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Neptunus’ technology offers solution for affordable housing

A new concept in temporary housing was officially opened in the Netherlands today thanks to an an innovative project designed by structure specialists Neptunus which designers say could be adapted to provide much-needed affordable housing in the UK.

Sophisticated technology, originally developed for the short-term rental of temporary structures to the events and exhibitions industry, has evolved extensively with the flexibility for buildings to host a vast range of long-term commercial uses. In recent years Neptunus’ re-locatable buildings have provided accommodation for retail shopping centres, an airport terminal in East Germany, car show rooms for leading brands such as BMW, warehouses, offices, theatres and sports halls for education establishments in the UK and Europe.

Now Neptunus’ creative team has designed an innovative state-of-the-art apartment block which in appearance and quality is virtually impossible to distinguish from a permanent building, yet has the capability to be dismantled and re-erected at other locations. It took just 14 weeks to construct the building at Panningen, Limburg – a small town about 30 minutes from the city of Eindhoven.

The building has 16 two-room and four three-room apartments which are all fully equipped.  It has been developed as a temporary housing project for the Municipality of Peel and Mass and the Wonen Limburg Housing Association.

The ‘recyclable flats’ have caught the imagination of the public. All 20 apartments were snapped up within weeks of the housing association opening a ‘hotline’ for people urgently needing living space.
Peel and Mass Alderman Arno Janssen said: “With temporary buildings you can be flexible at any time regarding the need for living space. If demographical developments lead to the fact that in ten years there are no apartments needed in the vicinity of Panningen, we can easily relocate the building to another village or give it another purpose.”

Neptunus, which has its headquarters at Kessel in the Netherlands, came up with the concept after being challenged by local authorities in Holland to find a solution to meet the country’s affordable housing crisis.

Dorrie Eilers, Neptunus Director, says:  “The Netherlands has a shortage of housing accommodation which particularly affects young people who are new to the housing market, people who find it difficult to afford a mortgage or people who are going through a divorce.  The local authority was unsure about building a permanent apartment block but Neptunus was able to offer a semi-permanent solution. It can either be removed when it is no longer required or can be dismantled and transferred to another location, depending on demand.

“The accommodation is ideal for people looking for a short-term home such as ex-students or even people who may have sold their house and need a temporary home before moving into permanent accommodation. Tenants won’t be able to stay in the apartments indefinitely, they are short-term solutions for people in difficulty who will be expected to find a permanent home so their apartments will be freed up for others to use.”
Neptunus’s Flexolution system, which has a 20-year plus life span, is made from re-useable and recyclable materials which are all eco-friendly including durable and ecological ground insulation for the foundations and solar panel heating. Constructed with aluminium columns and a wooden façade with a solid wooden floor and wooden beams, gives the apartment block a modern and eye-catching design.   Bathrooms are similar to those designed for cruise ships.

April Trasler, Managing Director of Neptunus’ UK operation based in Northampton, says she hopes the innovative housing solution created in Holland could be adopted in the UK.  She said: “Holland is not alone in facing a shortage of affordable housing and we believe this solution could also be attractive for local authorities in the UK to meet the growing demand for accommodation.

“The Queen’s Speech in June highlighted that housing is a critical element of the UK Government’s programme and there will certainly be pressure on local councils and housing associations to find cost-effective and speedy solutions. We believe our Flexolution system offers the perfect answer to this problem.”  

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