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.

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  1. $250k for a temporary, single, pre fab home??! It’s a start but we need better solutions for the other 100,000+ people who need urgent housing in Australia.

    Vienna is the gold standard, with high density, high quality, housing developments that people want to live in for life. These are not only affordable but also provide onsite health services, heated pools, childcare, community activities, etc.

    We don’t have to reinvent the wheel. We just have to step away from inflated cost, capitalist ideas and look at real solutions that will strengthen communities and enhance people’s lives for the long term.

  2. There seems to be some serious mis costings in this story, 114 homes delivered for $30m equals $263k landed and occupied! I feel there are many additional costs not included in this estimate, and are the jobs NET new jobs or just retaining current jobs associated with building the new buildings. I also ask was ARKit selected via a competitive tender process?