Modular cabins provide tourist and caravan park operators with a fantastic opportunity to attract guests all year round. While regular business is of course great for your profits, the maintenance costs associated with these cabins needs to be considered.
Poorly planned designs and low grade materials are major contributors to high maintenance costs. Those high maintenance costs are amplified over multiple cabins which all feature the same design, much to the frustration of operators who are trying to make a good ROI.
In this article, the experts at Asset Cabins and Homes will look at some smart design elements which will reduce the need for costly and ongoing repairs.
Designed by an engineer
It might be a surprise to some, but not all modular cabin designs have been handled by an engineer.
You probably wouldn’t be able to spot the difference on sight, but a cabin needs to be built as per an engineer’s structural design drawings to ensure there are no ongoing problems with the foundations or structure.
This is particularly important for modular cabins which are constructed as two separate “modules” and then installed together seamlessly as one building. The engineer will ensure the completed single building is sound once assembled on site, and that there won’t be any issues with integrity over time. This is especially important in cyclonic areas.
High quality materials
There are countless ways to lower the coverall design costs of a modular cabin. Skipping on the use of high quality materials is one of the easiest.
However, as you’ve most likely experienced in your own park, having to constantly fix up things and do patch jobs is not only time-consuming, it’s frustrating and expensive too – both the cost of repairs and lost revenue whist the cabins are off line.
Investing in modular cabins which feature high quality materials, fittings and finishes will definitely lower your maintenance costs in the long run.
We really could go on and on about all the different high quality materials that can prevent the need for ongoing repairs, so here’s just a few that we think are really important to consider:
- Tinted windows – not only do they look great but they reduce the impact of the harsh sun on your interior appointments, giving them a much longer service life.
- Low maintenance decking – decks which include “secret fixings” have no visible fasteners, splinters or screws and are easy to clean. This means you don’t have to constantly replace popping nail heads or conduct regular sanding and re-staining. Furthermore, they will not rot away, twist or crack after a few years.
- High quality paints - some paint manufacturers can offer 15 years between repaints in a residential application, saving you a bundle on painting costs.
- Aluminium window frames and steps – unlike with timber, these will remain trouble-free for years. Plus, it’s one less thing to sand and paint!
- High grade floorings – floor coverings need to withstand the rigors of daily life. A good quality vinyl can carry a residential warranty of up to 15 years while some carpets include a special foam underlay to prevent deterioration.
- Moisture resistant kitchen cabinets with rolled edge bench tops – these will prevent costly damage caused by water, steam and humidity
- Colorbond fascia – this eliminates the need for re-painting or replacing due to rotting, compared to timber fascia.
- Melamine shelves – unlike painted MDF, melamine cupboard shelves are incredibly durable and resistant to moisture.
Bathrooms are notorious for racking up expensive maintenance costs
The good news is that there are definitely ways to minimise the need for repairs.
Bathroom floors in modular cabins should always be screwed and not nailed.
Why? Because this reduces the chance of any nails piercing the waterproof membrane of the floor.
If the waterproof membrane is compromised, a waterproofing “failure” can occur, impacting on the structural integrity of the floor and requiring expensive repairs.
Additionally, the whole bathroom floor of a modular cabin should be made to be completely waterproofed for added protection against water issues.
The Australian Building Code actually only requires for the shower floor itself to be waterproofed. Investing that bit more on waterproofing the whole bathroom will create significant savings in maintenance costs.
Specialised 3-piece 100mm floor wastes are also essential to ensure the water drains away correctly. Excess water held in the shower tray area can result in excess mould build up and deterioration in the tile grout.
Separate nogging plan
Here’s one most people don’t think about — because it is hidden out-of-site behind the walls.
A well-designed modular cabin will have a separate nogging plan during construction, so that noggins are correctly placed inside the walls to account for the placement of lighting, fans, air-conditioners and other bathroom fixtures.
When nogging placement isn’t planned in advance, lightings and fixtures can end up just hanging on the plasterboard, not screwed in properly. It looks fine on handover day, but it doesn’t take long for damage to occur as fixings give way due to daily use.
Steel beams, joists and stumps
A modular cabin should always be built using RSJ steel beams under the floor as well as fully welded RHS floor joists.
This not only ensures its structural integrity and longevity, but significantly reduces the risk of termites.
Another feature which will reduce maintenance costs is a proper steel stump system. Some modular cabins are just placed on blocks and chained down, however this is not structurally sound and can create issues — particularly if the soil structure is unstable.
All the small things
While major design flaws in a modular cabin can cause real headaches, ignoring those small finishing touches can ultimately create painful, recurring maintenance issues.
Here’s just a few small considerations to think about:
- Four-wheel roller carriages on cavity sliding doors – there’s nothing more annoying than a sliding door that keeps coming off its tracks. Four wheels per roller, (coupled with a well designed adjustment system), are much better than two, allowing for years of trouble-free life.
- PVC edging on all shelves and doors – moisture resistant measures are ideal on all surfaces in every room.
- Quality hinges – cupboard doors with 90 degree hinges are really annoying when you bump into them and break them off, while doors with 180 degree hinges fold out of the way which is really handy in a compact kitchen. The cupboard hinges even carry a lifetime warranty, eliminating the cost of replacements.
- LED lights – it’s no secret that LED lighting uses less energy than traditional lighting. LED lights also last much longer, so you don’t have to constantly replace the globes.
Want to learn more about low maintenance modular cabins for tourist parks?
Asset Cabins and Homes are experts in designing and installing high quality modular cabins which feature robust materials.
We are happy to discuss your accommodation needs and which design options are best suited for your individual park.
Call us now on 1800 225 224 or simply click here to contact us.