With the co-op still in the early stages, we remain open to the types of housing that we aim to build. We are still researching different building types and companies. That said, we have decided that modular factory built homes is the best option for our project.
Factory built homes allow for quick and highly efficient building. The modular build also allows a degree of flexibility in housing types that we can provide.
We are still researching the different modular homes currently on the market and so far 2 systems have made our shortlist. TIVO modular housing from Latvia is currently our preferred choice due to a good mix of flooring area, cost, and design options. The second modular housing system we are considering is the MADi house from Italy.
We are still looking at other options and suppliers. Modular housing is a new concept in the UK for housing provision and new companies and concepts are being launched almost on a weekly basis. One range of buildings we are looking at from the UK comes from MAC Container Housing.
The modular build homes we are looking at come pretty much complete and ready to move in. All wiring and plumbing is undertaken at the factory and just need to be connected up to the mains when on site. The other big benefit is that factory built modular can be more thermally insulated than homes built on site. Easy access to all parts of the build in the factory means that reaching PassiveHaus standards or A+ energy efficiency standards is much easier and less costly.
Modular homes by the very nature can also be flexible in how they are built. Changing work patterns means more people work from home and need work-space or studio space and this can be built into homes.
Another reason why we are keen on the modular build is that we can use the latest technology in foundations to reduce the impact of the house on the soil structure and flood reduction. By using screw piles rather than concrete slab foundations we can raise the body of the home above the ground soil. This keeps the ability of the ground to soak away rainfall, helping to reduce flash floods when the ground is concreted over or tarmacked over.
Our aim is to offer a wide range of homes to rent taking into account the restrictions of local housing allowance rates. The range will include 1 bedroomed homes through to 4 bedroomed homes and we will also have a small number of shared accommodation units to allow for the restriction on housing for single under 35’s in housing benefit payments.
Cheap running costs of modular housing
There have been major advances in energy efficiency and insulation over recent years. These advances can all be built into our proposed homes. Our levels of insulation will enable the home to pass Passivhaus standards or reach 80+ on energy efficiency standards. Because homes are so well insulated the house should be kept at comfortable temperatures in the winter through a single warm air heating system. This will be the cheaper option for installing but if the budget allows we may opt for underfloor heating.
Lighting will be pre-installed and make use of the latest LED light fixtures. LED lights are extremely cheap to use and also need minimal electricity. This opens up the option of using photo-voltaic cells on each building to meet most of the day to day needs of an average family.
Electrical plugs and switches will be installed in the factory and placed at waist height or able depending on situation. This will make our homes more accessible particularly for those who may have mobility issues – and also keep plug holes out of the reach of crawling babies.
While the majority of the grounds will be open and community access, each individual home will have an area of private outside space. This may be a small patio area for each home or it may be a balcony or access to rooftop space.
Cars will be parked at a car-park on the outskirts of the residents’ area. There will not be a private drive attached to any home. We aim to keep the residents’ area free from traffic to allow a peaceful and safe place to relax and play. We will endeavour to do our best to design the residents area to be free from traffic noise and fumes.