What exactly is a kit home?

If you’re considering a self-built home but lack confidence in your ability to manage the project or stay within budget, a kit home is your answer.

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A kit home is similar to what was once called a pre-fab, but modern quality standards are incomparably higher. Prefabricated sections are delivered ready for easy standardised assembly on site.

You can choose a design from a catalogue or have an existing one adapted. The basics will still be on a predictable budget and timescale, and much of the planning and services will be taken care of by an experienced company.

You can manage the project yourself knowing that you’re supported by experts, or you can leave the whole thing to the construction company.

Choose your design

Most people opt for a timber frame. The advantages of this include strength, durability, fast construction in a matter of weeks, a low carbon footprint, energy efficiency and price. Keep in mind that materials for new builds are zero rated for VAT. Your timber frame components will be supplied as already insulated panels, and they will be sheathed and have channels ready for the services.

One alternative is Structured Insulated Panels, which are similar but require no stud-work and have no thermal breaks in their rigid insulation material. Remember that regardless of the frame, you still have a choice of cladding, including a traditional brick appearance if you want it.

Energy and environment

The government says that buildings were responsible for 43 per cent of carbon emissions in the UK in 2009, so there are now stringent rules in place to ensure highly efficient insulation and energy efficiency in your new home.

Kit homes can be imported from as far away as China, but using an experienced company you can talk to in English will be a considerable advantage as they understand local requirements and can advise you on which features will or will not work together. A good Northern Ireland timber frame construction company like http://www.qtfhomes.co.uk/ will offer “full passive” options that take environment and energy efficiency to the next level and reduce energy bills by over 80 per cent.

One thing you usually have to take care of yourself is getting the groundwork and foundations in place before the kit arrives on site. Your package supplier might recommend a trusted contractor for this task.

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