Considering that I recently finished building a brick house, I was wondering how much it would cost if it were modular. I contacted a Croatian manufacturer of modular houses and asked for an offer.
I would like to immediately note that modular and brick houses cannot be directly compared, but I will try to be as objective and accurate as possible in comparing them. Also, if you expect specific prices in this post, you will not get them.
Costs of building a house
Before comparing these two building methods, it is good to know the proportion of costs when building a house. This proportion is based on my example of building a house and 100% accurate because every spent euro is recorded and categorized.
Explanation of what is included in which category:
- Papers – main project, engineering project, construction permit, supervision, electricity, utility contribution…
- Exterior landscaping – yard landscaping, removal or delivery of soil and the like
- Internal construction works – installation of tiles, room doors, painting, installation of sockets…
- Interior – kitchen, bathtub, corner sofa, curtains…
- Construction – foundations, masonry, roof, plastering, facade.
You may be surprised, but 8% of the total costs are made up of the paperwork required for construction. At first it doesn’t look like much, but the fact that the interior decoration cost me almost the same, 9% of the total construction, is quite worrying. I could write a lot about this data, but that is not the topic of this post.
Share of costs in the “rough construction” of the house
This division is not enough for us. Namely, regardless of whether you are building a prefabricated or brick house, some items are exactly the same. Papers, interior, exterior decoration and interior construction work cost exactly the same regardless of the construction method. These items make up 26% of the total costs, and the rest of the construction costs must be characterized differently in order to get a true picture of the costs.
The next graph shows the share of costs in “rough construction”.
This is how the categories and their share in rough construction are divided
- Foundations – Excavation and foundation construction – 15%
- AB panel above the ground floor – Preserator name for the ceiling – 19%
- Electricity – Complete electricity supply, junction box and other – 5%
- Heating and water – Radiators or pipes for underfloor heating, heating system, water pipes – 12%
- Floor – Ljepenka, Styrodur, glaze – 2%
- Masonry – Obviously, brick and mortar – 8%
- Carpentry – Windows, entrance doors, garage doors – 7%
- Roof – Roofing materials, tiles, OSB boards – 21%
- Plastering – 4%
- Facade – 7%
What exactly goes into building a prefabricated house?
Companies that do prefabricated houses do not do all of these categories. The best example is the foundations, which the investor must make before the construction of the prefabricated house starts. Of course, they can offer their subcontractors, but they make a special offer.
In the offer I received, it was clearly indicated that the company does not provide heating, water, electricity, and flooring (cardboard, Styrofoam, glaze). Interestingly, the company does the facade, but does not do the plinth around the house because they consider it work related to the foundation. You’ve probably seen pictures of prefabricated houses with a facade without plinths, but, like me, you’ve never wondered why. If you ask me, that’s nonsense, because good luck finding a craftsman who will come to make only the plinth.
How much cheaper or more expensive?
With a prefabricated house, we have to leave some items, because as I said, the company that builds them does not make those items. In the calculations, I left the foundations, electricity performance, heating, water and floor (cardboard, styrofoam, glaze). Also, I left the carpentry, roof and facade because they are in the offer sent by the company for the construction of prefabricated houses, but I included those sent by the company in the calculation.
I threw out some items, namely the AB board above the ground floor and the plaster , because you don’t need it when building a prefabricated house.
We have to add the construction of walls, ceilings and the transportation of materials because these are new items for a prefabricated house.
I entered all the values into the cost table that I used to build the house to get the new price of the house.
The calculation showed that a prefabricated house would be 6% cheaper .
If it’s not the price, what are the advantages of a prefabricated house?
To be honest, I wasn’t too surprised at the amount by which a prefab would be cheaper. When you think about it, most things are the same as with a brick house. Foundations, roof, carpentry, facade are all non-prefabricated items.
I can’t speak about which is better, a brick house or a prefabricated house, but according to the offer I received, I have to admit that the thermal insulation in a prefabricated house is very good.
If you take out a loan when building a house, unless you have another property that you can provide as a guarantee, it will be difficult for you to cover the entire cost of the brick house with the amount of the loan. On the other hand, if you agree on all costs with a company that makes prefabricated houses, the bank will more easily provide the loan needed for construction.
The last thing that comes to my mind is the speed of construction. You can move into a prefabricated house a few months after the start of construction, while with a brick house, that period is about a year.
What are your experiences with prefabricated houses?
I hope that this post will help at least someone understand the differences between a prefabricated house and a brick house. If you have any questions or want to comment on this post, visit our channel.