Flat Pack Homes Explained

10 June 2020 Potton News

What are 'Flat Pack' Homes?


The houses we build at Potton can be described as ‘flatpack homes’. But don’t worry, we’re not going to dump a lorryload of timber planks on your site, hand you an unclear and suspiciously brief list of instructions and leave you to it. ‘Flatpack’ might have these connotations when thinking about furniture, but if we’re talking about flatpack houses, it’s a completely different ball game. All it means is that it’s a home built using prefabricated parts. These parts are built off-site and then assembled onsite, which minimises build time and maximises precision. Read on to find out more about how flatpack homes can facilitate your self-build dreams…

Kit Homes

Flatpack home can be used interchangeably with ‘kit home’ – both just describe houses built in a manufacturing facility. Okay, so the entire house isn’t built in a factory – we’d need a much bigger lorry to transport it if that was the case – but the parts that will make up the finished construction are created there.
The flatpack home is then transported to site in its constituent pieces and erected there. This process reduces labour time and, therefore, the build costs. It also ensures that the parts of the house are manufactured to exact measurements, and the quality-controlled factory environment means there are fewer variables to cause inaccuracies in the build.

So are They 'One Size Fits All'?

This is the problem with what people think when they hear the term ‘flatpack’. Potton houses are built using prefabricated parts, but these parts are cut specifically to the requirements of the house that you are building. There is no ‘off the shelf’ catalogue of house types with predetermined floor plans. No two Potton houses are the same. Most of the homes we build are completely bespoke, designed to suit our customers’ lifestyle, plot, and build budget.
‘Flatpack’ only describes the process of construction, not a catalogue-bought house. It simply means that once we’ve designed your home, we then build its elements in a factory. This is a modern, efficient, and cost-saving approach. It relies on fewer factors like timing and, crucially in the unpredictable climes of the UK, weather. The process does not limit what you can and cannot build, so you can still implement truly bespoke, high-quality designs.


Benefits of Flatpack Houses

There are numerous reasons why people choose the flatpack home route. As they are manufactured within a factory environment, all parts are designed, measured, and cut with precision, meaning costly onsite mistakes are avoided.
Speed of build is another benefit, as flatpack houses are very quick to erect onsite. Compared to masonry builds, the build schedule is much shorter. The timber frame that forms the basis of the build is often fully erected within just a couple of weeks. This means less time is spent waiting for the building to become weathertight, so internal works can begin much sooner.
There are a variety of build systems that we offer advice on, and each has its own unique properties. What they are share is their unrivalled thermal performance for wall thickness, and a rapid build time.

As Seen on TV

Flatpack homes are growing in popularity, largely due to the increased awareness brought about by television shows like ‘My Flat-Pack Home’ and ‘Flat-Pack Mansions’. This is, of course, in addition to features on Grand Designs and other self-build and renovation programmes.
There is a tendency to believe that what you see on TV cannot be achieved in reality, but the process is actually straightforward. At Potton we can take you through each step and draw upon our long history of delivering wonderful homes for our customers.

Potton self builders David and Lesley Lennox were featured on ‘Flat-Pack Mansions’ on Channel 4 in 2017. The programme looked at new, pre-fabricated, luxury mansions being built in super-quick time across the UK.
Their contemporary new Potton home is set in an idyllic countryside scene overlooking the open fields of Hampshire. Read their story here.

Flat Pack Build Costs

The prices of flatpack homes in the UK vary. At Potton, we can design the house of your dreams, help you obtain planning permission, and supply and erect your new home. This means that the costs of our timber-frame homes vary depending on the project.

If you already have an Architect’s design for your new home, we can still construct the timber build system, giving you all the benefits of a Potton self build. Visit our Potton Select page to find out more and submit your drawings for a quote.

To help you calculate an accurate build cost, we recommend that our customers work on an average cost of £1,300 per m² as a general rule of thumb. Please note that this would cover the total build cost price, not just that of the timber-frame kit.
As you will see from the homes featured on our Case Studies page, our customers’ homes range from a build cost of under £200,000 all the way to over £500,000. The build cost is dependent on lots of factors including but not limited to:

  • The complexity of the design

  • The location of the build

  • The materials used

  • Whether you self manage or employ a project manager

  • The quality of the finish

 You can download our budget guide, which sets out the build costs of four of our popular show home designs. This will provide a good indication of what size of home can be achieved on your budget.

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