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Modular Houses: all you need to know

7 APRIL 2023
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Casas Modernas Casas Pré-fabricadas Compra de Imóveis Custos de Construção
A trend for some and a sustainable choice for others, find out all about this type of housing, which is increasingly in demand in Portugal.
Modular Houses: all you need to know
Source: Freepik
Author: Redaction

Even if you are not aware of what is going on in the construction market, you have probably heard about modular homes. It is already possible to find online a lot of useful information on this subject, a trend that has existed for several years and is expanding worldwide. At a time when terms like "savings", "sustainability" and "efficiency" are the order of the day, there is an increasing demand for this type of property. 

Before we explain everything about this type of housing, it is first important to know what the different types of modular houses are and the differences between them. We are talking about prefabricated houses and prefabricated modular houses - or just modular houses. 

Main differences between prefabricated houses and modular houses

Prefabricated houses, as the name implies, are factory-built houses. This type of houses do not exceed a certain size, being possible to transport them to the land, as a block that is built, taken to the place of destination and there implemented. Afterwards, as far as the infrastructures of this type of houses are concerned, the only installation to be done is electricity, water, sanitation, sewage and communications. Unlike modular houses, prefabricated houses do not require such a lengthy construction process. 

Modular houses, on the other hand, although they are also pre-built in a factory, reach larger sizes, which requires several units that will come together almost like a puzzle. In this case, it is not possible to transport them all at once, and they go in modules that are then joined together to effectively become a house and, for that purpose, they also require another type of techniques and technologies to allow the blocks to be joined and insulated. 

Modular houses: an alternative to traditional construction

Due to the construction method used, the completion of this type of housing requires less time and fewer interventions, resulting in a lower total construction cost when compared to traditional construction. In addition, they are also considered a more ecological and sustainable option, as they have a lower impact on the environment. And another reason why modular houses are considered an option has to do with their versatility, as they can have various formats and typologies, depending on the owner's needs and choices. 

The options available in the market range from the most modern constructions to the most minimalist, and it is also possible to opt for more rustic models, more conventional or more modern, being able to conjugate a structure only of ground floor or ground floor and first floor. In short, the main advantages in opting for this type of dwelling are the speed of construction, the materials used which, as a rule, offer more quality and safety, and the lower costs associated with this type of building. 

Nevertheless, it is important to pay attention to the type of materials used.                             

                                         


In Portugal, there are not many companies excepting this type of construction, and the few that exist do not always allow total freedom with regard to the creative process of the construction project. That is, despite the fact that, in theory, this type of houses provides the owner with a multiplicity of designs and finishes, in reality, the diversity of choices ends up having to be adapted to the construction company responsible for the project. 

Modular homes can be made from recycled materials, such as wood. But it is important to point out that these materials must be of high quality. Also because, as time goes by, the house will require maintenance and it is important to determine, from the outset, what the long-term wear and tear of these raw materials will be. In this sense, the support provided by the company responsible for the construction of the house is extremely important. After all, the choice of the materials used in the construction and the decision on how they will be implemented is the owner's, and he needs to be guided on their quality and on the respective techniques applied. Above all, always demand a guarantee of the work done, preferably including follow-up and maintenance in the future, in order to get the most out of your investment.

How is licensing done?

It is important to mention that licensing is compulsory, whether it is for a prefabricated house, or a modular house. You can consult the legislation in force about this segment of construction in paragraph A) of Article 2 of the Legal Regime of Urbanization and Building, Decree-Law no. 555/99, of 16th December. 

Before going ahead with the licensing process, it is crucial to ascertain whether there are any obstacles to your building on the land purchased for this purpose. Therefore, be sure to consult the Municipal Master Plan of the municipality where the land is located. Also, make sure that it is not inserted in an area of the National Agricultural Network or the Municipal Ecological Network. Only after confirming that there is no legal impediment for the construction should you submit the architectural project to the municipality in charge. 

In case this is approved, you should proceed with the presentation of the specialty projects, which concern gas installations, electrical supply and distribution and sewage. Only by following these procedures will the municipality be able to consult the competent bodies and issue the appropriate opinion - approval or authorisation - which will allow you to obtain the building permit. Once you have this licence you can then start the construction of your modular house.

When the construction of the modular house is concluded, you should request from the competent Municipality the issuance of the Habitation Licence and the Alvará de Licença de Utilização, which requires a previous inspection to be performed to the house before any final document is issued. 

What taxes do you pay?

Similarly to the traditional houses, the modular houses are also subject to the payment of IMI (Municipal Property Tax).

        
Depending on the specifics of the owner's choices, opting for a modular house can effectively represent a less expensive investment when compared to building a house from scratch. The advantages previously enumerated present modular houses as a safe and sustainable option for the future, being a trend that is definitely here to stay and that has been the target of more and more investment by the prime segment of construction, a little bit all over the world.

Topics
Casas Modernas Casas Pré-fabricadas Compra de Imóveis Custos de Construção
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