7 Key Differences Between Park Homes And Residential Mobile Homes

Why Building A Self-Contained Annexe Is Not Just A Park Home Stuck In Your Back Garden

 We get asked a lot of questions about lodges, annexes and mobile homes and what the main differences are when it comes to building a granny annexe or self-contained annexe in your garden as opposed to buying a park home that typically represents a “mobile home” in most people’s eyes.

Park Homes and park home sites are what people typically associate with a two-week holiday by the seaside in a static caravan or mobile home or a lifestyle choice to shun a sometimes noisy cul-de-sac for the peace and quiet of part-year park home living.

Without a doubt some of the modern mobile homes are suitable for residential living but most people find year round living in a mobile home a challenge and heating them during the winter months especially challenging (not to mention expensive).

So if you are thinking about self-contained annexes in the back garden that are suitable for year round living you may find this quick checklist helpful.

Feature Article: 7 Key Differences Between Park Homes And Residential Mobile Homes

1. Insulation, Insulation, Insulation

Unlike extensions and traditionally built homes, mobile homes do not currently have to comply with building regulations which allows for typically poorer insulation in the walls, roof and floors which in turn creates the problems with heating issues in the winter months.

Also park homes are primarily for the holiday / retirement park living during the summer months so extra insulation is usually available but at an additional cost.

Granny Annexes and flat pack homes are typically the opposite to park homes in terms of insulation and even though building regulations do not apply to mobile homes the standard of insulation using SIPS Panels in particular is usually far higher than current new build homes.

This provides one of the key elements to year round living in comfort in a self-contained annexe.

2. Access Problems

Factory built standard mobile homes are usually around 22 to 24 feet wide and arrive on site in two halves on the back of large flat-bed trucks ready for crane lifting off the lorry and onto the prepared base.

This is no problem if the site is in the middle of acres and acres of a park home site but is potentially impossible for a householder wanting to build a self-contained annexe in the back garden.

The flat pack home option allows for your annexe to be pre-built or part pre-built in the factory and delivered flat packed on the back of a large lorry just as you would use if you were delivering a large item of furniture for example.

This allows for the building to be delivered and erected on site rather than being built-in a factory and delivered as a complete building and it gets over 99% of the site access problems.

3. Speed Of Build

Factory built mobile homes usually take 10-14 weeks to build which is still comparatively quick compared to sometimes months of building works on a typical extension build by a conventional builder.

The flat pack home or annexe build time is typically 6-7 weeks from start to finish (weather permitting) and allowing for all the typical ups and downs of such a big project build.

In that short space of time you can expect to see the building erected, made water tight, kitted out with kitchens, bathrooms, flooring, electric heating and finished ready for you to move in.

4. Flexibility Of Build

Selecting all your kitchen finishes, bathroom choices, floor coverings, curtains, blinds and feature wall paper are typically done at the time of ordering your factory built mobile home.

That is a LOT of choices to make in one day for something you cannot see yet.

The beauty of the flat pack home option is most of the choices can be made as the building work progresses, allowing for lead times of course, so you can start planning the kitchen, bathroom and those individual touches for your new home without finding the process daunting.

5. Services Included Versus Services Required

The mobile park home type of building is manufactured to your specifications and then delivered ready for siting to a prepared site with services ready to connect to.

This makes the instant park home option attractive from a point of view of a two-day installation  time but it is up to you to provide the services ready to connect to.

With the flat pack home option the services to the self-contained annexe are usually already being supplied to the main house and part of our installation process will be to source independent services for the annexe from those existing services modifying them to suit the needs of the annexe.

6. Flexibility During The Build

There is nothing worse than standing in your new park home wishing you had made the lounge or bedroom a little bit bigger, or wishing you hadn’t chosen that tile or flooring for the bathroom, sometimes being able to see the space makes all the difference when it comes to tweaking the floor plan to meet your exact needs.

For most of us mere mortals being able to visualise the end product is not something that comes naturally so having the opportunity to work alongside us on a flat pack build means that you have the ability to stand in the space and get a feel for its size, plan where things are going to go and change a few things as necessary if you need to.

One thing that cannot change of course is the design that has been approved by the Local Planning Authority and sometimes they will specify roof colours and window colours for us to work with even if they were not your first choice.

7. Control Over Your Budget And Stages Of The Build Itself

By taking the manufactured route of ordering a park home as an annexe you will usually be required to make a deposit and then pay for the whole building before delivery.

As a major purchase this can be a daunting process for some people but you will not receive delivery of your home without it.

With the flat pack home annexe you will typically be making a 10% deposit on order (which includes your planning permission) and then a further deposit once planning is obtained followed by a payment on delivery and then several stage payments throughout the build.

This gives you control over your budget and you can at any time select to make any upgrades to your kitchen, bathroom, flooring and tile choices as you go if you wish.

As with any major purchase (especially construction ones) the weather, lead times and deliveries may cause some delays during the overall buildbut seeing it all come together in the latter stages of the build knowing you had input at every step is very rewarding for everyone involved.

The other plus factor is that the price of your home probably increased by a substantial amount due to your main home now having a self-contained annexe built for year-round living making it an attractive and valuable buy for a wide range of people in the future.

For more ideas, inspiration and self-building tips join our vibrant community on our Facebook page.

To your self-building success!


Pete Cossie; CLL

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About The Author

Diane Cossie

Diane Cossie is a blogger and social media enthusiast who is the face behind our popular Facebook page, creator of our website and one of our annexe and specialists.

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