Is flat pack housing the future?

Its not the latest idea but I do wonder if flat pack housing is the way to go for the future especially if labour costs are critical factors.

Because mass producing stackable wall units and other sections of a home can not only be cost affective but also extremely quick in comparison to traditional housing methods. The same can be said for “unique” homes as you take a standard design and construction method using original flat pack building methods and introduce with it the odd shape or alteration in the design. Which in reality leads to mass produced panels coming off a factory floor while the unique parts go to a bespoke part of the factory.

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But it doesn’t stop there because when you work with things like a slot wall system where your literally dropping walls in then sealing them up. Your talking a huge saving in labour construction time compared to a traditional home design.

Its things to way up when looking at if you should go down the flat pack route or go with a traditional home. Because on the surface going down the usual routes may seem cost affective but factoring in labour costs and some of the maintenance issues. You may find that the change into flat pack which if they are adapted from industrial and commercial design could have some unique benefits. E.g. easy to clean and maintain, easy access for cable runs etc.

Personally I like both although not a fan of “modern” mass produced housing that you find on estates but do like flatpack and traditional older type houses. Mainly on the older traditional houses as they do have better construction methods but also extremely expensive ones (I am talking houses over 100 years old). With things like traditional oak beams and lath and plaster methods used. But with a carpentry background I do like the unique and original wood.

At the same time understand the world is changing and things are beginning to get expensive. Moving away from what we would “like” and to what we need is going to become more of an issue as time goes on. The same as the materials and resources used in construction. I can see more and more foam injected panels becoming the norm because they are both cheap and efficient. In the same way the outer and inner skins becoming more acceptable as “finished” and quick to install.

Is Corruption Stopping Sustainable Development?

I have put a lot of time in looking at alternative housing construction methods in the Philippines from different angles.

Some sustainable living others more cost related to construction. But one of the major factors in disaster relief I think comes down to corruption especially at ports.

Because a lot of the pricing can fluctuate not only for specialised goods that may see a “special tax” added but also even local construction. Concrete, steel bars etc. fluctuate in price and often without any real reason.

But this gets back to some of the housing ideas for not only container housing but also modular and social development. Because a lot of the equipment needed for foam injected walls for example and a regular supply of the sheets and chemicals involved where do they come from? Importing is a huge headache and I believe the same can be said for many locations that badly need not only sustainable but emergency housing.

By the time you have paid all the taxes and cleared ports how much money disappears? But it goes deeper as you can find charities well aware of the corruption and political issues tied to the money that “helping” brings.

So much so that I believe that its budgeted for and as such it then becomes the norm and almost encouraged. The hidden figures on where your donations go, and an encouraged black market that doesn’t help local populations.

For me its frustrating as I like many others like to create jobs and help places develop. I recently started a call center in the Philippines because I know it can boost local employment. As well as many of the population are already suitable and just need a bit of training.

But you start looking into everything it can mean a bit of grease money here and there to get things moving. Something I am not really prepared to do, don’t mind talking politics over lunch but brown envelops or hush money isn’t the way I do business.

May sound a bit off tangent but the same no doubt goes for people looking to develop housing projects and other large scale operations. Its not all on the surface though which is the problem. As helping locals you try your best and deal with the cards your dealt with. Normally people coming from outside won’t be familiar with local pricing and labour costs and obviously this is an easy thing to manipulate without even trying.