Nigel Young of 4WALLS started working on his modular home design in order to address the lack of affordable housing in New Zealand. Named Herekorenga, the Māori term for freedom and liberty, the design takes inspiration from the box truss concept.
“Box truss — that’s what my design is all around. The whole idea is that it is prefabricated, transportable and stands on its own right,” explains Nigel. “It doesn’t need foundations, and the height can be adjusted easily.”
The self-contained structure is designed to be built off-site, transported, lifted and positioned on site. Subsequent relocation (or even post-earthquake re-levelling) is likewise easy, as the unit is also designed to be easily unbolted, picked up and transported. This makes the design ideal for multi-generational living, where families may want to add or subtract living space over the course of time. The modular design is capable of being scaled up or down, or even stacked to form prefabricated apartments.
When considering materials for the design, Nigel turned to Speedfloor for advice. While their Suspended Concrete Flooring system was initially considered, it was the lightweight Steel Joist System that proved ideal. “The posts, lintel, floor and roof all get locked up in one continual structural unit to make the core of the structure. Speedfloor’s joists fitted in perfectly — they could get the spans required and didn’t need any extra bearers.”
Speedfloor’s lightweight engineered Steel Joist System has been designed for strength and ease of installation. The system is lightweight and supplied pre-cut to length, eliminating time on site and making it ideal for prefabrication and transportation. The system is also cost-effective, and offers economic spanning performance. “There’s a lot to be said for steel joists,” says Nigel. “Any services can run through the floor with prefabricated holes. Steel joists make life easy.”
Nigel’s design will shortly be built and tested at Auckland University of Technology’s Engineering testing laboratory with the assistance of Professor John Tookey, to ensure that it is safe and fit for purpose. Passionate about affordable housing, Nigel sees Herekorenga as a significant contribution that can change the way houses are built in New Zealand.
For more information on Nigel's design, visit the 4WALLS website.