Increasing housing backlogs and rising house prices mean that self-build may be an increasingly attractive option for many households. Building on timber frame self-build project experience, Gauge is developing a simple modular prefabricated timber unit that can be readily assembled to build housing and other small buildings easily and affordably. A lightweight approach means that the building only requires pad foundations and therefore can be built in awkward sites and on sloping ground. Designs will be rapidly developed with users based on modular components. A parts list will then be used to transport components to site where they can be assembled following instructions in a manual.
Conventional housing in South African is not affordable for many people. Alternatives, such informal housing may be poorly constructed resulting in uncomfortable, and sometimes unhealthy, indoor environments. There is therefore a need for alternatives.
Gauge has developed a range of technology and kits to support sustainability in buildings and cities. Technologies are designed to be easy to assemble and are based on readily available local materials and components. One of the technologies that has been developed is a low-cost, sustainable housing kit.
The low-cost sustainable housing kit is based on modular insulated panels that can be assembled to produce a small house. The modular approach enables housing to be easily added to over time, and as resources, allow. Panels made of grown materials come in a range of different types, enabling houses to be tailored to sites, budgets, and users. Assembly is easy and only requires basic skills and hand tools. A framed structural system allows construction on uneven or sloping ground enabling difficult sites to be used. A range of renewable energy, rainwater harvesting, composting toilets and grey water systems can be added to the basic housing kit to create a carbon and water neutral house.