Onderzoek i.s.m. Alliander & Utrecht University – “Barriers and opportunities for modular houses”

Onlangs werkten we samen met studenten van de Universiteit van Utrecht en Alliander. We hebben onderzoek gedaan naar de technische en juridische belemmeringen met betrekking tot het plaatsen en verplaatsen van modulaire huisvesting. Lees hieronder een management samenvatting in het Engels:

The modular design of the Finch buildings allows erecting them in a short time, to stack them together to create multi-unit buildings in case of need, and to move them to other areas relatively easily. There are however technical and legal barriers that need to be overcome in order to fully use these qualities of the Finch modules. Finch Buildings collaborated with Alliander and Utrecht University to detect the barriers and opportunities for the installment of temporary modular houses.

A rising demand for housing is currently documented in the Netherlands, putting several pressures on the country’s urban development. The diversity of buyers and renters present on the market lies among the main issues related to the mounting housing demand. Moreover, the increasing familiarity and awareness on topics such as sustainability and circularity calls for action.

The report presented by the master students from Utrecht University presents a thorough analysis and summary of national and municipal barriers that could hamper the installment of modular buildings as a feasible solution. Furthermore, insights on possible ways to overcome such barriers are included in the report.

The conclusion of the research is that some barriers of the legal subsystem interfere with opportunities identified in the technical subsection, increasing the complexity of problem solving. For example, the ideal solution for absolute flexibility is an off-grid solution, because no connecting to the grid is necessary when the building is replaced. However, for freshwater supply, especially rainwater usage is restricted. Even when filtered perfectly, it is not allowed to sell off-grid water supply to tenants. Therefore, a connection to the grid is far more feasible in legal terms.

Due to the integrated and related findings the setting up of a multi-lateral transition workshop is highly advised as a next step. Such a workshop shall be aimed to design a common vision of sustainability (strategic level) as well as suitable, experimental areas (operational level) that enable the placement of semi-permanent, modular buildings such as the ones at hand. The involvement of the widest amount of stakeholders as possible would most likely foster the management of the transition.

Universiteit van Utrecht: Steve Cecchini, Atakan Larcin, Mattia Micciche, Bianca Mogos, Yanniek Schoonhoven, Jan Starke
Alliander: Fred Mathot
Finch Buildings: Joran van Schaik