built bookshelf is likely to be slightly more expensive, but the quality and timeframe for getting your books on the bookshelf is known. The kitset option is likely to be cheaper, but the quality depends on your build as does the timeframe.


  • Prebuilt homes come completely built (ready to live in) when they’re delivered to your property
  • They have the lighting, electrics and plumbing all set up with the kitchen and bathrooms fully installed
  • Most have the finishings all complete like painting, light fittings, and flooring
  • Installing the home onto your property basically involves setting the home on the foundations and connecting the utilities.


  • Kitset homes come unassembled when they’re delivered to your property. You you then need to engage a builder or complete the build yourself if you are licenced
  • All building, electrical and plumbing work is completed on site
  • All finishing work (painting, plastering, flooring) is completed on site
  • Kitset homes therefore require you to project manage the build. The process is only some degrees simpler than building a home from scratch
  • The building must be undertaken by a licenced Building Practicioner.

What are the advantages of prebuilt (prefab) vs kitset homes?

When comparing the two options let’s look at some of the key factors you’re likely to consider – cost, quality, speed.


  • Prebuilt houses generally attract a higher purchase cost than kitset homes but the total cost is a known entity.
  • Kitset homes tend to be cheaper than pre-built, but fittings and finishes are usually a separate costs that is not automatically included. So watch out for false economies.
  • Both approaches offer cost savings compared to building a home from scratch by utilizing off-site building and systemised construction.


  • For both options you generally have a range of base plans to choose from with some ability to customise
  • With prebuilt homes you’ll get the same quality of build and finish as you see in the company’s showhome because the build is controlled
  • You’ll have a limited choice of finishes and fittings
  • With kitset homes you have more flexibility with who you choose to construct the home, and the types of finishes and fittings used, although both add additional costs on the initial price.


  • With prebuilt homes the majority of the construction work happens off-site in a controlled environment. This means the build speed is not affected by weather or subcontractors (plumbers and sparkies) so time-frames are known.
  • Kitset homes can also speed up the build process (compared to building from scratch) with some of the work completed off site. However they require significant on site work including building, plumbing and electrical. Time-frames are more fluid and can blow out with adverse weather or subcontractor schedule clashes.


The choice you make really comes down to price, effort and the desired look and feel of your home.

Want to know more about prebuilt homes and whether they might be right for you? Call me (Keith) on 07 572 0230 and lets have a chat. Or learn more about us