Modular or Kit Homes - What's the Difference?

When it comes to building your home, there are many different options available to you, each with their own benefits. There is a traditional build, where all building is done on site, and generally the project is run entirely by you or a project manager. Then there are kit homes and modular homes (also known as prefabricated homes) – and this is where many people get a little confused, or are not quite sure what each process involves. While there are some similarities between the two, there are plenty of differences!

So we take a look at the main differences between building a kit home, or building the Swanbuild way with modular homes…

What is a Kit Home?
While kit homes come in many different styles, designs and sizes – they are not always delivered that way! Kit homes are designed and shipped in individual parts, that then require you to organise the assembly as each part arrives on site. Think of kit homes as a bit like a giant jigsaw puzzle, which will be pieced together by yourself (if you’ve got the skill), or your own qualified builder to build the finished home. Typically, you’ll also need to arrange the finishing and fit out of the home – think painting, as well as essentials like kitchens and bathrooms.

What is a Modular Home?
Modular homes are predominantly built offsite in a factory and the home is treated as a whole home throughout the process. At Swanbuild, we typically complete around 90% of the build in our purpose-built factory. Once a home is built it is then split into several ‘modules’, which can then be transported to a pre-prepared site ready for us to install and apply the finishing touches. A modular home can be thought of as a complete build, that is split for transportation before being put back together on site, ready for moving in.

While Kit and Modular homes may seem similar, they are actually very different in many ways, and offer different solutions for your build. It’s not just the building process that differs between the two, but there are a lot of other things to consider too…
As Kit homes are designed and shipped in parts to your site, after the initial design and planning stages of a build your design is pretty much locked in, making it difficult to make any changes as it will then require a re-jigging of all the other parts of the home, so when each element is delivered it fits together. This makes it hard to accommodate any last minute changes.

Modular homes allow you to customise your design all the way up to the time when you get your build contract. At Swanbuild we’ll work with you from the very start to make sure your home design meets your needs. If things change along the way – no problem! Modular design allows us to make these changes (as long as they fit within your plan) and tweak designs until your home is scheduled to be built.

Kit homes are usually used for smaller designs due to the nature of having to assemble all the different parts yourself and while a kit home can be larger, Modular homes can offer more living space.

In the initial stages, kit homes are often cheaper than modular homes – although this can vary depending on the scope of the home. While Kit homes may seem more cost effective at the time of purchase, it’s important to remember that there will be many additional costs to complete your home. Not only will you have to hire a contractor and labour to put a kit home together, there is the added cost of linking up all the essential connections such as plumbing and electrical, plus you’ll also have to splash out for all your fixtures and fittings.

Modular homes are usually priced to completion, meaning that although the costs may seem more, this includes all the installation, as well as the preparation of your site for a modular home. At Swanbuild, we offer a full turn key package – your home will be ready for you to move in, and the cost covers all standard inclusions. This means that your home will come with fittings, carpeting/flooring and lighting as per the plan you choose. There is always the option to add extras, but the standard inclusions allows your home to be ready for you to move in once installed.

Construction Time
A kit home’s components can be built and delivered in a very quick time frame – largely due to kit homes being smaller, but also because sections can be delivered as they are completed. However, that is only half of the build! Once on site, time is needed to assemble everything together and connect up services, install fittings and make sure everything is structurally sound. While skilled builders can do this quickly providing everything is in place, delays can occur due to weather conditions, problems with connections or if a piece of the home doesn’t quite fit properly to the already installed parts.


Modular homes may take a little longer to build, but there are benefits for a little extra waiting, and they are generally still much faster than a traditional build! As Swanbuild builds homes in our factory, the weather isn’t a problem – so any periods of bad weather won’t affect the time your build take to complete. As a modular home is nearly completely built before being taken to site, we know that your home will go back together perfectly once it arrives, and as we work off the layout of a pre prepared base, the chances of any issues with connecting up all the plumbing and electrical services are minimal.

Both ways of building have their advantages and will largely come down to your preference, finances, building or project management skills and site. We may be biased, but we think our process of assisting you throughout your whole build journey, and delivering you a dream home ready for you to move into is the superior way to go!

If you would like to find out more about what we do and how we can help you – why not check out some of our other blogs or get in touch!

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