Mar 16

Industrial houses, the building without surprises

In the future, the houses will be built within four walls, in factories, rather than on the ground. In a plot for rent in Torrelodones (Northwest of Madrid), the Modulab company three years ago installed a prototype of industrial housing, which has been in evidence since then. The House was built in a ship of Valdemoro and four months after it was installed and was habitable.
It is composed of two modules that add up to 90 square meters, wood and glass, and incorporates numerous elements considered bioclimatic: a plant roof, radiant walls, a raft of water and solar panels. As any other conventional housing, is endorsed by the College of architects of Madrid, it has the municipal licence and conforms to the technical legality.
Since then its makers have built several similar houses, museum rooms and hotel rooms. Now, they have to move it to another site of the same locality, then, explains the architect Francisco Saiz, one of those responsible for the project, “there are many available lots with necessary connections”.
“Just dismantling joints and, just as we brought it, we we will assemble in the new location, so that we can live in the same House transforming it over time in multiple locations,” says Saiz, who coordinated the House Garoza pilot project, the architect Juan Herreros in 2010. “The plot on which it is right now is completely regenerated or available for new construction because the impact of housing on the ground has been minimal”.
In Spain there is some 15 companies specializing in industrialized housing, but each works with their own materials and production systems. In general, mechanization shortens construction times up to 75%, avoid surprises in the budget that even more expensive materials and the noises and racking of a work. And although, it also slightly lowers prices, between industrialized construction and the buyer there is still a distance that some companies are trying to strengthen creating bespoke projects for clients and seeking providers appropriate in each case.
Build bridges
The idea of Saiz is make link between manufacturers and end users, providing design and the technical prescription of dwellings, the adaptation of the building to the environment where it will be located, and the use of materials from renewable raw materials (bio) such as wood, which consumes CO2 and energy efficiency based on renewable energy.
Affordable, housing of Torrelodones hardly cost 98,000 euros, “and is a fixed price”, while a similar built conventionally “it has much variability,” said, and it would also be “budgeted at about 110,000 euros”, one 13% increase.
When it comes to inhabit it, ‘ there is no difference between a conventional House and an industrial”, since”the standards of comfort are exactly the same”.” But the bioclimatic component and the low impact of projects designing Modulab cause “a reduction of the energy consumption for hot water and heating around 2,000 euros a year”.
The industry is growing
The homes of industrial manufacture in Spain are still a marginal percentage of all those that are built, but already there are timely and cutting-edge, experiences such as the initiative of Joaquín Torres in urbanization Las Marias or protected dwellings built three years ago from moulds of concrete prefabricated by the architect Alfonso Azqueta in Colmenar Viejo, or companies like Egoinin Natxitua (Basque country), (Gijón) Modultec or IDM Engineering (Madrid), Modulab house builders.
“A work is a very complex process in which, at the end, involved too many people that comes from too many sites and generates a big enough disruption,” says Saiz, who claims that their housing budget deviated just 1%, something unthinkable in a promotion of a single family to use.
In coming years, industrial processes and the modular housing will be as common as now are the formwork or scaffolding, as they ensure the adjustment of costs and are «cleaner from all angles»: terms, price and control of production that does not generate waste.