The house you can build in three hours
A Queensland company is seeing a surge in demand for its flatpack houses that are erected in less time than it takes most people to put together an IKEA bunk bed.
The houses have become increasingly popular across parts of South East Queensland because of their relative affordability and the fact that erecting them is simple and fast, according to Steve Murray of Anembo Affordable Homes.
A two bedroom 60 sqm expandable home called The Valentine was just $58,200, he said, with the firm picking up orders for the new year in places like Russell Island where land was currently selling cheap at about $19,000.
"All the steel frames have numbers on them, it's like a big boy's meccano set but with much better instructions from the engineers. All the frames are cut by computer," he told The Courier-Mail.
Based in Redcliffe in Brisbane north, the firm has been making kit homes for a decade for work sites and the like but changed direction towards more permanent affordable homes because of demand.
The Valentine Folding House arrives the size of a shipping container and is "unfolded and assembled in under three hours" and can be "completely fixed-out within one week".
"If people want longer term, we are doing the same price for another steel frame which is a bit more work to put together but still takes around three hours to get up."
"We supply a complete flatpack kit. A flatpack steelframe kit, with better windows, everything is a bit nicer, so it's really a proper house."
The houses have been used for granny flats, guest accommodation, bed and breakfast offerings, caravan park cabins, temporary living quarters while owners were building, offices and even classrooms.
The way it works is the property owner gets council approval and organises a builder to put in stumps for the house to sit on.
"When it arrives, four men can unfold it in about three hours," Mr Murray said. "It is less time than it takes to put together an IKEA bunk bed."
The next step was electricals and plumbing, which were usually all done within "a couple of days".
"We supply timber laminate flooring, skirting boards and cornices. Then it needs an electrician to put lights and powerpoints. We supply them but it just needs a professional to hook it up."
If you don't want to hardwire electrical supply, there was even a "a caravan plug at the back and then it's just an extension lead".
The flatpack homes were steel frames with cement fibre board panels that were sandwiched together.
"People can put paint over it and it ends up looking like cement rendered house."
Mr Murray said the firm provided engineering structural certification for homeowners to provide to council for approval.
Realistically it can be another $40,000 by the time the cost of the fully licensed plumber and electrician, builder plus council approvals were taken into account.
"But it depends on how much people can do themselves to save money," Mr Murray said. "It needs to be painted once installed, they can do that themselves to save money. We supply a free basic kitchen with it, a free basic bathroom fit-out. They can add to it or do their own if they want."
The layout was also customisable, he said, with some of the options including 60 sqm for $58,200, 75 sqm for $72,000 and 120 sqm for $89,000.
The basic two bedder for example was supplied with 12 aluminium alloy windows, fly screens, one small bathroom window, fireproof security front door, plywood flooring with your choice of laminate or vinyl coverings, free kitchen with cupboards, Caesarstone benchtops, sink and flick mixer plus a free fully equipped bathroom. Power points, light switches and fittings were also included.