What is a flat pack house?
A flat pack home is a prefabricated house that became popular in European countries around 1960. The design of the earliest flat packs were often cramped and inefficient. But today’s tiny houses (sometimes called A-frames because of their silhouette) are DIY wonders! They’re eco-proof homes that combine the best of modern and affordable housing. Typically made of wood or other light materials, it’s a blend of minimalist living and eco-friendly construction methods.
There are three types of flat pack houses:
- Barebone: where the structure of the house (like the floor, walls, windows, or ceiling) is delivered to you, but you have to put it together yourself.
- Basic builds: where the structure of the house is provided, and the company builds the house for you. However, you will handle the interior furnishings like flooring, fitting, and painting.
- Turnkey: where the entire house is delivered and constructed for you. You don’t have to do any work yourself, and it’s ready to move in as soon as the company is done.
Many companies have come up with their own versions of flat pack housing, like IKEA, MADI, and Bunnings. They come in all shapes in sizes from studios to 2-bedroom setups, which are all adjustable depending on the needs of the owner!
Why people are living in flat pack houses
Flat pack houses have proven to be very popular for many young Australians, a demographic that generally finds it difficult to afford houses of their own. It’s also become a popular choice for people with pre-existing housing because it gives them a safety net if they happen to find themselves in financial trouble.
Other benefits of flat pack housing include:
- Quick and easy construction: depending on the design of the flat pack home you buy, you can have your new house ready in as little as a week. Contrary to appearances, flat pack homes can be very durable, with some of them even being earthquake-proof.
- Eco-friendly: unlike brick and concrete housing – which take a long time to decompose after they’re ruined – flat pack houses are made of timber and other locally sourced or recyclable materials.
- Efficient: most houses aren’t built to accommodate features like energy efficiency or utility optimisation. Flat pack houses often come with these in the form of solar panels and sustainable off-grid features, which lower overall expenses on housing.
How much do eco flat pack homes in Australia cost?
Flat pack homes can be extremely cheap. On average, they cost about 10 to 25 per cent less than traditional housing, even once you’ve factored in permits and purchase of land. For example, some Bunnings flat pack houses can cost as little as $79,350 NZD (or $73,987.53 AUD) to build. And with the variety of flat pack housing options out there, it’s not out of the question to find your own eco-home for under 100K!
Can you legally build your own flat pack home?
Absolutely! Flat pack homes fall under “relocatable homes”, which are moveable dwellings that excluding tents, caravans, or vehicles. But there are two things you should consider if you’re considering living in a flat pack home:
Local regulations: while there is no federal law banning building flat pack homes, it’s best to consult your local zoning group or town hall about the permits needed. You also need to hire a building surveyor and other professionals to look at the land you’re planning to live on.
Environmental planning: like all residential and business structures, flat pack homes are also regulated by the Environmental Planning and Assessment act. You have to comply with their ruling if you ever want to install a flat pack home in any area.
Here are NSW’s Department of Planning’s regulations regarding flat pack housing. Consult the rules in your territory about any potential differences or additional guidelines to follow.
While it’s still too early to say that flat pack homes are the future of housing, the benefits they offer are definitely something to consider. Who knows? With a little work and patience, it might be the best housing investment you’ve ever made.