Covestro’s PU-based fibreglass, with a PU foam core, make up the house’s door.
Idaho-based Ray Core SIPs were used by Maximus Extreme Living Solutions (image 5) to build a similar small home in 2015. The energy-efficiency of firm’s SIPs already confirmed by their use in a Toronto, Canada-based Passive House in 2013. Once completed, a Blower Door test – an analysis of the building’s capacity for leakage was 50% better than the European Passive House standard, according to RayCore. Maximus’ mobile home was designed to counter temperature swings from -45 to 65 °C (-50 to 150 °F). Ray Core also supply SIPs for more traditionally-styled homes (SEE image 5)
The living space measures 7.3m by 4.2m by 2.6m and includes a loft unit for sleeping, bathroom and kitchen area. It has a total floorspace of 31m2.
Modular homes save time and money
Research by McKinsey Global Institute shows potential for a 30% cost reduction in off-site manufactured modular building methods using products such as structured insulated panels.
Off-site production can strip up to 40% off building schedules against traditional building methods, the organisation’s report A blueprint for addressing the global affordable housing challenge, found in 2014.
Furthermore, removing elements of the process from unconnected contract teams removes some of the margin for error in construction.
The added accuracy of dimensions that comes from automated production of the materials for materials is a key advantage for UK-builder Andrew Rowe, from Lincolnshire, England.
He built 50 homes using traditional brick and block construction but after building a SIPs home for his family he said SIPs allowed groundworks to moving in schedules of 16 weeks.
“In addition, panels are so accurately made that I have been able to order windows off the plan and they all fitted perfectly,” he said.
SIPs-constructed housing can cut up to 60% of energy consumption, due to the insulation and heat loss qualities of the method.
Sips can be used for walls and roof. With SIPs the shell element of a two-story family home can be constructed in less than a day with a team of around half a dozen people.
Mooresville, Indiana-based SIPs company Thermocore uses BASF’s PU technology for its SIPs (see image 6) and has supplied a range to builders keen to work with modular designs and techniques. The company said modular systems can be installed onsite in less than 24 hours.
Prefabs are Fab!
According to New York-based insurer Hiscox, the next decade will see a pre-fab renaissance. The next-generation pre-fabricated homes will be well-engineered, factory built homes that improve affordability and help relieve housing shortages, according to a report by the firm.
Hiscox’s quantitative research was conducted online with a total sample size of 3,000 nationally representative people in France, Germany and Great Britain (1,000 per country). The research was carried out in April 2015.
The company’s Home of the Future report claims that, as it is, a quarter of Germans and a third of Britons are interested in this type of home - particularly young people.
Support is higher among young people – for example, over half of French people aged between 18 and 24 are interested in prefabricated or kit homes. Interestingly, there is no significant difference in the level of interest in this type of housing between higher and lower wage earners.
Global shipments of prefabricated housing are projected to reach 1.1 million units by 2020, according to a report by California-based research agency Global Industry Analysts.
Johannes Schworer, president of the Federal Association of German Prefabricated Housing, said: "We are experiencing a high demand for prefabricated houses, which is reflected in rising unit sales and market share."
According to Schworer, 9,834 building permits for prefabricated houses were granted between January and July – 7.5% higher than the same period in 2014.
For comparison: A total of 59,752 permits (previous year: 58,674) were approved for new homes of all construction types. This is a slight increase of 1.8 percent. Accordingly, the market share of prefabricated buildings rose to currently 16.5 %(previous year: 15.6 %) in the nationwide average.
In regional terms, this market share very unevenly distributed: Baden-Württemberg has 28.8%, the highest, Lower Saxony with 7.0 %the lowest prefabricated proportion of all federal states in.
Sales of the 45 member companies of the association, which cover about 90% of the West German market, was 1.87 bn euros in 2014. For the full year 2015, the association expects a revenue growth of 4.2% to be EUR1.95 bn.
In the US, according to GIA (Global Industry Analysts), shipments of prefabricated housing within the country is expected to 133,000 by 2020. Favourable federal housing policies, national efforts related to the supply of affordable housing and the provision of monetary, legal and tax-breaks for modular similar to conventional construction methods are helping to drive the market. Single-section manufactured housing is expected to grow at 5.4% CAGR to 2020.
GIA said Japan represents the largest market worldwide with the Asia-Pacific region. But China ranks as the fastest growing region with a projected CAGR of 9.3% from 2014 to 2020.
Housing need worldwide
India’s National Democratic Alliance, a political group which controls India's lower house of parliament wants 30m new homes by 2022. South Africa’s target is 1.5m houses before 2020 while the Brazilian government is in the process of a 3m-home construction project, which was due for completion at the end of 2015.
In the Middle East, there has been a massive rise in the need for temporary housing due to ongoing conflicts in the region, which have left many millions displaced.
Although the poor and displaced make the headlines, this is a first world problem too. The UK government wants 1m new homes built by 2020 due to what the country’s House Builder’s Federation calls a “chronic housing shortage”. The federation says the country requires at least 220,000 new homes a year to meet demand – without touching historical undersupply.
In its September budget, Sweden’s government pledged to contribute towards achieving the target of 250,000 new homes in that country by 2020. Meanwhile France’s target is 500,000 new homes a year over five years. Given the willingness of European Union member states to accept refugees in recent months – Germany expects 800,000 asylum seekers this year - some estimates put it as high as 1.5m, more housing and shelter is going to be required both short-term and long term.
Mass migration to Europe will only exacerbate the need. Thousands arrive at Eastern European countries such as Croatia, Greece and Turkey from conflict zones in the Middle East.
Solutions using polyurethane have been emerging for both the emergency shelters for displaced peoples both within the Middle East and Europe, but also to meet the housing needs of growing communities in developed countries.