A cheap temporary housing

This document describes two models of temporary housing, built within the framework of an agricultural installation on naked grounds, in the Toulouse countryside, one and the other in waiting of permit building and realization of a final housing.
First was used for 18 months into 1998/1999, by a family of 5 people, the second has sheltered a couple for one year and half.
These two achievements rest on the use of the horticultural greenhouse-tunnel from 8 to 9 m of width and 3,50 m height to the ridge sheathing.


 1) Greenhouse plastique+ mobile-home

a) Realization
A greenhouse of 8x15 m (galvanized iron arches, wire of iron of frame, breaks into leaf of transparent polyethylene) under which is engaged with half mobile- ahome of 25 m2
The polyethylene sheet is bleached of a good layer of white of shade before each estival period. A fabric veil (cotton cloths of recovery) is slipped between iron wire and the plastic, it reinforces the shade and absorbs the moisture which condenses on the interior face of the plastic the fresh nights. This moisture dries during the day.
The pinions of the greenhouse are closed with summary walls in bundles of straw. Coarse frames out of wooden are used as casing with two doors isoplanes of recovery, one on each pinion of the greenhouse . These frames are independent of the structure of the greenhouse which is flexible and must be authorized to become deformed with the wind. This elastic strain can determine a play de10 cm of the arches around their position at rest.
On the ground, bricks punts of terra cotta are posed dry on a sand bed, and make a dismountable tiling in the part "dining room". Elsewhere, with the recovered lino the ground covers.
Housing is connected to the electrical supply network (professional meter) and to the network of water conveyance, but not to the whole with the sewer, the network not extending to the ground.

b) Equipment
- a summary electric installation (lighting, catches).
- a bathroom (wash-hand basin, bath-tub).
- a washing machine.
- a sink of kitchen, gone up dry on breeze blocks.
- a gazinière with propane
- a small electric convector of 1000 W, to heat the mobile-home a little when the weather is cold.

The small water-heater with propane has cold with the cold first, the family was satisfied with water heated on gas.
Gray water was evacuated towards a 5 m length open trench on 30 cm of depth, outside the greenhouse, with the downstream.
A toilet with litter was installed in a tiny room summarily arranged in a corner of the greenhouse. The waste of the toilets was drained with measure to an unoccupied corner of the ground.
The mobile-home was used as dormitory for the three children (4, 11 and 12 years), and spaces it of 120 m2 available under the greenhouse was partitioned with fabrics suspended on the reinforcements of the greenhouse, so as to allow a minimum of visual intimacy for each one

c) Use
The level of comfort of such a housing is limited obviously enough.
The thermal variations are very important, one reaches 30 with 35°C the day in summer, and -5°C in the early morning the winter. All the pipes of plumbing are out of polyethylene, and do not fear freezing. It is imperatively necessary however to close the valve of arrival and to open all the taps each time freezing threatens. The mobile-home appears about also hot and as cold as the greenhouse. Essential: a good feather bed for each one.
Minor defects: there is movement of air in abundance inside as soon as the wind rises, and the acoustic intimacy is about null.
In spite of these disadvantages, this habitat appears very pleasant in mid-season, partly because of the soft light which filters by all the surface of the ceiling and the walls, and also of the immediate perception of external environment: the rain, the noise of the wind in the trees, the song of the birds. With the legitimate occupants, one crosses a crowd of squatteurs there finally sympathetic nerves: hedgehog, mante religious, snails, clamping plates, wasps build, mislaid birds, etc.

d) Risks
The principal risk specific to this type of habitat is undoubtedly the storm, which can tear off the plastic, to even crush the metal structure. Measurements of prevention are simple: as much as possible, to settle with the shelter of the wind, to lay out the axis of the greenhouse perpendicularly with the dominant winds, to choose a well braced structure, to look after the assembly, in particular the tension of iron wire of frame, to pose the plastic correctly and to bury it well in trenches some 40 cm depth at least dug 50 away cm from the base of the structure, all well-known rules of the market-gardeners.
In the event of opinion of storm, to evacuate housing.
For the remainder, it is rather easy to secure surface waters, and if the iron wire and the plastic are well posed, there will be no gutters, even if a cat perforates the cover with its claws.









2) Studio framework wood+staw under a plastic greenhouse

a) Realization
Under a greenhouse of 9x8 m, one poses a floor of batten (7x6 m) on a batch of homogeneous pallets spread out over a plastic sheet. On this floor a flight ramework of wood is assembled around fifty of vertical posts (210x6x6 cm), a large central post, two beams and a score of beams (12x4 cm). The posts are distributed on two perimeters, one at the edge of the floor, the other fifty cm in withdrawal, towards the interior. Between these two rows of posts, one piles up the bales of straw by leaving a door and two windows (joineries of recovery).
The beams carry a ceiling of batten on which are laid out two or three layers of paperboard and over bundles of straw.
Deduced once the surface occupied by the walls, it remains approximately 30 m2 livable inside the walls, plus 2 "corridors" of 1,50 m width between the shhetof the greenhouse and the walls.
The walls of straw are coated with ground on the two faces, the interior coating is very thick (approximately 6 cm), which gets a little thermal inertia to housing.
The axis of the greenhouse is directed North-South. The southern pinion carries two large windows, whereas in north, the very whole greenhouse is closed of a summarily high additional wall in bundles of straw.
Housing is connected to the electrical supply network (professional meter). It is provided out of water by an electric pump assembled on a well in the vicinity, the water of drink and kitchen being bought in bottles. It is not connected to the whole with the sewer.

b) Equipment
-electric Lighting, catches.
-a shower sink and tub, with a small drain covered for gray water.
-cooking with propane
- a wood stove
- a toilet with litter

c) Use
The floor and the ceiling were carried out with still wet batten. While drying, it left open joints so that the ventilation of the part is important. As in addition thermal inertia is rather weak, it is necessary to heat regularly in winter.
In summer, the greenhouse passed to the white of shade and the southern frontage is protected by a pergola, which is enough to ensure a temperature lower than 25°C in the studio.
In cold period, the abundant condensation which occurs the night under the plastic sheet falls down in rain on the straw of the ceiling, which it ends up wetting in-depth. It is advisable to envisage a means of absorbing or of evacuating this moisture: veil fabrics posed under the plastic, or other.

d) Risks
In addition to the storm, it is necessary to prevent the fire hazard here. The walls in straw coated well are non flammable. It is necessary to lay out the stove on a fireproof mineral plate, and to look after the exit of the flue.
In this housing as in the precedent, the feeling to make the provisional one should not bring to neglect safety. For the electric installation, one will neglect readily the standards which impose useless equipment (taken in 32 amps on a clean circuit for an electric furnace, for example), but certainly not those which milked with safety.

3) Discussion
The principal interest of these residences is due to their very low cost, the speed and the simplicity of their construction. The tiny investment authorized at the beginning is about completely recoverable at the end of their use, by re-use or resale of the elements.
In the first model, the mobile-home can be replaced by a caravan, less expensive and much easier to transport. This type of habitat is to be held for the soft climates, and to install if possible in shaded site. Its use can be only very temporary, although one meets in edge of sea of people who live at the year in mobile-home, and whom the gipsies pass all their life in the caravan.
The second (studio straw under plastic greenhouse) is moderated much better, one can make heat, it can put up himself with the hardest climates. The floor wood is not essential, a ground of beaten ground possibly stabilized with lime, or a pavement of terra cotta posed dry would have the merit to confer a welcome thermal inertia in winter as much as in summer. As described above, this housing comprises only one part, but nothing prevents from associating to him an additional length of greenhouse used as in the first model, the built part being used as refuge in the event of excess of heat or cold, and protection against freezing for the hydraulic equipment (sink, shower).
In horticultural use, the polyethylene covers treated anti-UV lose their optical properties with the wire of time and must be replaced the every 4 to 5 years, but their mechanical resistance is maintained much longer, undoubtedly more than ten years.
In the event of not-connection with the drinkable water supply network, one can resort temporarily to mineral water out of bottle, which makes quantity of people connected but dissatisfied of the quality of the water of the network, or with water of well or suitably filtered rain.
The management of the human excrements by the means of toilets with compost (toilets with litter or toilets with composting interns) is an at the same time simple, sure thing and very good market, and it is also the case of the gray water treatment (relatively not very abundant in this type of habitat), by bed of infiltration or planted filter.
Except particular case, the concern of preserving the landscape is not an obstacle with the installation of horticultural greenhouses with an aim of production, it does not have there reason that this argument is opposed to us when it is a question of placing people on the place of their work, the more so as these low buildings are rather easy to blur with bundles of straw or climbing plants.

Pierre Besse 06/01/05
















 To close

 Archilibre: Reception / Menu