The Victorian state government is rolling out 114 energy efficient prefabricated modular homes to provide housing for people, mostly in regional areas, who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
To reduce costs for residents, the houses include solar panels, heat pump hot water services and energy efficient appliances. They are also orientated to capture north and south light.
While prefab construction was traditionally seen as “cheap and nasty”, the program provides a good illustration of where modern and sustainable prefab buildings offer big advantages over on-site construction.
The prefab houses are being constructed off-site by ARKit, at its facility in the western Melbourne suburb of Sunshine.
The Fifth Estate has confirmed with a spokesperson from the Department for Environment, Land, Water and Planning that Metricon, which is understood to be experiencing insolvency fears, is not involved with the project.
After being transported, the housing units will be assembled on vacant or underutilised land by local contractors who install and connect services. The state government estimates more than 200 jobs will be created through the program.
Modular homes were chosen for the program because they can be constructed quickly offsite and be transported easily, helping to guarantee the supply of new houses in areas that would otherwise face delays because of local construction shortages.
Most of the houses will be delivered in the state’s west (the local government areas of Colac Otway, Glenelg, Horsham, Moyne, Southern Grampians and Warrnambool), north (Gannawarra, Mildura, Mount Alexander and Swan Hill), and East Gippsland.
A smaller number will also be delivered in or close to Melbourne, in the Cities of Casey, Whitehorse, and the Mitchell Shire (which includes the area near Kilmore).
The 114 houses are part of the 1000 new public housing properties being delivered as part of the state’s Building New Homes to Fight Homelessness program, which aims to provide housing for vulnerable people in transient and emergency accommodation.
The program is separate from the state’s $5.3 billion Big Housing Build policy.
“Modular homes are addressing a need to provide housing for those who need it across Victoria, while also employing both local and non-local businesses,” Housing Minister Richard Wynne said in a statement.