Modular houses have been cheap, simple boxes from Eastern Europe, or traditional houses in traditional design. Now they also come as stylish, architect-designed houses.
Module house and element house
Module House: Up to 95 percent completed prefabricated units transferred to their location. Comes in one or more parts, which are put together into a finished apartment.
Element House: The production of the items takes place at the factory, but a major part of the completion takes place in the space. Plumbing, tile paint etc. check in after assembly.
Source: Anders Mattson, Nordhus Moduler
Modular houses have in recent years been mounted on a large scale throughout the country, as a cheap way of setting up residential complexes and commercial buildings. The houses are clean container houses in their simplest form. Square-colored box houses without finesse or dilldall have been shipped from Eastern Europe, for the benefit of those who want to save money, and perhaps to upset those who care about exciting architecture.
In the United States, architectural offices have specialized in stylish, customized mini-houses built up of modules.
Now, the modular houses will not look like boxes and that “one size fits all” is not on the market in Norway.
The construction company Novicon has worked in collaboration with the architects Skaara Arkitekter, Poulsson Pran and Rak Arkitektur for one and a half years to develop the concept that is now being completed at Prestmoen at Stjørdal. Here are all solutions architectured, all materials are upgraded.
– We have put on a very high finish. The goal is to be able to sell these houses at the same price level as the catalog houses in Norway, but we will adopt a completely different standard of architecture, “says Håvar Moe, general manager of Novicon.
As an example, he mentions that the module joints in the ceiling are made of oak slings, an expensive material.
– The usual modular housing is a large MDF lining in the roof. We have 2.60 meters ceilings, black ceilings and oak games, and we get a very exclusive expression. Nobody can see that this is made of building blocks, he says.
Module houses allow customization to individual wishes. Manufacturers have also developed a series of integrated furniture, such as bookshelves, daybeds, wardrobes and writing pads as part of the architecture. A side effect is that the module joints are hidden.
– It’s the joints that are the biggest challenge for modular houses, “says Moe.
The shell still comes from Eastern Europe, more specifically Lithuania, but on the pilothouses there is a dressing and parquet on the spot. They also have water-borne heat, and are of course approved according to building technology regulations TEK10.
– Modulhus has had a bad reputation because it is mostly in budget-apartment projects that have been used. Then they cut all they can. We decided to go the opposite way, says Moe.
However, he is prepared to go some rounds with improvements and rationalization to come down to the prices they want.
The prices of ready-made houses will be somewhere between four and six million including completed land.
However, finishers can also be obtained in the architectural edition.
Is module house better than other houses?
Anders Kirkhus, Senior Adviser in SINTEF Building Research, emphasizes a safer construction process as an advantage of modular housing in general. They are therefore manufactured almost completely in large premises indoors before being shipped to Norway.
– It’s good light, you do not have to stand with gloves, the building process is protected against building moisture and rainfall. It is almost so that with the Norwegian climate everything should be built indoors, he says.
However, he does not want to say that modular houses are better than other houses.
– They are safer against damage that may occur during the construction process, and moisture is one of them. But if they have a longer life when they stand on the pitch, it depends on how they are built, what kind of materials are used, whether it’s two-stage sealing, how the insulation is, if it’s good enough, vapor barrier, wind barrier, cladding and so on, as in a common building.
In particular, he emphasizes that modular houses may need to be adapted to wind loads in different parts of the country and that the requirements of the individual municipalities for the house to fit into the environment must be met.
– You do not get the environment with you on the container, he says.
The biggest challenge that has been discussed with regard to module houses is density: How much air leakage there is.
– What you’ve talked about is how the joining between modules is, if you get it properly. But such modular buildings can be really nice and dense, and almost as good as space-built houses, he says, and draws student housing in Trondheim as an example. They received a so-called leak rate of low 0.25 while the requirement is 1.5.
Cheap labor in Poland
One of those who have noted the demand for modular houses is Anders Mattson, sales representative in Norway for the Polish company Nordhus Moduler, which specializes in larger modular buildings. After one year of operation, the company has sold approximately 15,000 square meters of utility space to Norway, accounting for an increase of around 25,000 square meters in 2014.
– Demand is huge. Everybody goes over to the modular system, he says.
Nordhus Moduler is one of several companies that produce 90-95 percent finished modules in Eastern Europe, in this case in Poland. Then the modules are packed in tarpaulins and shipped to Norway with trailer and boat before lifting in place for a final finish: Water connection, joining of joints, possibly parquet. All of the electrical, pipes, sprinkling is done in Poland. Then it will be cheap.
– If you produce in Poland, a good salary is around 40 kroner. In Norway you must have five times as high a salary. There they are inside the factory, the efficiency is higher than on a construction site. In total, we spend a third of traditional building time. In addition, there are fewer injuries from water intrusion.
In addition, Mattson buys Norwegian goods in Poland, which are cheaper there than here.
In the same segment as Nordhus Moduler there are also the already large Kudomaja and Unihouse for larger buildings. Älvsbyhus and Selbuhus are major suppliers of modular houses as detached houses with traditional architecture.
– More wishes modern architecture
A challenge to producing modular houses in the form of detached houses is that there must be a certain number of modules on a boatload for it to be able to pay off.
– We must use hired boats and to cover the shipping cost, we need a minimum volume of five-six houses per boat, “says Håvar Moe in Novicon.
Therefore, the primary market will initially be builders building fields of fifty-fifth homes.
– We will also offer this to private customers, “says Moe.
Within 10. May four pilot houses will be in place in Stjørdal. One of them has already been sold, but the entrepreneur acknowledges that these homes are not for everyone.
– The main emphasis of the market likes taking on the more traditional architecture. But we are seeing an increasing tendency for people to want modern architecture with clean lines and exclusive standards.
Moe believes that in a few years they can sell a few hundred homes a year.
– We should be the option to those who think catalog houses are too boring and architecturally-expensive homes too expensive, “he says..
– The campuses we are delighted with
– Barren housing in concrete
– This is important when you buy ready-made