After recent email exchanges with Brandon regarding the Klaas modular building I have started to look at the idea for a current project we have here in Minglanilla,Cebu,Philippines.
Because we have an area that has a roof on it already but it was originally supposed to be dismantled and a new concrete base added as a second floor. Then looked at the idea of a shipping container being added instead to save dismantling the roof as we could just extend the pillars then dismantle the roof later. This would save disrupting the store that exists underneath where the new building would be going.
But now looking at the construction methods of the Klaas I get the feeling not only would it be cheaper to create a steel deck and build up from it in a similar manner but it could easily be done in stages across the pillars. The design of the Klaas home/office is well suited for this type of work as well as other locations. I will advertise here Brandon’s website once its up and running for those in Malaysia.
The project isn’t going to happen overnight as I do have to head to the UK shortly but it will certainly be happening once work is setup in the UK. I prefer doing things while I am out of country simply because I can balance the books easier as the cash flow reduces rapidly when I am in the Philippines. With my wife as site supervisor and working with modular construction something I have worked a lot with this should be a project that is easy for others to follow. But more importantly one that can also be kept within its budget.
Modular construction isn’t a new method of home construction but does seem to be catching on in a much bigger way in recent years.
For me originally looking at modular and prefabricated it reminded me of the 50s and 60s videos I watched with the rise of British industry and council estates after WW2. The homes were bland and all similar in design which is something people these days are trying to move away from. Even developers working on the same concepts of designs try to make houses look slightly different but at the same time in keeping with an area.
But even this isn’t enough for those that really do like to be different and modular construction seems to be a cost affective solution for many peoples homes due to not only saving on production costs to a traditional house due to generally being factory constructed but also the fact you can decide how many modules you want or more importantly can afford for a specific budget. Over the years the market has moved from a bit of a rough and ready business with a lot of finishing work being done on site to today where many homes are near enough complete and come with the bathroom,pipes and electrics pretty much all ready for hooking straight up to the mains. I believe this may be the way things are going for the future especially for mass production of homes due to the way modular construction is easy to adapt to its market demand.
As the businesses have progressed due to also being “factory based” also means sourcing recyclable, locally sourced and sustainable materials are all a realistic goal that companies are looking to achieve. Small developers or even medium size may not have the luxury of choice and time to be doing the same which are other good reasons for modular home construction.
Not the greatest of videos showing construction of shipping container homes but more to do with the fact its going mainstream and cost affective. Previously modular structure housing based on the same dimensions as shipping containers has been used for years for things likes classrooms,doctors surgeries,morgues,hotels but its only in recent years have we start to see it leaking into the general public developments and even more importantly starting to gain recognition for its viable use as low-cost housing.
Its a system that is often overlooked but is heavily used by certain industries such as the military. The fact is the whole unit can be flat packed and then as you can see in the picture the base and ceiling make up the transportation box with everything inside before being raised. Then the pillars form up on the edges before the slot walls go in. I worked on this style of construction for some time as well as the traditional “plywood” construction of modular structures such as classrooms. It was the shipping container system though that revolutionised the industry and I just wanted to show that this produced in a factory can give a very high finish and low cost installation. For me in the Philippines I know of a mountain that is for sale very cheap and could easily see these being sold down the side of it as low cost housing. Adding to the mountain top a large water gathering system as well as wind turbine and solar panels. Maybe a project for the future but when looking at shipping containers and modular housing remember that the modular frames of containers are built round the same size so mixing with shipping containers is possible for example using a framed unit in the photo without its sides welded to two 20ft containers either side with their sides cut out would give a room 24ft wide by 20ft long without too much effort.
This is an idea that could get round some of the size issues of a shipping container as it allows another unit to slide out from inside the container. Advantages being if done on rails for example you could literally push half your room inside the other and lock it up for safety or moving. The concept could work well for not only for things like mobile research labs but also in the field for emergency projects as it would allow doubling of floor space without too much effort. The article was originally posted in 2004 but thought it of use as I myself have only looked at the door area for balcony extension and not this type of slotting module which is a great idea.
Prefabrication is one way to go in the modular housing industry but primarily it has another function for myself as I look at what has been done to get ideas on how to convert shipping containers and this prefabricated home is being constructed by Clayton Homes, based in Maryville, Tenn., is one of America’s largest manufacturers of mobile homes and prefabricated housing. They are looking at green architecture as it is a market that is opening up especially with rising costs of living many people are looking at smaller homes to either downsize or for their first homes. Although this home isn’t cheap at an estimated sale price of around $100,000 its design and concept is based round a more up market home buyer compared to the usual mobile home buyer. Giving something in between luxury home and mobile housing.
Its design offers a home that can be run on $1 per day due to energy efficent appliances as well as superior insulation and E rated windows this will no doubt be an expanding market in the forthcoming years due to rising costs of energy and large homes finding their prices collapse in the current market. The I-House is no doubt going to fit into many peoples ideas for the future as well as a very capable home.
Similar to a shipping container home but in a modular slot wall type system the Containix units make a nice finish to the home. Eric Criens sent me an email of his home off the coast of Venuezela this morning and I wanted to share the photos as it covers a lot of different stages of construction with shipping containers or modular type homes.
Quite a lot of useful information in the photos and from an installation already complete. I would like to thank Eric for sending over his project photos and if anyone else wants to send theirs in as well they are welcome to do so.
The thing with shipping containers although very sturdy if the ground isn’t level it can often twist and pop the wood flooring up as well as make the doors difficult to open. The worst case scenario is that you build uneven then move the container finding it then levels itself damaging the work you undertook.
Now it doesn’t always have to be some complex ground as they are very robust pieces of kit you just have to make sure its level even if its soil your dropping the container onto. Also you have to look at what your needing the container for and where. For example in the UK the howling cold winds can make sitting in a container a cold place to be so sheltering it away from wind channels such as behind a wall are beneficial. But if in the Philippines for example heat is an issue so building the units on pillars is very beneficial as the air flows under the unit as well as the sun heating the ground throughout the day. This affect allows natural heating at night as heat from the ground rises during the night hours to help keep an ambient temperature. How high to place the container is then the next question and one that you need to base on the exact location you want it and needs. For example if building studio apartments maybe you want to create some reverse U shaped concrete pillars 8 – 10ft high to sit the containers on as this not only allows the heating/cooling but also a parking space to keep your vehicle in the shade when not in use. At the same time you could be just raising the same unit on pillars less than 3ft high to allow access for drainage pipes etc. which still offers some heat reflection and cooling but obviously the angle is restricted.
The beauty of the shipping container is that its physically a robust building block you can adapt to most needs as long as your practical and make sure you try to keep things as level as possible you will have little problems especially if joining multiple units. I have worked on modular housing previously and found floor levels as much as 10” out and uneven (10” over one end and 6” under the other) this has happened due to contractors involved in preparing the ground not being part of the modular construction teams not knowing the critical importance of getting things right. Instead doing a quick job for quick pay which resulted in headaches for me as we had to physically lift the units and level them manually adding an extra few days to the job. Which when your talking modular and time sensitive you have containers arriving to be joined yet nowhere to install them until you’ve fixed the first few and over a few days your starting to get problems catching up as things are all out of sequence. For the modest house builder its not too much of a problem but this was a multi storey doctors surgery built in a similar way to shipping container houses.