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Many customers remain unable to afford adequate housing.  There is a need to standardize and automate the process, so homes can be produced and delivered more quickly.  Entry level customers are not presented with enough options focusing strongly on minimum essentials with otherwise lower upkeep.

The size of standard shipping containers has been established as enough room for an individual’s living requirements, often exceeding the amount actually needed, demonstrated by the “minimal” or “micro” housing trend.  For individuals who prefer the ability to personally move and relocate dwellings without professional assistance, the size of shipping containers can be unwieldy.

As for the objective to use automatic production, each unit itself can be manufactured in advance as a module, shipped in, and installed, so one can connect multiple units via doorways, attaching halls and so forth.  In other words one may begin with an individual standalone room at first, with the possibility of adding on later.  Each module itself would be equipped with basic amenities, such as insulation and ventilation, along with a function to connect into municipal water and power supplies.

The idea is to streamline the connection process, which calls for a standardized method to plug into water, electricity, cable lines, or combination thereof, similar to the USB port used in PC computing.  USB devices often have the functionality to connect via either cable, for portability, or a docking station, where the device is more securely locked in.  From a housing standpoint the docking station adds more security; for example, several of the “minimal” houses currently available are susceptible to wind damage and could be easily hijacked by vehicle.  The docking station is built into the land to serve as a foundation, preferably along with some amount of insulation and weatherproofing, yet the home could still connect on its own to water and electricity through the same port, without being docked.

We are requesting calculations for optimal target weight and size specifications to provide these features, also to develop the standardization process, as with USB where different brands utilize the same outlet design.  For electronic devices, designers develop “apps,” or modifications expanding the range of uses.  Initial housing apps include: roofing additions, such as “green roofs” and rain barrel collection; towing capacity, the option to attach wheels separately vs. already built-in; showering and laundry mechanisms for use with the built-in wash basin, manual if need be; water heating and purification; mosquito nets for outside vicinities; boating or buoyancy mod, weight permitting; self-contained gardening, like aquaponics; power and heat generation from local fuel sources;  storage space, as in foldout furniture;  pet keeping functionalities.

For those already able to afford modern homes, conditions remain substandard in certain aspects.  Many locations are unacceptable, in terms of not being situated away from high-risk areas, such as those discussed during the Transportation Webinar (nonprofitwebinar.org/transportation).

With second hand dwellings, including those rented out to multiple tenants, there is the risk of the unknown.  Testing for several hazards should be conducted before any leasing or purchase.  There may already be chemical contamination, such as mercury released when some one breaks a fluorescent bulb or plasma screen.  “Meth labs” are becoming pervasive in rented and foreclosed residences.  Mold is another severe health risk affecting common building materials.  Given the cost of testing for all of these, not to mention if anything is detected, it appears more sensible to reduce the cost low enough to purchase a new home in the first place.

In terms of construction materials, wood is susceptible to fire and mold, along with termites, requiring the use of chemical inhibitors which add to the contamination.  Wood and straw buildings can be axed in by an intruder, and trees take a long time to develop lumber, affecting scalability.  Metals, such as steel in the example of “shipping containers,” can be printed in a standardized fashion, which improves production time and cost.  Unfortunately, scarcity is in effect concerning potentially finite resources.  Metals also provide less insulation and act as a lightning or shock hazard, so components must be grounded carefully.

One consideration is the introduction of proprietary hemp-based construction materials, such as those adapted from concrete.  Early indications show that stone-based hemp formulas provide natural fire and mold resistance, along with some degree of insulation.  On the other hand, limestone and other quarry stones are known to contain naturally occurring levels of mercury and radioactive elements, along with potential contamination caused by human activity, so any amount harvested for construction needs to be carefully screened and purified, if possible.  If you or your organization has developed a method to ensure a limestone binding formula is free of radon and other harmful elements, please post your protocol – it would be much appreciated.  We are also requesting assistance from any one able to create open-source modifications to the process, i.e., “3D printing” techniques.  If your organization is developing an open-source, automated hemp construction printing process, including stone products or otherwise, we thank you greatly for your efforts.

References (Last Updated May 10, 2021):

Housing – USA
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Permanent Housing Resources – FEMA
Construction Safety and Health – CDC
Construction eTool – OSHA
ICC – International Code Council
U.S. Small Business Administration – Construction Business Guide
– Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards – OFR
– Home Inspection Standards of Practice – InterNACHI
WikiHouse – Open Source Construction Set
Contour Crafting – Robotic Construction System
Climate CoLab – 3D Printing Hempcrete
Patent US20090234696 – Engineered Architecture
Limestone: Characteristics, Uses And Problems – GSA
International Hemp Building Association
Hemp for Houses – Natural Life Magazine
– Statutory Guidance: Drainage and Waste Disposal – Gov UK
– Zoning – American Tiny House Association
– Minimum Requirements for Lot and Building Size – American Planning Association
Call Before You Dig – It’s the Law
– Safety and Health Regulations for Construction – OSHA
This Old House – Basements and Foundations
Patent US7325363 – Foundation System for Prefabricated Houses
All About Joist and Concrete Floor Structures – DIY Network
– How to Hang Sheetrock – WikiHow
Insulation for New Home Construction – U.S. Department of Energy
Heat Island Mitigation Green Roofs – EPA
NAIMA – Insulation Knowledge Base
About Mold and Moisture – HUD
Mold Cleanup in Your Home – EPA
Moisture Control – U.S. Department of Energy
Moisture Problems in the Home – MSU Extension
External Moisture – Compliance Document for New Zealand Building Code
Air Flow and Water Vapor Transport – U.S. Department of Energy
Technical Guidance to the Indoor airPLUS Construction Specifications – EPA
Home Builder’s Guide to Coastal Construction – FEMA
Indoor Air Pollution – EPA
Sick Building Syndrome – NHS Choices
– Inside FEMA’s Toxic Trailers – Newsweek
Voluntary Guidelines for Methamphetamine Laboratory Cleanup – EPA
National Clandestine Laboratory Register – DEA
Thirdhand Smoke Is Real – National Geographic
Which Household Items Contain Mercury? Mother Nature Network
Hazardous Waste & Universal Waste – Cal Recycle
Cleaning Up a Broken CFL – EPA
Shipping Container Housing: Are the Floors Toxic? – Tree Hugger
Flame Retardants Make Dust Bunnies Dangerous – Duke
Dangerous Materials – Manage Construction and Demolition Waste
Hazardous Construction and Demolition Waste
– Response to Problem Drywall – CDC/ATSDR
Safe Rooms – FEMA
Sinkholes – USGS
Earthquake Hazards Program – USGS
Radiation and Radon from Natural Stone – Rice
Preventing Pollution at Rock Quarries – Missouri Department of Natural Resources
Oceanside: More Contaminated Soil Found at Quarry Creek Site – San Diego Union Tribune
Limestone Increases Radon Risk – BBC
Patent CA2783349A1 – Decontamination of Radionuclides on Construction Materials
Masonry Standards – ASTM
Regulations for Clean Construction or Demolition Debris – Illinois EPA
The Inflatable Concrete Dome – Vienna University of Technology
Earth Sheltered Homes – Mother Earth News
4 Worst Frozen Pipe Episodes in Detroit This Winter – Detroit Free Press
Preventing and Thawing Frozen Pipes – Red Cross
– Fire Protection Specifications – NIH
When ‘Smart Homes’ Get Hacked – Forbes
– Mobile Homes Are So Expensive Now, Hurricane Victims Can’t Afford Them – Bloomberg
Facing Foreclosure Some Owners Trash The House Before Leaving – Consumerist
Foreclosure Rate on Luxury Homes Explodes – CBS News
Chinese Town Filled with Luxury Properties that Nobody Lives In – Daily Mail
More Than 1 in 5 Homes in Chinese Cities Are Empty, Survey Says – WSJ
China’s Ghost Towns and Phantom Malls – BBC
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