Modular houses on rented private land to quickly create affordable housing? With an example project, the Agence Immobilière Sociale wants to convince the population of this idea - and persuade politicians to take regulatory action.
If everything goes well, it will be ready by the end of the year: probably the first house made of prefabricated three-dimensional elements in Luxembourg, assembled on a rented private property. Ready to be visited, inspected and touched.
Gilles Hempel has high hopes for this moment. The director of the Agence Immobilière Sociale (AIS) has been promoting the concept, which is unusual by Luxembourg standards, for several years. With a rather mixed record so far. "We started developing this idea around 2017 and 2018." The idea is to transfer the "AIS system" to rented plots of land and build modular houses there. "The AIS offer was very gratefully received", Gilles Hempel tells us. So the agency has no problems finding flats for onward placement through the social lease management. "It's different with the properties", he adds. The last time the AIS tried to get its idea out to people was at the 2019 Spring Fair. "The response was relatively low", Hempel recalls. However, when individual property owners expressed interest, their rental ideas were "one-sided".
It can be roughly stated that the person in charge of the agency for social housing is pursuing two goals with the pilot project. On the one hand, to clear up prejudices, because modular construction does not enjoy the best image. For most people, the thought of "containers" conjures up images of construction site huts, classrooms that are intended to be temporary but are often used for much longer, or the Abrigado drug consumption space (which was actually also intended to be temporary). Secondly, the AIS wants to demonstrate a model with which high-quality housing can be built comparatively quickly on vacant lots. Incidentally, the AIS does not yet want to make public the name of the municipality in which the project is to be realised, as long as not everything is settled.
Xavier Mahy and Benedict Sargent from OIKOS-concept are also convinced of this. Under ideal conditions, just six months could pass between the order and the final assembly of an industrially prefabricated single-family house, according to Mahy. The company's director reckons that unloading the prefabricated modules by crane and the final assembly will take a maximum of one week.
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House by truck
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