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Prefabricated home construction is not a new idea.

Prefabrication is an ‘umbrella’ term that covers a range of different systems and processes. These include structural, architectural and services elements.

Prefabrication refers to any part of a building that has been fabricated at a place other than its final location. For this reason, it is often referred to by other names such as off-site fabrication or off-site construction.


Almost as long as men have searched for shelter they have been searching for a way to do it better and faster. So, where are we now?

Unfortunately, house construction as we know it here in Australia hasn’t changed significantly over the past few centuries. While conventional site-built homes tend to be the go-to choice for many Australians, there are some clear advantages to off-site construction methods and to prefab, modular homes. If you’ve decided to build, and don’t know a lot about prefab / modular homes, it may seem easier to stick with traditional on-site construction.

But by researching and comparing both modular and conventional methods, you give yourself the best chance of a hassle-free project and a beautiful, modern and energy efficient home that you will love for many years to come.

Process of engineering unique prefab parts for sustainable ecokit homes on high tech CNC cutters


Prefab is a fast way to build. Contrary to traditional site built construction, factory fabrication can overlap site development and foundation phases, resulting in projects being delivered at least 30% faster.

Also, most of the construction process is done inside a factory, which can hugely lessen delays due to bad weather, theft, or vandalism. Tighter construction schedule allows faster occupancy, which allows for a faster return on investment.


The factory setting of the prefab component production is a more controlled environment than an actual site. This increased control allows for better material planning, which reduces material surplus and also offers improved cost control and predictability.

Additionally, using a modular construction system with prefabricated components that allows for a faster assembly on site, this will also save on labour costs. Site overheads are significantly lower compared with conventional construction.

You can also save on costs involved when your project is in an area that’s hard to access, like far-flung towns or places experiencing a surge in construction.

designs and floorplans of ecokit in 3D models on the table
quality materials are being used like FSC certified eco-friendly wood


Ensuring quality is generally easier with a prefab component system, since all parts and components are constructed in climate-controlled facilities with precise equipment and methods.

They’re built using advanced manufacturing principles, supervision, proper tools, equipment and processes, employee training, automated production systems, and a rigorous quality control program.

With better quality components, your building will have a higher level of quality than homes constructed by the traditional stick frame method.

quality materials are being used like FSC certified eco-friendly wood


While materials are sourced from accredited sustainable suppliers, factory fabrication reduces overall waste to landfill sites by over 80% as compared to conventional construction.

Wood is a renewable resource and requires 70-90% less energy to convert vs steel and 94% less than aluminium. Wood is also a tool for sequestering carbon dioxide.

assembly of the prefab wooden partsfor beams of the ecokit construction system

To cut a very long story short, we believe it’s simply better to choose prefab.
The relevant question is ‘HOW’ to build off-site?

There are two main families of prefab systems, panelised/component and volumetric prefab. Both systems can be used on their own, used as hybrids with each other, or used in conjunction with traditional construction approaches.

Modular / volumetric system

Modular, sectional, volumetric or unitised systems are 3-dimensional structural units or ‘pods’ which are combined at site with other units or systems, or might comprise an entire small building.

Modular building is not entirely a new way to build structures and there’s a reason it has grown in popularity in Australia; modular construction has a handful of advantages but there are also some disadvantages, the main one being lack of flexibility in terms of design.

Considering that the cost of high quality modular buildings in Australia is not usually any lower that a cost of traditionally build house and adding the extra cost for delivery and heavy machinery hire for the assembly, the speed of construction seems to be the drawpoint of modular construction.

Therefore, if you are on a tight schedule and would like to move into your new home in a relatively short time, look at modular building.

Lack of flexibility
Modular buildings generally have a form of multiple ‘pods’ connected together on site to form the whole structure. Those pods have size limitations, given by the transport requirements. If you look at modular building, you almost never see any overhangs as those would be over the transportation size limits. For this reason, modular homes often feel bland and boxy.

Additional transport & machinery cost
As mentioned, modular buildings are generally transported to the site in forms of multiple pods. This means multiple truck deliveries which for a site just a few hundred kilometers away from the factory might add couple of thousands of dollars. Count in the permissions for oversized load, too.

Hiring a crane to place those pods on the site will add another cost to your project, anywhere between few hundreds to another couple of thousands, depending on how fast the assembly goes.

Panelised / component system

This system comprises of panels or components that are pre-cut, pre-sized, pre-assembled or pre-shaped and are assembled together or installed on site.

The components arrive on site ready for assembly.  They might form the building envelope, stair cores, internal load bearing walls or lighter partitions. They might be open or closed panel systems created through a range of advanced off-site manufacturing technologies.

There are some key advantages of component prefab system over the modular construction. The units are shipped in a pre-assembled panel configuration, optimized for load capacity, shipping and delivery logistics. The total number of loads to site is greatly reduced resulting in lower transportation cost and simplified on-site traffic logistics.

Design flexibility
System comprising of smaller components can be very flexible in design, ultimately any home design can be created by using only standardised parts that are produced in larger volumes and therefore much more economical to fabricate.

An existing library of parts also allows the designer to create the design much faster than drawing a home from scratch.  The configuration options are infinite, combined with the speed of assembly.

Our innovative ecokit construction system also eliminates the need for a heavy machinery or cranes, as all components are light enough to be handled by only 4 people.

At ecokit homes we build in a way that suits the site and requirement best. There are pros and cons for both construction methods, and it’s important to look closely at the specifics of your own project when comparing. Factors such as your design requirements, location, and time restrictions can all impact which method is the best for you.

And if you need extra guidance, don’t be afraid to have a chat with us for some expert advice and to find out exactly how we can make your dream home happen. So, if you have a site for your project, let’s talk!


If you are still on the lookout for your dream piece of land, we encourage you to subscribe to our newsletter and we will take you through the preparation for your project before we get to the planning.


My enthusiasm for changing lifestyles, determination to change the world, devotion to a positive change of any kind, love of innovative ideas and desire to always push the boundaries organically came together eventually - and so ecokit was born. Now, as a Certified Passive House Consultant, I am proud to be doing what I enjoy and love - helping people to fulfill their dreams of living in a healthy, happy home.

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