A relocatable home is a structure which has been designed and engineered for ease of transport, usually in prefabricated sections, to be assembled and disassembled as desired by the homeowner. Note that relocatable homes are not the same as portable houses; transportable homes are just buildings which can be removed and taken elsewhere (often older homes will fall into this category by chance), while relocatable homes are specifically designed for this purpose.
However, the terms are often used interchangeably. It’s best to be aware of the difference while understanding that these two phrases will often be mixed up or used indiscriminately, often even by companies in the business.
Relocatable homes are designed to withstand a number of challenges that homes built on-site are not. Examples of the conditions relocatable homes are built to withstand include; being transported at high speeds on truck beds, exposure to the elements, and being lifted by cranes.
Relocatable homes can also be recognized as kit homes, prefab homes, and modular homes. This is because kit homes, modular homes, and prefab homes are basically the same thing; the only difference between a kit home and the other types of relocatable homes is that a kit home is a type of prefab home which requires assembly on-site (each of the others come fully formed).
All prefab/relocatable homes are factory manufactured and later transported to the site. You can read more about kit homes here or look at this overview of the highest quality prefab homes available for purchase in Australia. Some examples of trusted brands include Todd Devine, Snowgum homes, and All Steel Homes.
The first ever portable building was invented in England during the 1960s by Donald Shepherd. Since then, portable building technology has exploded in popularity as advancements in materials and building practices allow for bigger, stronger houses at lower and lower prices.
Relocatable homes are rapidly gaining attention on the commercial market and large-scale architecture firms are starting to take notice. Modscape is an architecture and home design firm with particular skill in designing high-end demountable homes tailored to the individual homeowner and project specifics.
If you are thinking about purchasing a movable house but are wary of the cost, you should rest assured; relocatable homes are some of the cheapest home options on the market. There are a number of high-quality brands with a focus on providing affordable portable homes, and prices generally range from $40-$60 per square foot (with basic 3 bedroom homes starting at around $53,400). If cost is a real problem for you, you may even wish to choose searching for a second hand prefab home online via gumtree or marketplace.
Note that this price is for kit homes, and if you intend to purchase a modular/prefab relocatable home instead this price will be higher to account for the price of assembly and complex delivery. Modular homes cost around $114,000 for a 2 bedroom home with one bathroom, which will generally sit at around 85 square metres in terms of floorspace.
To decide between a kit home or a prefab modular home, you will want to do a realistic assessment of your building skills if you intend to assemble the home yourself, and your budget if you intend to hire contractors to undertake that task for you. Time frame is also an important consideration; how pressed for time are you?
Modular homes come practically ready for habitation and the same cannot be said of kit homes. Try to do as much research as possible before making the decision and keep the specific circumstances of your project in mind while weighing your options. To help get you started, here are five of the best relocatable home options currently available in Australia, and examples of the best prefab homes across the world.
Mobile House Australia: Transportable Homes for Sale at Cheap prices
5. In.it Studios: Slough Modern Studio Home, UK
Designed by in.it studios, this relocatable home is just 400 square feet – right on the border between ‘small’ and ‘tiny.’ The segmented design neatly sections off the living area, bedroom, and bathroom, creating the illusion of wide open spaces.
This design is beautifully suited to its isolated and woodsy surroundings, as it places creative emphasis on the beauty of the surroundings rather than trying to be flashy. You can purchase a similar garden studio from In.it Studios here for approximately $2,000 or browse their catalogue for a slightly different design such as their office studio or house builds.
4. Van Homes: Granny flat
Van Homes is a relocatable home manufacturing company that focuses on providing innovative and affordable housing all across Australia, from QLD to WA. All of their relocatable homes can double as registrable caravans and they are built to comply with caravan standards, so you can actually take your home with you if you ever want to travel for an extended period of time.
The studio suite model, pictured above, is their smallest design and also the most affordable. It has a 2 hour setup and can come fully fixed with independent amenities. The price will vary depending on the extras you choose, but the most basic package begins at $35,670. Consult the pricing guide here.
3. Bond Homes
Bond homes has a number of styles of relocatable homes for sale including homes, granny flats, bungalows and park cabins. Their floor plans are available to browse here and you will have to request a quote here to get a sense of the prices – though delivery outside of NSW is likely to be pricy ($$$$-$$$$$) as they are based in Victoria.
2. Austam Homes
Austam Homes are based in Tamworth and have excellent support for rural clients all across NSW. You can find a variety of models and sizes available like this 2 bedroom sample home, Barwon. Contact here for a quote.
1. Parkwood Homes
Parkwood Modular homes manufacture high quality innovative houses and granny flats with a focus on sustainability. They cover everything from granny flats and cabins to 2 bedroom – 4 bedroom homes, with a few even larger models on offer. They are also known for their success in commercial prefab design. View their catalogue here.