Flat pack homes could be the answer to Essex’s growing housing crisis
( Essex Life, Dec 2017)
The number of households being classified as homeless and the amount of tenants evicted over skipping rent, is expected to double to 500 in Chelmsford by 2019
Chelmsford’s growing housing crisis could be tackled with flat pack homes providing a lasting and affordable alternative to traditional bricks and mortar houses.
Father and son John and Oliver Plumtree, say their business Zebra Homes will offer local authorities a means to increase their housing stock with their innovative affordable housing.
They add that the flat pack deigns are a fraction of the cost of normal housing largely because of the cheaper construction costs – it takes around a month to finish one of their modular homes compared to between six and nine for a traditional brick home.
John said: “These are particularly aimed at essential workers for council housing really. We are aiming these at local authorities to offer opportunities for these on land that they already own.
“We can put them up very quickly – from nothing to a completed home in a month.
“It’s all about low cost – and we know there’s demand for low cost affordable housing.”
Chelmsford is among the local authorities across the country that are struggling with increasing pressure in its housing services – last month the council unveiled the first of 18 container-style housing units to provide short term accommodation for families and individuals.
The number of households being classified as homeless and the amount of tenants evicted over skipping rent, is expected to double to 500 in Chelmsford by 2019. The council has been putting people up in B&Bs, to tackle its housing problem and the new modular homes will be exclusively for those who have been declared homeless.
However Zebra homes offer a more functional and traditional layout with the flat pack designs, popular in northern European countries in Scandinavia and Germany. They come with two bedrooms, a kitchen living room and a bathroom with shower. John said: “I reckon we could build up to ten a month – effectively 120 a year which will go a long way to providing decent council housing for a local authority. We can make them as big as you like but it’s about being sensible. Because of the size it’s very economical, they keep their warmth very well.
“And there’s no reason why they can’t have a long life – there are wooden cottages that are easily a hundred years old.”
The lego-style design allows walls to slot to together providing intrinsic strength.
Ollie added: “We bring the raw products to the site and erect it. The houses are more airtight than a traditional house because of the way the panels interlock which gives them more insulation.
“They are insurable and mortgagable and if they want to buy them they can.
“They meet full building regulations so everything from that point of view it’s just a normal home – they are just built differently.