Modul8 was built in Gauteng in a controlled environment & then transported to Lesotho & placed on a prepared soil platform. A steel ring beam at the top & bottom, together with square steel posts act as a rigid frame which can be picked up from the top to load on a truck, transport to site & dropped off on a pre-prepared foundation.
150dia Round Tubular Steel columns with 32dia tubular steel cross bracing was selected for the foundations. The columns were prepared (manufactured) in the factory off-site, and the bolted to a rock plate covering the entire stand, with 4 of M16 threaded rods, fastened to the rock plate with epoxy which can harden under water.
The roof structure was also pre-manufactured in the factory in Gauteng, complete with double glazing & lifting brackets, in order to have minimal work to be done in the harsh weather conditions on site. The roof structure was placed on the Modul8 units by the same crane mounted on the truck horse, after which the 90mm thick PU foam SIPs were placed on the frames on site as an all-in-one roof covering, ceiling & insulation. A neat rectangular angle serves as finishing to the edges of the roof SIPs as well as drip to the lower end of the roof.
The roof/wall glass & steel structure act a unit & is cross-braced through the use of Structural silicon between the double glazing & steel frame as well as the use of the roof SIPs
A corner niche was also manufactured in the factory in Gauteng, trucked to site together with the Modul8 units & placed in position by the same crane mounted on the horse of the truck. The corner niche can also be picked up from the top and is bolted straight to the corner of the kid’s bedroom.
A cantilever ‘landing’ grid was chosen for the front door, only held in place by hinging it to the short end of the Modul8 bottom ring beam & a 32dia round tube profile ‘arm’ to hold it in the horizontal position. This grid helps to keep mud & snow out of the ski chalet, as mud is dropped through the grid when stepping on it before entering the front door.
Green building rating/ environmental or sustainability considerations
Many environmental & sustainable considerations were employed as are shown in Point 3 & 4 (Please read point 3 & 4 together with this section)
Because the Modul8 units are manufactured off-site, there is no damage to the site or the surroundings during the construction process, as no construction takes place on site accept for the foundations. The foundations are also of a lesser scale as the inherent strength of the Modul8 units and the shipping containers are already built into their structure, needed when transporting the units, thus the foundations do not have to be that strong.
As the building is pre-manufactured off-site & then brought to site, the buildings can also be taken away again & the site can be totally rehabilitated.
As the Modul8 units are modular, materials were optimised to their modular size, resulting in very little to no cutting, resulting in no waste of materials, labour, equipment, tools or time.
All Modul8 units are ‘properly’ insulated, made in a controlled environment with strict quality control procedures and of high-quality materials & finishes, resulting in less heating- & cooling costs, as well as less maintenance
Low maintenance to no maintenance materials were chosen to reduce maintenance costs in the long run, as well as reducing the materials, cleaning & maintaining agents which will go with maintaining a building
Because the Modul8 units are movable (transportable), they can be reused or up-scaled when they have reached the limit of their current use, e.g. if not required as a ski chalet at Afriski anymore, it can be moved to the coast as a beach cabana.
A Modul8 building can be ordered to be totally off-the-grid, as it can contain its own solar/wind/gas power generation and/or water heating mechanisms in order for it to be totally self-sustainable and/or in hard-to-reach and un-serviced locations.
Solar water heating backed up with gas, is used for domestic water heating as well as for hydronic underfloor heating.
The ski chalet is lifted off the ground by placing it on the round tubular steel columns, for a few reasons:
1 There are more than 400 natural water springs on the resort, of which two flow from underneath the position of the ski chalet. By lifting the chalet above the ground, the flow of the water is not restricted to flow downhill and cause damage to the structure.
2 If or when the ski chalet is moved to a new location, for instance as a retirement cabin at the coast, the site can be easily rehabilitated to its original state.
Many years of design, various prototypes, extensive structural-, wind- & fire tests were done to get to the current design model:
Steel, in various forms e.g. Light Gauge Steel Frames, Hot rolled steel & cold rolled steel, galvanized bent plate, SIPs, etc. was chosen for its many positive attributes like strength-to-weight ratio, flexibility, cost-to-strength ration, durability, low maintenance, etc.
Many hours & details went into designing a structure which can be manufactured & assembled in a factory, can be lifted from the top, (instead of through the frame or with belts under the frame), is under 3 tons in weight in order for ‘standard’ truck cranes to lift the Modul8 units onto a truck & off again on site, flexible enough to withstand the current South African (and rest of Africa) road conditions on a truck, and last many decades on site to be even moved again at a later stage.
Modul8 is currently designed to be stacked 3 stories high, but with nominal steel sizes or wall thickness increases, this can be increased to many more stories.
Usually, 1-3 days on site are enough to place the Modul8 units, connect them to each other, waterproof them & connect the services to the units if necessary.
Weight was a major consideration when designing modular units, as well as the lifting method, as both have an influence on the transport of the units: It was thus critical to keep the weight lo, while retaining the strength & flexibility of the units.
Strey Architects paid a lot of attention to designing for the maximum allowed size to fit on a truck withouta police escort, as well as to stick to standard sizes of materials