Modular Housing

Contributor: Michael Williams

Date: 17 June 2010

Airey Consultants’ Pukekohe office is currently involved with a client who has devised a method of creating rotationally moulded polyethylene housing modules for use throughout New Zealand and the South Pacific.

There has been a tremendous amount of interest from New Zealand and the South Pacific with regard to the housing modules which are very cost effective, can be quickly produced and easily transported to areas for disaster relief, and also help to solve significant housing shortages in third world countries. As well as this the designs offer quite interesting housing opportunities for a multitude of other uses. The technology has been licensed by our client in key markets throughout the world; however the early initial target will focus on New Zealand and Australia.

The Breezepod Modular Housing is created by a rotationally moulded polyethylene plastic which is structured to form a plastic sandwich with an insulated core. The Modular housing units are constructed from only three different panels, which at present could be either 100mm thick or 150mm thick. The sandwich panels are filled with Air-foam insulation material, giving ‘R’ values of 2.9 or 4.2 respectively.

The three panels can be fixed together in a multitude of ways to create different shapes and sizes for different purposes.
Breezepods are very simple in construction but can provide a wide range of housing opportunities as shown in the attached figures. They do not require painting, will not leak, rot, rust or corrode, and can be purchased in a wide range of colours.

Potential uses for the Breezepod Modular Housing could include emergency housing, temporary housing, permanent housing, emergency hospitals for disaster relief, temporary doctors or military bases, public kiosks and restrooms, public shelters, outhouses, and cabins or camping facilities for campgrounds or ski resorts. Modular housing can also be helicoptered into remote sites and would be ideal for Doc housing in remote back country huts on the trails throughout New Zealand and abroad.

Breezepods are extremely economical and can be constructed relatively quickly for transportation to site. Site construction is simply a matter of bolting the different wall and roof segments together and placing on a concrete pad. Timber floor options and other various options are also a possibility, although they have not yet been extensively evaluated. The Breezepod units are 100% recyclable as polyethylene can be reprocessed and reused in the production process of further houses, without any loss to its material properties. The beauty about recycling of polyethylene is that it can be reproduced or recycled multiple times.

Airey Consultants Ltd have currently prepared documentation to obtain a Multiproof Consent from the Department of Building and Housing to aid the Building Consent process for construction throughout New Zealand. Multiproof Consent is currently being sought for a range of residential housing arrangements including a 5m diameter Round house, a 9m diameter Star house, a 5m x 8m Bungalow and a 5m x 12m Bungalow. These proposed housing configurations comply with the Building Code Acceptable Solutions for residential housing and provide options for a single bedroom through to a double bedroom fully self contained residence, or a separate sleepout facility. Currently there is a considerable amount of interest from such areas as camping accommodation, ski house chalets, residential housing and low cost housing for Maori among others.

Finite element analysis modelling has shown that these polyethylene modular housing units are able to sustain winds up to 280km/hour, so they will be ideal for areas in cyclone ravaged places throughout the world and will ideally be suited to disaster relief areas due to their durability, ease of construction and quick construction time frames.

9.0m diameter starhouse



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