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PreFab in the Caribbean (and hurricanes!)

 
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ellen



Joined: 18 Apr 2004
Posts: 4
Location: St. Thomas, VI

PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2004 5:30 am    Post subject: PreFab in the Caribbean (and hurricanes!) Reply with quote

I would love to build a prefab house, but since we live in the Caribbean I need to address some problems first. I need the house to make it through hurricane season. I know there are some non-modernist prefabs designed in Florida built to withstand major hurricanes, but have any of the modernist designers addressed this? Also, we have no city water so we need a cistern below and a roof that can collect the h2o. I'd love to hear any ideas or pointers. Thanks. Ellen
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joe



Joined: 16 Mar 2004
Posts: 75
Location: orygun

PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2004 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have seen many homes using shipping containers in Jamaica.

Question: why prefab? Concrete blocks, corrugated metal, and cheap labor is readily available in the Caribbean. Seems to me you could build a nice, sturdy, modernist home with local building materials for much less than importing a prefab house. I would look for an architect, either from the US, or the Caribbean.
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ellen



Joined: 18 Apr 2004
Posts: 4
Location: St. Thomas, VI

PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2004 8:29 am    Post subject: caribbean prefab Reply with quote

Yeh, I have been keeping my eye on some interesting container ideas, but I don't think that is really what I am looking for.

I am just thinking I'd like to try something that's not concrete or block since everything on the island is made it. I probably will end up using concrete in the end. I'm just exploring options.

Cheap labor (or should I say cheap skilled labor) does not exist on St Thomas right now. There are currently big tax incentives for millionaires to move here and the housing market has gone crazy. Every contractor has a waiting list. Building prices with concrete are around $200 a square foot to start. I just thought if my house could arrive on island in a container and just get put together that would be an interesting solution - since all building materials are imported anyway.
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Ellen Earle
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joe



Joined: 16 Mar 2004
Posts: 75
Location: orygun

PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2004 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I now understand you situation better. $200/sqft is a little stiff. Since St. Thoms is the US, you won't be paying tarrifs. Still, most prefabs on the market will need some sort of labor to finish.

I would check out the Glide house. It's one of the better looking designed units on the market. Functional too. Not sure of the kind of finish work that will be needed.

Another possibility I would look into would be two of the Dwell home entries:

http://www.marmol-radziner.com/
they have an interesting modular steel frame. I thought there design for the contest was great! There presentation boards are on their site.

http://www.jonespartners.com/procon.html
Jones specializes in containers. His entry was tops for container design that I have seen.

check out http://www.thedwellhome.com/ for more images.

One note about containrs: the discussion on the dwell board has illustrated that contains don't save you much money.
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ellen



Joined: 18 Apr 2004
Posts: 4
Location: St. Thomas, VI

PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2004 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the links. I especially like the marmol-radziner presentation boards. But their design presented another hurricane issue - with all the glass, I would need a creative solution to hurricane shutters. Has anyone come upon any interesting ways to deal with sealing up a house with doors, shutters, rolling walls, .....? Actually, I guess this discussion is for another board, I am straying too much from the prefab topic....?
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Ellen Earle
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joe



Joined: 16 Mar 2004
Posts: 75
Location: orygun

PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think glass is vital in any modern living experience, regardless of location. Check out the BachKit from Australia. Not that I am recommending their product, rather the idea of the large sliding metal doors that are used to protect the glass from storms. You can see them in the still photos.

http://www.bachkit.com/
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ellen



Joined: 18 Apr 2004
Posts: 4
Location: St. Thomas, VI

PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2004 12:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had seen that bachkit before. I think those metal sliders are the best thing about it. Some version of that would definitely work down here. Well, I'll let you know if I ever build anything like it.... Thanks for all the input.
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Ellen Earle
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eamesdaedelus



Joined: 28 Apr 2004
Posts: 263
Location: Austin, Texas

PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2004 3:17 pm    Post subject: hurricane proofing Reply with quote

Ellen,

I have just completed a design for a "kit-of-parts" type Structural Insulated Panel (SIP) home located 2 blocks from the beach on the Texas Gulf Coast. It has been engineered for a windspeed of 130 mph. It isn't a modular design, but that could be fixed pretty quickly, as it is only 16 feet wide, and laid out on a very rigid 8'x8' module. It took the engineers a while to wrap their heads around the SIP idea, but once I lead them through it they realized just how incerdible these things are for handling EXTREME windloads. By the time they were up to speed, they were pretty much willing to let me do whatever I wanted with the design, and they would sign off on it. It's not too often you find engineers doing that (at least in my experience).

Here is a design I cooked up the other day that combines the container idea with a SIP roof, and a 24'x24' "great-room". I know some folks on the dwell board have poo-poo'ed the container house idea (at least as far as saving money is concerned) but by my estimations you could build this design for under $100K. That is 1408 s.f. for $71/s.f (and you could possibly do it for $60K or $70K depending on all sorts of factors.)



Regards,

Mark Meyer
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box 684742
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512.619.6962
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joe



Joined: 16 Mar 2004
Posts: 75
Location: orygun

PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2004 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

eamesdaedelus:

nice visual. do you have any more images, floorplans to share? You design reminds me of the entry in the SECCA home contest (first house) http://www.secca.org/homehouse/winners.html

It's the best idea for containers I have seen.
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eamesdaedelus



Joined: 28 Apr 2004
Posts: 263
Location: Austin, Texas

PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2004 2:18 pm    Post subject: more pics Reply with quote



More pics can be seen at

http://www.loutzenhiser.com/RecyclingOnSteroids/4ContainerHouse.html

I'll be working on the floor plans and details next week. I've had a bit of interest in this particular design. It is similar to the SECCA entry (laverdera pointed that out to me the other day, and I was a bit dismayed at the similarities. I hope they don't think I ripped them off) but even so I think it is a more gracious central space, thanks to the raised portion and the clerestorie windows. I do think that if you are going to attempt to build with containers you need to use them to house the smaller rooms, but not to jam all of the progrm of a house into them.

Thanks for the props! Many people are happening to agree with you. Now if I can just get one built....

Mark
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512.619.6962
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