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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 March 31, 2018):

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
National Association of Home Builders
U.S. Small Business Administration – Construction Business Guide
– Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards – OFR
– Home Inspection Standards of Practice – InterNACHI
– Design Objectives – Whole Building Design Guide – NIBS
Free Encyclopedia of Building & Environmental Inspection
Federal Alliance for Safe Homes
WikiHouse – Open Source Construction Set
Contour Crafting – Robotic Construction System
RYOT News – 3D Printer Home
YHBM – Winsun
Monolite UK – D-Shape
Exo Reaction Housing System
Daiwa House Group
Better Shelter
Climate CoLab – 3D Printing Hempcrete
Shelter Centre Library
Living Architecture Centre
Cal-Earth – The California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture
Small Living Journal
Tiny House Journal
10 Basic Facts You Should Know About Modular Homes – Freshome
Toolbase – Home Innovation Research Labs
Geiger Research Institute of Sustainable Building
New Home Source – A Step by Step Guide to the Home Building Process
Patent US20090234696 – Engineered Architecture
Eco Building Materials – Van Laarhoven Combinatie Architecten
Limestone: Characteristics, Uses And Problems
Limestone Quarrying and Processing: A Life-Cycle Inventory
International Hemp Building Association
Building with Hemp and Lime – Centre for Alternative Technology
Growing Our Way Out of Climate Change by Building with Hemp and Wood Fibre – The Guardian
Natural Life Magazine – Hemp for Houses
Bringing it Home – Movie
Hemcrete: Carbon Negative Hemp Walls
Hemp & Lime Construction – Insulation
Hempcrete Australia
Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute
Evaluating a Building Lot – Slope, Soils, Drainage, and Radon – Building Advisor
– 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
Concrete Basics in Construction – Construction Knowledge
Pre-cast Concrete Foundation Installation – Bob Vila
This Old House – Basements and Foundations
Home Building Answers – House Foundations
Finding and Preparing a Building Lot for a Modular Home
RSCP – Shipping Container House Foundations
Mobile Home Foundation Types
Patent US7325363 – Foundation System for Prefabricated Houses
Craftsman Foundation Diagrams
Hometips – House Foundation Types
4 Ways to Avoid Foundation Problems – House Logic
Foundation Repair Guide – Getting Control of Expansive Soil
All About Joist and Concrete Floor Structures
How Joists Work – The Family Handyman
How-To Framing – Hometime
– How to Hang Sheetrock – WikiHow
– Using Gypsum Board for Walls and Ceilings – Gypsum Association
Insulation for New Home Construction – U.S. Department of Energy
Fine Home Building – A Crash Course in Roof Venting
Old House Web – Roof Flashing Details
Green Roofs for Healthy Cities
EPA Heat Island Mitigation – Green Roofs
NAIMA – Insulation Knowledge Base
Historic Windows & Energy Efficiency – Preservation NC
Oikos Green Building Library – Air Sealing Rim Joists
Moisture Control – U.S. Department of Energy
Moisture Problems in the Home – MSU Extension
Compliance Document for New Zealand Building Code – External Moisture
Concrete Network – Waterproofing Options for Concrete Foundations
Air Flow and Water Vapor Transport – U.S. Department of Energy
Technical Guidance to the Indoor airPLUS Construction Specifications – EPA
Understanding Vapor Barriers – Eco Building Pulse
Home Building Lessons – Most Showers are Not Waterproof
Home Builder’s Guide to Coastal Construction – FEMA
Lime Based Mortars Create Water Tight Walls – National Lime Association
Indoor Air Pollution – EPA
National Safety Council – Sick Building Syndrome
NHS Choices – Sick Building Syndrome
– Inside FEMA’s Toxic Trailers – Newsweek
Mold Sickness – The Truth
The Mold Help Organization
Symptoms of Mold Exposure
Urgent – Everyone Needs to Read This – Lyn Leahz
A History of Mold Illness – The Kelsey Best Story
Meth in Your Home, Car, or Business
Home Sweet Meth Home – Indiana Family’s Real Estate Nightmare
Meth Lab Homes – Is Your Home a Former Meth House?
Voluntary Guidelines for Methamphetamine Laboratory Cleanup – EPA
National Clandestine Laboratory Register – DEA
How to Avoid Buying a Meth House – MSN
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
Chemical Industry Fights for Flame Retardants – Chicago Tribune
Dangerous Materials – Manage Construction and Demolition Waste
Hazardous Construction and Demolition Waste
– Response to Problem Drywall – CDC/ATSDR
National Storm Shelter Association
FEMA – Safe Rooms
Seismic & Earthquake Resistant Homes
USGS – Earthquake Hazards Program
The Radon Information Center
Radiation and Radon from Natural Stone – Rice
Cause for Worry? Granite Fears Grip Homeowners – ABC News
Environmental Hazards of Limestone Mining – eHow
Radon Exposures in Granite Quarry – Marble Institute
Preventing Pollution at Rock Quarries – Missouri Department of Natural Resources
Oceanside: More Contaminated Soil Found at Quarry Creek Site – San Diego Union Tribune
Assessment of Radiological Hazard Indices of Building Materials in Ogbomoso
Radiological Significance of Egyptian Limestone and Alabaster Used for Construction
Limestone Increases Radon Risk – BBC
Patent CA2783349A1 – Decontamination of Radionuclides on Construction Materials
Radiation Exposure, Building Material – European Nuclear Society
Masonry Standards – ASTM
Regulations for Clean Construction or Demolition Debris – Illinois EPA
Dome Builder
The Inflatable Concrete Dome – Vienna University of Technology
Earth Sheltered Homes – Mother Earth News
Earthbag Building
Earthship Biotecture
4 Worst Frozen Pipe Episodes in Detroit This Winter – Detroit Free Press
Red Cross – Preventing and Thawing Frozen Pipes
Today’s Homeowner – How to Prevent Pipes from Freezing and Thaw Frozen Pipes
– List of NFPA Codes and Standards
– Fire Protection Specifications – NIH
Home Maintenance Tips – Preventive Home Maintenance
When ‘Smart Homes’ Get Hacked – Forbes
Smart Home Kit Proves Easy to Hack – BBC
Cities Deal With a Surge in Shantytowns – NY Times
More Homeless Camps are Appearing Beyond Downtown L.A.’s Skid Row – LA Times
– Mobile Homes Are So Expensive Now, Hurricane Victims Can’t Afford Them – Bloomberg
Facing Foreclosure Some Owners Trash The House Before Leaving – Consumerist
Buyers’ Revenge: Trash the House After Foreclosure – WSJ
2010 Had Record 2.9 Million Foreclosures – ABC News
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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