Nov. 2…..Rumors of an automated house building demonstration in flood states that could herald a quick solution to housing replacement has encouraged some facing a long residence in temporary trailers or moving elsewhere. Details in flyers seeking participants in a planned showing of a portable factory producing wall sections that can be immediately attached to foundations after removal of a flood destroyed home have created a stir among government disaster agencies and political officials facing pressure from former homeowners. Discussions with state Economic Development and interest from financial sources in Louisiana have already taken place. The maker is seeking large scale funding for a public offering or private equity to build a fleet of the "QuikieHomeMaker automated building units."
With the huge task of rebuilding and cold weather temperatures facing disaster agencies and those suddenly without homes pressing for results, any immediate solution would be welcomed. Relief agencies, FEMA, and HUD may be working on temporary ways to offer alternatives but an immediate automation solution for producing permanent housing may be the best solution. Rumors of the high tech portable factory developed by a building science “think tank” which can produce houses in less than two weeks is already drawing Congressional attention. It could offer a very short-term alternative to temporary housing instead of FEMA trailers using its extruded wall system that produces a complete 1500 sq. ft. home from "aromatic co-polymer and aggregate mix."
No pipe dream, development of the movable factory has been under way for five years with two prototype homes in Texas already proven to withstand hurricanes. Both were intact although homes miles around were destroyed.
The building concept is far different than the normal “stick built” method. According to a media briefing released today (Nov. 2); the mixture of aromatic elastic co-polymer and aggregate is mated to steel supports and mesh inside a 53 foot transportable platform, and then assembled on a foundation that once held a flood damaged home, making the complete shell in about two weeks. Unskilled labor and pre-installed utilities makes for a simple assembly process and generates local jobs as well.
Although lightweight structures assembled from components are often built in Europe, the “QUIKIEHOME” concept produces very solid sections unlike earlier attempts at component building. The technical description states “solid sections resist water, fire, termites, and even drive-by shootings”; and “the dense sections provide substantial insulation against outside temperatures making for more efficient HAVAC results”; and “utility connections are built into the surface for easy connection to services”. Pre-built kitchen and bath modules, complete with fixtures do not require on-site experts and easily hook to utility services in the original foundation or built into the wall sections.
With a $50,000 cost for the complete shell placed on an existing foundation after removal of the damaged home, the “Quikiehome” cost is well below any other replacement alternative. A wide range of "green" options linked to the very affordable structure adds solar, LED lighting, hydroponic vegetable growing, automatic temperature controls, and reflective window film. The nonprofit Emerging Growth Institute is mentoring the project.
TECHNICAL BRIEFING ON QUIKIEHOME SYSTEM
Whether attributed to global warming or to the whims of Mother Nature Even a modest amount of flooding does severe damage to homes and business.
When it floods with a lot of water as it did on the eastern seaboard, the resulting damage to walls, utilities, and the eventual mold condemns almost all flooded structures not already destroyed by water flow to the trash pile.
When Hurricane Ike tore through Texas in 2008 leaving almost nothing standing, there was one glimmer of hope for the future of home construction after a flood. An experimental house constructed of plastic and aggregate by a Florida building science “think tank” was untouched while everything for miles around had either disappeared or was in ruins.
Now, that same group has developed a system for not only automating the production of a home using this “next generation” technique, but has mounted it on a portable platform to produce affordable housing In Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Alaska, New York, New Jersey Pennsylvania and elsewhere where the destroyed house once stood. A typical home replacement costs $50,000 and is replaced so quickly that the technical name for the process has been replaced with one more fitting. It’s called the “Quikiehome”.
No pipe dream, extruded plastic, steel, and aggregate construction of an entire 1500 square foot housing shell takes less than 2 weeks. That drastically shortens rebuilding time and shortens the time deposed families have to spend in temporary housing. Because the wall structures are waterproof, they are likely to remain intact and livable even if the flooding repeats itself.
The “QUIKIEHOME” concept is far more than a rehash of earlier construction industry attempts at building houses using components. Already popular in Europe and worldwide, using technology instead of high priced labor to put up buildings in a very short time, what “Quikiehome” has done is to bring the ability to mix the elasticity of co-polymer with the strength of aggregate and bring the factory to the job site.
Instead of wood framing covered with wallboard, the “QuikiehomeMaker” system extrudes a compressed sandwich made from plastics, steel mesh, and interior steel braces adding a coating of aggregate to create all the walls and floors. The result is more effective in keeping inside temperatures well above those outside in winter and well below in summer. It also is exceptionally strong, fire, water, and termite resistant, and the steel will even stop drive by shooting that easily pierces conventional walls.
Although exactly how it operates is keep under wraps, Director of Research Rory Smith likened the process to a mass production restaurant. “We think of it as run by chefs who produce the main course to exacting specifications. The side dishes are pre assembled kitchen and bath modules which complete the dinner. You mix in the ingredients and out the other end (of the system) comes the finished wall.”
Although the first “Quikiehome Maker” will not head for Alaska until the spring thaws, ten acres has been leased in unincorporated Orange County, Fl. to assemble a fleet of the mobile factories. “We elected to use a 53 foot over-the-road platform that is designed to also move by rail”, explained Michael Shulman, Executive Director of the nonprofit Emerging Growth Institute which has been mentoring the group on how to export the technology. “ We have had discussions with a major financial firm that would enable funding groups of 100 homes. Linked to a 2.3% 30 year mortgage rate, even those using “Quikiehome” as new construction can easily move ahead.” Smith said.