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Modular housing could see new take on affordability

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Company's passion is for sustainable and affordable homes

Modular housing could see new take on affordability

An innovative modular housing product has  been unveiled in Cape Town and will be rolled out industry-wide to address the country’s housing shortage and home affordability challenges.

The 70m² home – including 30m² interior and 40m² deck – was launched this week at the Firlands Equestrian Park in Gordon’s Bay, and is the first in a residential range priced from R200 000 to R5 million to suit the pockets of those in the affordable and affluent housing markets.

The homes, built by Innovative Modular Concepts (IMC), are waterwise and built through an environmentally friendly process. The architectural design options are limitless, says the company’s Gary Power.

“Container conversions are not new here, but the expansion into full industry-wide scope for residential and commercial buildings offered by IMC is set to take off fast, not least because it will answer some of South Africa’s most pressing social and environmental needs.”

The company offers both container and pod modular construction, which is more customisable as units are built from scratch and not constrained to shopping container dimensions. The units can be used for various purposes from holiday homes, swimming poolsand Airbnb and game lodge units to mobile clinics, schools, hospitals, restaurants, shops and offices.

Power says the residential scope ranges from affordable houses in the R200 000 price range right up to R5m upmarket homes. Although though the end price is not necessarily cheaper than traditional brick and mortar due to insulation requirements, there are a host of advantages, including:
* Speed of delivery – from two weeks for a single unit up to 12 weeks for a R3m home.
* Fewer disruptions to the homeowner as most of the building is done in the factory.
* No need for traditional foundations.
* Less water needed in the building process as there is no cement.
* Insulated units are energy-efficient and require minimum maintenance.

Picture: Innovative Modular Concepts

“They are also delivered ready to be connected to municipal services, and look cutting-edge fantastic,” Power says.

In terms of sustainability, each unit is made from 3 500kg of repurposed and recycled steel. They are well insulated and clad with refrigeration panels to ensure less energy is consumed to heat and cool  units.

“Our units include innovative roof design to maximise and utilise the natural wind to cool unit exteriors, and we install solar geysers to maximise sun usage and minimise electricity usage. All grey water is recycled into the gardens, our toilets have dual flush systems, and our taps and shower roses are all waterwise.”

Power says one of the biggest advantages is the impact on the environment.

“Our shipping container houses do not require traditional foundations, which means units can be placed in sensitive areas like fynbos, for example, with minimum damage to the natural environment. Units are elevated to allow the fynbos or any other vegetation to remain undisturbed.”

Power says he is passionate about affordable housing. IMC is currently designing a 30m2 pod house which will sell for between R100 000 and R120 000.

“This is built from scratch with a steel frame. Our goal is to build houses which are better quality than government subsidised Breaking New Ground (BNG) houses at an affordable price. We also plan to launch 56m² gap houses at around R250 000. This is bigger and better priced than similar 42m² gap houses selling for R395 000.”

He adds: “I was personally involved from conception stage with the groundbreaking Pelican Park development which has delivered more than 3 200 homes. I have been working over the past year to design and deliver houses below R300 000.”

Power says while shipping container homes are not necessarily cheaper than traditional homes, they have the benefits of being time and energy-efficient, convenient and needing less maintenance.

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