These modular hurricane-proof homes cost less than $200,000 to build

cubicco house rendering 1
of Cubicco

Dutch company Cubicco has created a flat-pack, modular,
prefabricated, hurricane-proof home that can be built for
less than $200,000. And it could soon come to the Caribbean
and Florida.

The Cubicco home, which is made up
of laminated wood and cork
, is designed to hold up to the
high-velocity hurricane codes
in Florida’s Miami-Dade County. That means buildings
must be able to withstand 185 mph winds, have impact-resistant
glass, and be elevated off the ground. Other parts of the
home, including hurricane-rated windows and doors, layers of
plywood sheathing, and insulation, give it
additional hurricane resistance.

The units can be stood on stilts, moved around and
disassembled. Because the homes are prefabricated,
building crews can simply get trained to assemble the
Cubicco units, get the parts shipped to a desired location, and
complete construction in a few months. The structures’ modular
design also means they can be combined into small villages
or larger homes.

The homes have a few optional bells and whistles to increase
sustainability as well, including a water reclaiming system,
spots for solar panels on the roof, and open slats that
allow for geothermal heating and cooling.

The price for construction is generally below $200,000 before
finishes, flooring, and appliances, though it depends on
square footage. The company says that units usually cost
about $175 per square foot to construct.

It’s a high-tech, almost IKEA-like solution to housing, a
“future-proof” home that can withstand tropical storms and
usher people toward a more sustainable lifestyle.

cubicco porch
of Cubicco

The company has already sold some individual homes to customers
in Florida, but this week, it will begin work on its first group
housing development in the Caribbean. Cubicco designer Marcio
Gomes da Cruz tells Business Insider that the company has
residential projects underway in the Bahamas and Turks
and Caicos. 

Cubicco is an appealing model on those islands for several
reasons. First, the designs are built to be hurricane resistant,
a definite plus given how badly
Haiti was recently hit
by Hurricane Matthew. Second, the
prefabricated construction process is more convenient since
some materials can be hard to come by in island locations.
And third, the construction doesn’t create a lot of
waste, which is an important consideration in
places without much landfill space. 

“Disposal is very expensive in the Caribbean — when you want to
get rid of a dumpster full of construction debris, it’s kind of
an issue,” da Cruz says. 

Da Cruz won’t yet say where the specific
developments are located, or how many units will be in
each project. But he says the company expects to finish them in
the next few months.

Cubicco is now focusing on large-scale projects like these,
and has stopped selling straight to individual
customers. Da Cruz says part of the reason is
that consumers generally look for the cheapest housing

“Most people in Florida will come to us because they love
the idea and they love what we’re doing. But when it comes down
to dollars and cents, they don’t want to pay for it,” he says.
“They don’t want to pay for the additional installation. They
don’t want to pay for the water reclaiming system. So it’s the
kind of thing that, if you don’t care about the environment,
we’re not the company for you.” 

Cubicco’s design has been approved under Florida’s building codes
for modular units in Florida (which pertains
to everything but the foundation), but the homes cost more
than traditionally constructed houses because of their
sustainable, storm-resistant features.

“We are not affordable housing,” da Cruz says. “We’re a
higher end product that can be achieved for relatively decent
price per square foot.” 

So while some buyers in Florida are still ignoring climate warnings and
snatching up weather- and flood-susceptible properties,
Caribbean homeowners will soon get a new, more
disaster-proof option.

from SAI