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Prefabs: A Long-Held Alternative

Prefab February 24, 2017

Prefabrication homes, or prefabs, have been an alternative style of living to building a home made with conventional construction, for years. They are by far cheaper to create and assemble than the usual home. They come in many different styles and can be customized to suit the buyers.

Prefabs are constructed in factories off the home site and then panels are assembled like puzzle pieces on-site. Less labor is necessary to put these houses together, and some prefabs can be built in as little as three days. And you can be expected to pay between $180-$220 per square foot. Prefabs are more energy efficient and can be put up just about anywhere.

Designers of prefabs having been pushing the boundaries of prefab construction.

You can live with all the convenience and comfort of conventional construction in large or small prefabs.

Some of the materials used in prefabricated houses are:
Structural steel and metal fabrications
Blockboard,plywood, laminates
Electrical and pipe fittings
MGO and gypsum board
Scaffoldings
Roofing sheets
Clear and tinted glass

The versatility of prefab houses makes them very desirable. Most of them can be moved to a location of your choice after first settling in to one place.

Prefabs are sustainable, energy friendly, produce less waste, cost less, and can be assembled anywhere you wish in days. They are a wonderful way to have the home of your dreams more easily and efficiently. Just do your research and know the right questions to ask. Images: Inhabitat, Methodhomes, and Modular Homeowners. You can find them in our directory of prefab home builders.

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IKEA’s Better Shelter Wins Design of the Year 2016

Prefab January 30, 2017

IKEA Better Shelter flat pack house

Just an update on IKEA’s prefab venture, which we covered in detail a while ago. The flat-pack shipped tiny house has now won a big design award: the Beazley Design of the Year 2016.

The flat-pack IKEA “Better Shelter,” as it’s called, is mainly a refugee housing solution in conception, but many people are now thinking about it as a possible tiny house option. Certainly, it’s very portable and ship-able, and very inexpensive (read about that here).

The award it won was for the project that best meets the criteria of design that “promotes or delivers change,” “captures the spirit of the year,” “enables access,” and “work that has extended design practice.”

There are other architecture categories as well involved in the awards, but the IKEA “Better Shelter” beat out Digital, Fashion, Graphics, Product and Transport, for the top honor of Design of the Year.

“Innovative, humanitarian and implemented, Better Shelter has everything that a Beazley Design of the Year should have,” stated on of the judges, Dr. Jana Scholze of Kingston University.

IKEA flat packThis IKEA flat pack house was originally developed in 2013 and has taken some big volume orders from the UN. Those who worked on it include: Johan Karlsson, Dennis Kanter, Christian Gustafsson, John van Leer, Tim de Haas, Nicolò Barlera, UNHCR.

To date, almost 65 million of these IKEA flatpack homes have been distributed around the globe.

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Prefabs houses are one thing, but would you live in a cardboard house?

Prefab December 16, 2016

Cardboard House

So you may be familiar with prefabs made of wood, stone, metal, bricks — we have a number of those covered on this websites — and even foam prefab and modular houses, but now in the everexpanding market of home building materials: cardboard.

The idea here is that a Dutch house designer thought up cardboard houses when he found himself throwing away a lot of cardboard packing tubes, and he thought why not make something out of them. Now, people have been making furniture out of cardboard and other products, like Google’s Cardboard project, but he made a prefab house.

“The fact is that the more you explore cardboard, the more benefits it offers,” according to designer Maarten Heijltjes of Waarmakers. “It solves two of the main problems in building – it is structural and insulating at the same time, while also being light enough to transport inexpensively. Sure, when people hear of a cardboard house, inevitably there’s some scepticism. But it’s a question of perception. Tell them that it’s a house made of wood, but that we’re just using wood fibre in a far more efficient way, and they start to see it makes sense.”

How it works: many layers of cardboard are stacked to make modular panels. Then they mold these modular panels around a house frame.

“First, they make 1.2-metre-deep segments, or modules, constructed from 24 layers of waterproofed, recycled cardboard moulded around a house-shaped frame,” according to 1843 Magazine. “These are then fixed together to make the finished building. Thanks to this system of pre-made sections, each house – starting at around €25,000 and available with elegant plywood interiors, glass doors and even wood burners – can be put together in as little as a single day.” They’re also very light for transportation to a building site.

The interiors are plywood. They add glass doors and wood stoves.

Construction time: 1 day at minimum. Sold so far: 8. They’ve received as many orders for more. They expect the prefab modular houses to last up to 100 years. Cost: right now around 25K Euros (26K U.S.).

“Actually, when you look at it, cardboard is beautiful,” said Heijltjes. “It has a texture and warmth to it.”

Read more about Wicklehouse in our directory of prefab homes.

cardboard house Cardboard House

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Wafflebox House – It’s a Typhoon, Flood, Earthquake Resistant Prefab Home

Prefab November 25, 2016

waffle house

“Location, location, location!”

We have all heard this word strung together to emphasize its importance in terms of housing. For those of us who are more particular we may believe that location has to do with aesthetics or “brand” neighborhoods. In reality, location is more about the safety and security the surrounding area will or will not provide. We look at the weather, local schools, job opportunities, crime rates, and many other things. If we are really in love with the location and are facing a problem in just one of these areas, we may seek alternative options. Here is a great alternative option for housing in locations that deal with extreme weather problems.

These days, the news has provided footage of natural disasters unfolding on innocent towns or cities. It is a tragic case of bad weather that results in the loss of homes, businesses, and lives. There are some countries that are prone to these natural disasters, and the Philippines is one of them. The Philippines is a beautiful place that millions of people call home. Solidcon is a Filipino company that has patented an industrial building system called the WaffleBox. The WaffleBox is a modular system made from concrete that when met with a typhoon, flood, or earthquake, will resist the impact and keep its inhabitants safe. This is an amazing claim so lets look at the structure that makes it possible.

The WaffleBox gets its name from its simple box structure and interior waffle pattern. The small box structure allows you to add as many boxes together as you would like in whatever form you choose. This means that these homes can manifest very differently, creating a unique residence for the owner. The waffle pattern on the interior walls is the reason the building is resistant to force caused by typhoons and earthquakes. The pattern allows for there to be several beams/frames in the structure. Each box has four frames. Each frame works to resist force. So the forces placed on these homes are shared among many beams. This means your Wafflebox home which can be as small as one modular (3 boxes) will have a minimum of twelve beams to resist force. Simply put, each beam takes only one twelfth of the force making it much easier to withstand. A house of the same size built in a typical hollow wall pattern will have only three beams to resist the same force. In these homes, each beam would receive one third of the force. A much larger amount than one twelfth, and could easily result in damages to the structure.

Now you know how it works, lets look at how you can manipulate it to be your perfect home! The Wafflebox is very versatile and there are many ways to adjust your Wafflebox build. First, the Wafflebox can be lifted so that it can better suite an area threatened by floods. Next, you can always expand or relocate your home. This is a good fit for a growing family or indecisive owner. If you live in a cold climate, the waffle pattern on the interior walls is great for facilitating insulation. Also, this build provides a flat roof. This means is you are interested in a roof deck or balcony, you can achieve this very easily on any upper level. Finally, if you choose to build a Wafflebox home, the company finishes construction in half the time of traditional builds. All you have to do is let the company know how you plan to design your home, and Solidcon will make sure that the home is built in a way that ensures that loads put on the home will always be carried by the foundation.

This structure could meet an array of needs and be the perfect home for any individual or family. With the ability to relocate, this home makes for a great idea as well as a great investment!

By Alison LaPaglia

For more information on the WaffleBox by Solidcon, find them in our house designers and builders directory.

wafflebox-2 wafflebox-3 wafflebox4 wafflebox-5 wafflebox6

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Incredible Prefab Houses

Prefab November 1, 2016

These lovely prefab homes are adorable. Builders have created exceptional designs that are truly desirable for home buyers and provide interesting ideas for home designers. Residents will enjoy living in any of these prefab houses, and there is quite a variety of styles to chose from.

These incredible prefab homes are built by companies we’ve already indexed in our Prefab Home Designers and Builders Directory. You can go there and search out the name of the company, and also find builders near your area.

Beautiful structured home-office
Designed and built by Platform 5 Architects
shoffice

Gorgeous glass house
Designed and built by The Huf Haus
hurf

Exquisite prefab home
Designed and built by Prefab in France
pref

Nice porch house
Designed and built by Lake|Flato
porch

Pretty Modular House
Designed and built by Happy Haus
modular


Breathtaking prefab home
Designed and built by Patrick Frey Industrial Design
prefab-house

Breathtaking prefab home
Designed and built by DMVA Architects
cottage

Incredible dwelling
Designed and built by DMVA Architects
blob

Spectacular prefab home
Designed and built by Mrubina
new-jersey

Exceptional prefab dwelling
Designed and built by Place Architecture
col

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10 Amazing Prefab Homes

Prefab November 1, 2016

10 Amazing Prefab Homes

Prefab houses seem to be taking parts of the world by storm — well, maybe not by storm, but they sure are getting a lot of buzz. Besides the benefits associated with the building style, there is also the question of how they are designed. Lucky for prefab home buyers, there is now quite a wealth of professionally designed and built prefab architecture out there. Here we’ll look at 10 prefab home designs, so you can get an idea of the range and maybe it will help you decide on your own plan.

Even better: These prefab homes are built by companies we’ve already indexed in our Prefab Home Designers and Builders Directory. You can go there and search out the name of the company, and also find builders near your area.

Energy-efficient House
Designed and built by KENJO System AB

10 Amazing Prefab Homes

Elegant Dwelling
Designed and built by Rolf Ockert Design
10 Amazing Prefab Homes

Elegant Dwelling
Designed and built by Prebuilt
freedom

Lovely Container Home
Designed and built by Container Homes
container

Beautiful Home-office
Designed and built by Pluscreate
transportable

Amazing Eco-house or Studio
Designed and built by Stephen Sainsbury and Wonders Building Company Pty Ltd
ecoshelta

Incredible Residential House
Designed and built by Beaumont Concepts
san-remo

Cool Family Home
Designed and built by HUF HAUS
bungalow

Spectacular Container House
Designed and built by POTEET ARCHITECTS
container-house

Cozy House
Designed and built by Rocio Romero
18-lv-series-west-virginia_photo-credit-justin-1024x768

For more prefabs, click here, and to visit our directory of builders and designers, click here.

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Dune Prefab House – Spacious and Affordable Living

Prefab October 24, 2016

Dune Prefab House - Spacious and Affordable Living

A small semi-modular prefab house for 1 or 2 people in the dunes for people on a limited budget, and it’s architecturally interesting: a compact house with an open floor plan.

Facades and roofs
The prefab house has standard corner pieces and wind springs, thereby making house details simple and affordable. Zinc, wood shingles, slate or ceramic would also not be out of place in this house.

High-Tech and Low-Tech division
Complex parts of the building are clustered together in one or two units. These are usually the usage areas including toilets, kitchen facilities and meter. This high-tech element is done by a specialized company in a factory, completely assembled and transported to the building and there connected to electricity, water and electricity. The rest of the building (low-tech) is built around here and contains the living quarters and and is completely operated from these units, so there is no special engineering needed in the rest of the building.

This has a few advantages:
– Very fast implementation and commissioning possible.
– High quality and robustness, for a layman, it is indistinguishable traditional building after completion.
– Few disciplines on site (no tiler, plasterer, electrician, plumber etc. need to construction),so little chance of failure and delay.
– Responsibilities are clear. One contractor builds a shell without technique, one unit builder provides all facilities and use areas.
– This method of construction is IFD (Industrial, flexible and durable)
– Proven, many bathrooms are in hotels mounted this way ready.

Structural = Trim
The prefab house designers, Dingemansa Architectuur, have conceived this buildings to materialize in a way that masonry materials remain in the completed house in sight. In a normal home this means spending about 1/3 of the construction costs to finish the building. An added bonus is that the interior will get a loft-like, airy appearance by using laminated wood structure in this case and keep it in sight.

Another good feature is using power floated concrete, this material is only a fraction more expensive than ordinary concrete what is already needed for the construction and further finishing is not necessary anymore.

For more of Dingemansa Architectuur’s work, find them in our prefab homes directory.

Dune Prefab House - Spacious and Affordable Living

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IKEA Prefab House for $1100

Prefab October 19, 2016

IKEA Prefab House for $1100

A prefab house already being sold for little more than $1000? Yes, it’s possible, as Swedish ready-to-assemble company IKEA has now proven, after years of research and design, as well as extensive field testing, even if these prefabs aren’t ones you’ll find at your local IKEA store. There are already tens of thousands of people living in these $1100, 3-hour set-up, easily ship-able IKEA prefab homes around the world, but the first inhabitants are those most in need of affordable, secure housing of this type.

3.5 million refugees living in tents and temporary shelters around the world. 3.5 million. So far what the UN compounds and other temporary housing situations have to offer for these people are canvas tents — the regular tents you’re familiar with that use ropes and poles to stand up. And guess how long the average family spends in these tents? 12 years. However, is a tent a stable environment for a family? Is it a safe structure where men, women and children can be secure from crime? It turns out that there has been a lot of crime in these types of refugee compounds in all areas, and part of that has to do with the fact that tents are not safe from intruders. So IKEA Foundation partnered with the UN refugee agency and Swedish designers to come up with a new flatpack prefab which is very affordable, very transportable and re-useable, and sufficiently stable and safe.

The prototype IKEA prefab home shelters (click photo to make it bigger) were developed with the goal of revolutionizing or at least improving the camp living situation. Also, to increase usage life. The tents last around 6 months because of the harsh conditions of the areas where they are set up. So IKEA’s prefabs are intended to be stable relative to these. The panels of the prefab, perhaps the part quickest to wear, last up to 3 years by design.

The boxes the IKEA prefab house come in are “like the IKEA bookshelves,” according to Johan Karlsson, who works on the project. They’re designed to be easy to transport and set up in the field.

They want their prefab house to be easier to ship, assemble and live in.

It starts with a frame, which comes in a bag (like a regular tent pole bag but bigger) which is shipped in one of the flatpack boxes. It’s got pipes, connectors and wires in it, and these are assembled to compose the frame of the prefab house. Then there’s the panels, which are thin and very light, but are durable and have a thin layer of insulation. These panels fit right onto the frame of the prefab house and you have walls.

Keep reading on page 2: click here.

 

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Modern Prefab Homes

Prefab October 18, 2016

Modern Prefab Homes

What do you think of these green prefab home designs? Going green with prefabricated buildings isn’t something everyone opts for, because the cost of prefab is already sometimes at the limit of what the house-buyer can spend, but the alternatives offered are sometimes more important.

These designs are by Michelle Kaufman, whose prefab houses — not just houses, she also designs commercial spaces, parks and communities, and from the picture here you can see the community of prefabs are arranged similarly to a trailer park — have been recognized for being airy and light.

This particular design is called the WCG Home, and it’s designed with sustainability in mind. It was built for West Coast Green, a San Francisco architecture conference in 2007.

The prefab design here is a 725-square foot living residence with water catchment, recycled building materials (actually, many prefab homes and metal homes operate with a large amount of recycled materials), and green roofing. This means zero costs for home energy, according to the Michelle Kaufmann Studio.

Some notable features of this design: slanted wood siding, barn-like appearance, light-filled interior, minimal footprint, and high ceilings (often credited with providing house designs with airyness and a sense of space).

For more info on Michelle Kaufman, prefab homes and modular buildings, find them in our directory.

Modern Prefab Homes

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IKEA enters small prefab house market, and it’s solar powered

Prefab October 3, 2016

IKEA enters small prefab house market

Prefab houses, modular houses, and tiny houses. Why not combine these housing options into a small shelter?

This is a real game changer. IKEA unveiled a solar-powered flat pack shelter for easily deployable emergency housing. That’s the target, but these tiny prefab homes, designed to be mass produced, could also serve as inexpensive home options for people who aren’t in emergency situations.

The designers, IKEA, are well-known for their urban simple, partially-DIY, economical, sometimes ecological, style. This project is a joint venture between the IKEA Foundation and the UNCHR.

These prefabs are going to replace what UNCHR was using before – tents. However, tents don’t provide the privacy or security hard walls provide, and there have been violent crimes at refugee and emergency compounds.

The prefab houses are flat packed — they flatten out for transport. They’re made from lightweight plastic, and have a total square footage of 188 sq ft.

They’re rated for five inhabitants — that’s twice the size of the older UN tents.

And for power, the grid is made less necessary because these prefab houses have solar power, coming from solar panels on the roof. Candles and kerosene are less often required even in out-of-the-way locations. These solar panels on the roof also deflect 70 percent of solar radiation, so the interior is cooler in the day while being warmer at night.

ikea-prefab-flatpack

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  • How many of you have looked into these Quonset building kit homes First thing you might notice is that there are a couple of standard types, based mostly on the roof. These are P and S styles. According to SteelMaster, Quonset homes are becoming more and more popular with the DIY crowd; they can be erected quickly and provide a solid, secure, long lasting solution for most housing needs. Quonset buildings were originally developed as a sturdy answer to extreme weather conditions, and are manufactured in two styles best suited for residential applications The P Model is the style most commonly seen in use as a garage, workshop or for Quonset Hut homes. It's straight walls and pitched roof present a more traditional look than other Quonset huts

    These Quonset Inexpensive Kit Homes Start at Less than $8,000

    by on February 1, 2017 - 0 Comments

    How many of you have looked into these Quonset building kit homes? First thing you might notice is that there are a couple of standard types, based mostly on the roof. These are P and S styles. According to SteelMaster, “Quonset homes are becoming more and more popular with the DIY crowd; they can be […]

  • How about a Metal House Ranch Home

    How About A Metal House Ranch Home?

    by on December 2, 2016 - 0 Comments

    This is quite the building and quite the setting, too. In a wide open piece of green farmland sits this newly built traditional style metal barn house. Metal homes as an alternative building method that allows for inexpensive, strong and durable buildings that can also be reused, recycled or modified later on, and barn homes […]

  • Cardboard House

    Prefabs houses are one thing, but would you live in a cardboard house?

    by on December 16, 2016 - 0 Comments

    So you may be familiar with prefabs made of wood, stone, metal, bricks — we have a number of those covered on this websites — and even foam prefab and modular houses, but now in the everexpanding market of home building materials: cardboard. The idea here is that a Dutch house designer thought up cardboard […]

  • summer tiny home

    Summer Tiny Home Idea - Super Simple Design

    by on 17 hours ago - 0 Comments

    Here’s a DIY tiny house unlike any you might have seen before. These fellows did it with just a bit of lumber and that piece of corrugated metal. Interested in trying something like this yourself? They’re a couple of Californians, named Matt & Margo, and they built this one over a dry creek bed (usually dry, anyway). […]

  • Flatpack Homes

    A New Type of Building Style: Flatpack Homes

    by on January 23, 2017 - 0 Comments

    We’ve talked a lot about prefab homes, and they have their strengths to be sure, but now people are also talking about another building style called “flatpack homes.” They’re kit homes — actually they’re considered a type of modular home — that come flat in a box (or without a box), and then they’re set […]