Are you looking for a block of land to build your dream modular home on?
Maybe a coastal weekender or a country get-away?
Here are some essential tips on what to look for in order to maximise the potential for your modular home. Find the type of block that can make a good modular house a fantastic home.
What comes first, your ideal prefabricated home or your ideal block of land?
Location and size
This comes down to a lifestyle choice. Do you want to be self-sufficient and secluded on a remote acreage or do you want the convenience of a well serviced town block, or something in the middle?
Building costs usually increase the further the block is located from a capital city. This cost variation is known as regional indices. Prefab homes also get more expensive the more remote a block is due to the high transport costs of delivering large house sections.
MODE Homes can be delivered to regional, rural and remote blocks significantly cheaper than other prefabricated homes due to the fold-pack system. In some cases, saving up to 25% of full project costs.
Zoning, easements and covenants
Make sure the zoning of the land permits you to build what you want to build. Making some enquires at the local council can save a lot of wasted time and money. Check if the land is in a flood zone, and if so, how will that impact the design and the build?
Also check for any easements and covenants. An easement can be public or private, and include rights-of-way, utilities, and, occasionally, views. Restrictive covenants restrict the use of the land or type of design and are common with land subdivisions.
It is also necessary to find out what the Bushfire Attack Level or BAL is on the block. This will impact on the material selections and the design of the home.
Orientation and views
Especially for smaller town blocks it is essential to consider the orientation of the block and how that may work with the prefab home layout. A regular town block is usually longer than it is wide (for example: 15m wide x 45m wide). A MODE Home can be laid out to respond to any site orientation but in general the easiest orientation to design around is where the backyard faces north. This allows the best passive solar design while engaging the home with the private open space of the backyard.
A site that has views to the north is ideal. This is because living spaces, decks, windows and doors are best positioned facing the northern sun. Enjoying a great view and that northern sun at the same time is a fantastic combination.
Distant views over the rear of the property are better than views over the sides of a property. This is because you look over your own private backyard to the views rather than compromising your neighbours and your own privacy.
When your prefabricated home arrives at the block it will need to be positioned onto its foundations. The easier the access to the foundations the less expensive the process is. Some blocks do not require cranes if the truck is able to freely manoeuvre across the site and over the foundations. Commonly a crane is required and will need a space to set up for and make the lift. For simple lifts only a small crane is required. More complicated lifts over existing buildings or power lines can add substantial cost to the project.
Sloping blocks can offer dramatic views however they can also add more cost for the foundations. If a block slopes down toward the street allowance will also need to be made for stairs up to the main living level. There is an opportunity for parking or for storage under the home if the site slopes steeply.
When the block slopes down from the street access to the home is easier as the ground floor level of the home will be closer to the level of the road. As the prefabricated home is usually elevated above the existing ground level access on these blocks is made easy by elevated decks or walkways.
A block that has a steep cross slope from side to side could take advantage of both of the points discussed in the previous paragraphs. As the road will most probably slope with the site it is sometimes possible to have a level walkway at the high side of the block from road to home floor level and a driveway on the low side of the site to a covered parking area under the home or deck.
Trees and site clearing
A leafy site can make for a great opportunity to elevate your prefabricated home in a natural setting. Just keep in mind that clear access is required for the truck and crane to position the home.
Bushfire attack levels (BAL) will need to be explored with any bush block or block near to a bush area. Enquiries will need to be made at the local Council about clearing of trees.
It is advantageous to have trees on site in the right locations to keep your guests happy and cool and to add to the general amenity of the block.
Every block is different and should be judged on its own merits. It is hoped that the above points are a solid basis for further exploration into the opportunities and obstacles for a given site. If you have a block that you are considering seriously, then feel free to send details through by completing an ‘Initial Design Request Form’ if you would like an architectural appraisal on the block and a few MODE design options that will take advantage of opportunities the block possesses and answers your accommodation and style requirements.