Initially there will be four complementary living modules consisting of two standalones and two optional add-on modules / units. The Patent/Registration will be applied to the complete system with fully copyright by law, implicit for the designer.
The concept is architect/engineer - designed with marketing facilitated/co-ordinated by a professionally trained communications specialist.
The units can be multipurpose but it is envisaged that they will be mainly used to help solve Britain's long-term housing crisis - we will also be targeting the leisure and contracting industries as well as the important private domestic sector, where a keen response is also expected.
In addition to the above sectors, we are aware of the potential use for housing military personnel in many locations upon repatriation from their bases abroad; they could be located on old airfields, runways and various free MOD land for example. We are confident that Arkhomes can be of good use in these circumstances.
The modules are relatively easy to self-assemble (max 2 persons). Each kit of parts will arrive on site by lorry, and will be fully complete, having been sequentially numbered/ arranged in packages for the customer to fix together in approximately 1-2 days. This will be possible because, the kit will be factory quality controlled and its uncomplicated design will make it easy to understand with both the aid of plain English written directions supported by a helpline service. Prior to delivery, the ground base supports must be set up in place (Customer's responsibility) before all beamwork and independent lightweight structural framework (Engineer calculated) is erected; finally the modular semi-structural in-fill panels which are mostly interchangeable together with window and door insets, as required - are then located in positions of choice.
If required by the customer, a dedicated assembly service can be requested from the options list, thereby provided a "next day/walk-in facility."
After final assembly, the owner/customer can personalise the outside appearance from the options list, by means of a variety of different materials/finishes - as and when the need/funding permits.
A unique design feature (available as an optional extra) will be a specialised/dedicated floatation kit for those living in those risky dangerous River/Stream/Flood-plain/ Rising groundswell water locations. A separate Patent has been sought for this life-saving technical feature. An options list for various other extras (including external finishes etc.) will eventually be made available.
With regard to cost, actual selling prices will only be available once the full size prototype is assembled and exhibited to the public. As all the materials required are mostly "off the shelf" and readily available, It is hoped that with ever - increasing numbers being reserved then the unit costs will dramatically reduce to produce a realistic affordable product that can be widely appreciated/used. The key target word is affordable - across a wide purchasing spectrum, but especially where the need is for a quick emergency situation delivery and rapid fix service for vulnerable people in crisis-torn situations in the UK and abroad.
The Raison d'etre for the concept of Arkhomes is explained by some of the following drivers:
We have seen that slow official government agencies have failed in their public duties/responsibilities acting too late in recent storm and flood crises which has created massive long-term loss, damage, illness and despair because of lack of support, too little too late prompts us to ask "Is this the new normal?" e.g. recorded flooding depths in Somerset Levels - 8ft - and derived from the fiercest storms in living memory. Excessive flooding countrywide has filled to capacity al the natural aquifers, mine workings etc., creating swollen water courses, Flood-plains, sink holes and unpredictable groundwater movements prompting the question "Can we now trust the ground we walk on?" Since writing my first draft, the most horrific floods and storms have devastated the Balkans and elsewhere causing utter despair and damage again. It would be poor judgement to assume this was all down to freak weather - the history books tell us not so, therefore all we can do is try to prepare for the next inevitable onslaught now.
To quote the big question from the Ancient Greek sages - "What is going to be done?" with a completely chaotic lack of social housing provision ongoing, and no clear published agreement on forward planning for the future, the future does look extremely bleak, especially for the young unemployed, poor elderly, low paid working on zero hours and all those (soft target) ever growing vulnerable sick people in our society. We are informed that there are 900,000 young people now unemployed in the UK, many without any real prospect of a normal, fulfilling life without the prospect ever of a home purchase and all that goes with it. We are also informed that 24,000 immigrants of all kinds are entering the UK daily (without conditions), inevitably exacerbating the existing social/housing structure and infrastructure. There are now in excess of 2 million people waiting on the social housing register in the UK and several thousand sleeping on streets and the priority of need is, and has been, absolutely crystal clear for some time.
Unless a miracle happens, I believe that huge numbers of people will now have to accept that it will be impossible to buy a conventional/traditional type property - because they have been priced out of the massively, inflated, and distorted market. We can only hope that the Planning Inspectorate will initiate a fundamental review of procedures in order to reconcile these ever growing people numbers with utilising all the available two million brownfield sites, and the proposed relaxation of some green belt land to ease/mitigate the appalling housing backlog that has been allowed to develop in this country. The land banking issue by big developers undoubtedly distorts the market and causes unrelenting cost increases - all counter productive.
There is much controversy about the housing problem - but what is clear shows too little too late again and impossibly unaffordable for most people.
Following the recent Grenfell catastrophe in west London many people will now feel disinclined to live high-rise and if Arkhomes is accepted and land released, they could help ease the problem and save public finances. More local workshops and UK jobs could be opened to operate in their local areas producing these prefabricated modules. With the known shortage of skilled craftsmen prefabrication allied with cost-control is the way ahead now.
The National Planning Policy Framework for 2012 from Whitehall aims to cut red tape and wants to relax planning laws, in favour of builders, however, the rules are not fully transparent yet and various vested interests are extremely upset and nervous now.
Against this background, my rapid supply and fix modular units will at least, offer a secure, safe and warm survival facility - which will provide low-cost protection from the UK's most rigorous, unpredictable climate - hopefully, this will provide a safety-net of valuable thinking time for the next stage of Life's difficult journey for those described beforehand.
Roy Turner, Architect / Inventor 11th August 2017