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Micro House Fabrication
See also: MicroHouse, UnityCenter/Proposal, Localization, MicroHouseFabricationProposal
Overview of Microhouse Fabrication
Microhouse Fabrication is a combination of sourcing, logistics, production, installation, and maintenance processes that spans the lifecycle of a microhouse from construction, through utilization, to recycling. When completed, the actions defined within these five processes not only meet immediate fabrication requirements, but contribute to the development and support of microhouse-based communities. Hence, microhouse fabrication carries a much broader agenda than merely constructing a house.
This dual mission of home construction and community building is the driving force behind the design of the total system and the five processes that comprise it. Each of these processes can be presented as a business opportunity. A brief outline of each from this perspective follows.
Sourcing: materials required to make a microhouse are produced as close to the point of use as possible in an effort to strengthen the local economy. When there are insufficient materials available within the local community, supply requirements are met by drawing upon inventories in the closest communities within a region. The inventories are replenished as soon as possible after depletion so there is a regional capacity for quick response should it be necessary. Also, as improvements in materials are developed, inventories adopt these improvements as they are replenished. Becoming a prime source of materials critical for microhouse fabrication is a significant business growth opportunity.
Logistics: materials to produce and maintain a microhouse constitute a work-in-process inventory held in three places: the point where the materials are manufactured, the point where they are utilized in the production of a microhouse, and in transit between those two points. Likewise, a completed microhouse is in one of three locations: onsite where it is used, in storage, or in transit from one location to another. Moving the materials to produce or maintain microhouses and relocating completed microhouses from one site to another establishes the parameters for a logistics system requiring low capitalization, low environmental impact, easy use, accuracy, and timeliness. The development, deployment, and support of such a system is a major business growth opportunity.
Production: the basic microhouse unit is a cube that utilizes standardized parts, components and assemblies for walls, windows, doors, flooring, and ceiling / roof and all systems for energy, water, and waste. While the raw materials to make these parts, components, and assemblies may vary from one location to another based on availability of particular materials, the basic specifications for form, fit, and function remain fixed. The point of production is as close to the point of installation as possible, if not on location. The production unit is a mobile operation housed within a combination of two specially-adapted adjoining microhouses. This production unit is a fully-outfitted shop that contains everything needed to fabricate, construct, and install a complete microhouse configuration onsite. It is self-sufficient. It can be transported from one location to another by flat-bed truck, tractor-trailer, or on a specially-designed wheel - frame assembly. Production units are easily made. The cost of a production unit is equal to two basic microhouse units. A production unit is purchased by a percentage of the revenue received for construction and installation of microhouses. Obviously, producing microhouses is a major new business start-up opportunity.
Installation: the basic microhouse unit is adaptable to a unique, singular purpose, expandable to link with one or more additional units to fulfill multiple purposes, or scalable as sets of unit combinations nested together to form intentional / co-housing communities. Each unit is capable of self-sufficient operation off-the-grid or direct hook-up to public utilities for water, waste, electrical, and fuel. Each unit is installed on a specially-designed foundation or stabilizing structure that can be easily setup in a wide range of physical conditions, yet causes minimal disturbance of the surrounding ecosystem. If the unit is relocated, it is a straightforward, inexpensive procedure to eliminate virtually all trace of past presence and restore the area to its original condition. Knowing how to setup and install microhouses is a new business start-up opportunity.
Maintenance: a microhouse unit experiencing normal wear and tear, yet given routine care, is expected to enjoy a 20-30 year lifespan, if not longer. During this period it is anticipated that the unit will change locations 3-4 times and adapt its layout configuration 1-2 times to accommodate changing needs. Along the way, some parts and components will be removed and replaced due to damage, loss, or change in layout and use. And there will be several instances where the components and systems will benefit by upgrading thus driving modifications. Tear-down and reassembly, adding and modifying microhouse units, and making repairs and replacements comprise a total maintenance package that represents a new business start-up opportunity.
Production UnitsSee Open Franchising for reference reading
Microhouse fabrication is completed within a production unit consisting of the equipment, tooling, power supply, and space necessary to manufacture the components and assemblies for a complete microhouse unit regardless of application: housing, rental space, office, retreat, agricultural production, storage, or specialized use. The production unit is also equipped to manufacture various "system packs", per a customer's specifications such as waste management, water management, and energy generation / management.
A production unit consists of two specially-outfitted, adjoining microhouse units. The total space occupied is (27)x(2)=54 cubic meters. Similar in construction parameters to microhouse unit, each can fit onto a flat-bed trailer, inside an cargo trailer / truck, or on a towing frame. Production units can be stationary for protracted periods of time or easily transported from one location to another depending on circumstances.
How a production unit is outfitted, how the owner / operator is trained to use it, and how the unit is replicated so that the capacity to manufacture microhouses is distributed to close proximity to their points of use is regulated through an open franchising agreement. These topics are covered in more detail below.
Training is delivered in three ways: public school curricula, private institute or learning center, and online.
Production units are used for different reasons. As a result, particular circumstances determine the type of replication. Emergency housing projects in stricken areas frequently require mobile production units. Even though mobile units are available for redeployment after the emergency to which they respond is over, it is essential that a set capacity for emergency production be reserved to cover multiple contingencies.
Intentional housing projects for individual housing units or multiple adjoining units, and adaptive housing projects involving changes to existing microhouse structures due to damage or design require more localized production units. This assures continuous support of ongoing microhouse projects within a village / community.
The number and purpose of replicated production units depends on projected localized demand and reserve capacity for response to emergency situations. Funding for production units comes through a community currency system. Details to follow.
The terms of the franchise agreement are only that the finished product is affordable, modular, manufacturable, portable, legally compliant, "green", and self-contained. This means that all those who are franchisees under the microhouse banner have three certifications available for customers, community members, and suppliers: the structure as built and delivered to the owner / occupant conforms to the above seven criteria for a microhouse, "green" means conforms to LEED criteria, and the builder / installer have completed training provided by certified instructors in how to construct microhouses that meet the guidelines.