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ModulusTech: Affordable, Flat-Pack, Modular Homes.

We intend to provide affordable housing solutions with adequate living conditions, to the millions of displaced people around the globe.

Photo of Modulus Tech

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*Please Upload User Experience Map (as attachment) and any additional Beneficiary Feedback in this field

Explain your project idea in two sentences.

ModulusTech builds affordable houses for displaced people that can be flat-packed, transported anywhere and can be setup in 3 hours using a DIY approach, while providing comforts of a normal house.

What is your organization name? Explain your organization in one sentence.

Modulustech; ModulusTech builds affordable, flat-packed housing solutions for displaced people.

Is this project idea new for you or your organization? If no, how much have you already executed on?

We have worked for 1 year and 5 months on this idea. We carried out extensive literature review and on-field interviews to identify the problems faced in temporary houses used currently. Thereafter, we designed and built a full-scale prototype as a test case. The idea is further validated by NGOs.

What is the problem you aim to solve with this idea? How would you define this problem as urgent and a priority in your target community?

We intend to solve the housing shortages and inadequate living conditions existing in current shelters for over 65 million people displaced globally. For now we can start with flood affected IDPs from Pakistan. Without proper housing there are fears of increased socio-economic problems to follow.

What is the timeline for your project idea? What are the key steps for implementation in the next 1-3 years?

The next step that we have identified is pilot testing, we intend to donate houses to locally displaced people in Pakistan. This can help us receive the necessary feedback regarding human comfort & weather resistance. Considering the feedback we will make the necessary changes to improve on any short comings. After that we intend to set-up a manufacturing plant so that the cost can be brought down even more and we can make a number of these houses to meet the local and international demand.

Describe the individual or team that will implement this idea (if a partnership, please explain breakdown of responsibility).

ModulusTech is a startup that is the brainchild of 3 young civil engineers. Nabeel Siddiqui is responsible for strategic vision, finances and day to day operations. Yaseen Khalid is responsible for the supply chain, logistics and outreach. Muhammad Saquib is responsible for design and technology.

What do you need the most support with in this project idea?

  • Exposure

What is your primary goal over the next 6 weeks of Refinement?

  • Get feedback from experts

How do you currently measure (or plan to measure) results for this project?

We intend to measure the results through feedback from the end-users, i.e. the basic impact our houses will have on the affected people's lives. For example, the change in living standards, quality of life, privacy and security levels will have a notable impact on their emotional wellbeing, economic status and their usefulness to society. If our houses can provide hope and adequate living conditions to the occupants, and they feel dignified to live in such houses, that would be our success!

How has your project proposal changed due to your user research during the Beneficiary Feedback Phase?

After the feedback from relevant organizations and people working in this sector, we have deduced that the roof design needs to be improved by increasing the slope. As the current prototype wouldn't discharge the rain or snow properly. Moreover, we were given the idea of micro-financing our projects and using anodized screws in the houses as the current screws aren't as durable.

(Optional) What are some of your still unanswered questions or concerns about this idea?

We have validated the idea locally, and from some international organizations as well. However, we still have to figure out that if international organization be willing to procure these houses from another country as it may add taxes and duty. Another question that keeps on arising is regarding the government policy of various refugee hosting countries. As some governments would want the refugees to leave, hence, provide them with minimal comfort and facilities.

During this Improve Phase, please use the space below to add any additional information to your proposal.

ModulusTech aims on applying technological advancements to revolutionize the low-cost housing sector for displaced and homeless people. The way it works is through an innovative flat-packed house design that can be assembled in as little as 3 hours by 3 workers using simple hand tools. Its flat-pack nature allows 8 of such houses to be transported in a 40 feet container. While the modular construction allows the merger of multiple houses to be easily customized for various uses. The house also comes with all electrical and plumbing utilities included. Hence, the structure is ready for use as soon as it is assembled. Once assembled, the houses offer complete privacy with hygienic conditions to its inhabitants. This ensures that the inhabitants are provided with security, minimizing the social problems and epidemics that are prevalent in shelters and camps globally.

Implementing the solution would enable humanitarian and government organizations to be able to provide housing to the millions of refugees and displaced people in the shortest time. It would allow disaster management authorities throughout the world to build and provide shelters at a quick notice. These portable houses can be reused and transported easily to different sites, making them perfect for short term rehabilitation as well.

Product Design and Innovation

 The solution that ModulusTech provides is different in the sense that proper houses with modern utilities can be easily assembled in as little as 3 hours, a time lower than other alternatives. The easy assembly also allows any unskilled person to assemble the houses with a Do-It-Yourself methodology. Moreover, the houses offer exceptional affordability which is complemented by their flat-packed design and quick assembly times, that helps reduce transport and labor costs, respectively.

With all the features that the design offers, the houses follow International Building Code 2015, hence, ensuring a good standard of living for the occupants. Another aspect was achieved by making the structure energy efficient in terms of electricity consumption and human thermal comfort. To make the structure energy efficient and sustainable, various passive strategies were employed in the design and construction phases. Some of which are:

  • a white exterior that reflects the most heat coming from the sun
  • use of insulating building materials and air spaces in walls
  • window sizing for ventilation, and ample natural light during daytime
  • heat resistant doors and windows
  • air tight design, helps maintain indoor temperature
  • Solar geometry tests, to ensure more sunlight in winters and less in summers, to            achieve moderate indoor temperatures.


Moreover, the design was made keeping sustainability and the environmental impacts in mind. The materials used are recyclable and have a low carbon footprint. Special consideration has been given to the availability of materials so that there is no hindrance in scalability of this product globally and less transportation is needed to set up these structures in vulnerable locations. Therefore, the materials used are common and widely available around the world.


Opportunity Areas

ModulusTech is a for-profit organization working to solve global housing problem through its one of a kind flat-pack modular home technology. The organization has identified its major revenue stream from commercial and manufacturing sector. However the idea was based on the plight of refugees and displaced people, therefore ModulusTech intends to cater this market on minimum profit margins.

The project bridges all the three opportunity areas of Peace Prosperity and Planet. It has been witnessed that the host nations where immigrants are welcomed and provided with necessities integrate in the local society better and in future turn out to be useful assets for the nations. We have few examples in Hamdi Ullukaya, Freddie Mercury and Albert Einstein. The provision of better shelters to the refugees in the host nations gives them a sense of acceptance and improves the relations and gives rise to peace between host nation and refugees as was seen in Canada recently. 

The displaced population is usually worried about the basic necessities, when they are on the run. Provision of safe shelters with adequate living conditions, proper security and privacy can remove their need to worry about these matters and they can easily go out and search for jobs to play their part in the local economy as well as earn money for themselves and prosper.

As mentioned earlier, the structures have been designed keeping in mind the energy efficiency and sustainability. All the materials that are been used are environmental friendly and recyclable. The design has also been optimized to reduce wastage to minimum, to promote efficient manufacturing. Hence, we're building bridges helping the planet, as well as, peace and prosperity.

The company's official website is: www.modulus-tech.com.

Recent publication in a local tech page.

Interview by Express Tribune Pakistan.

Explain your idea

One in every 122 humans is now either a refugee, internally displaced, or seeking asylum (United Nations, 2015). More than 100 million people were estimated homeless in 2005 (United Nations, 2005) and around 1.6 billion lack adequate housing today (Habitat, 2015). Additionally, a large portion of the urban population is already living in slums and the increasing housing gap is an indicator of more socioeconomic problems to come. A major problem after any disaster or political unrest is the proper facilitation of refugees, which is challenging for any state due to the large influx of people in a short amount of time. Hence, refugees are forced to live in camps and shelters with poor living conditions and inadequate safety from environmental factors. Such conditions along with insufficient sanitation causes diseases and epidemics. The crux of the matter is that only a small percentage of these refugees go back to their homes and are dependent on the host countries for their rehabilitation. ModulusTech aims to tackle these problems by applying technological advancements to revolutionize the low-cost housing sector for displaced and homeless people. The way it works is through an innovative flat-packed house design that can be assembled in as little as 3 hours by 3 workers using simple hand tools. Its flat-pack nature allows 8 of such houses to be transported in a 40 feet container. While the modular construction allows the merger of multiple houses to be easily customized for various uses. The house also comes with all electrical and plumbing utilities included. Hence, the structure is ready for use as soon as it is assembled. Once assembled, the houses offer complete privacy with hygienic conditions to its inhabitants. This ensures that the inhabitants are provided with security, minimizing the social problems and epidemics that are prevalent in shelters and camps globally. Implementing the solution would enable humanitarian and government organizations to be able to provide housing to the millions of refugees and displaced people in the shortest time. It would allow disaster management authorities throughout the world to build and provide shelters at a quick notice. These portable houses can be reused and transported easily to different sites, making them perfect for short term rehabilitation as well. The solution, that ModulusTech provides is different in the sense that proper houses with modern utilities can be easily assembled in as little as 3 hours, a time lower than other alternatives. The easy of assembly also allows any unskilled person to assemble the houses with a Do-It-Yourself methodology. Moreover, the houses offer exceptional affordability which is complemented by their flat-packed design and quick assembly times, that helps reduce transport and labor costs, respectively. These houses are designed to withstand up to 90 mph wind loads as well as sufficient seismic loads and flood resistance with a minimum lifespan of 20 years.

Who Benefits?

The main beneficiaries of this innovation will be the displaced people around the world, whether they are refugees, internally displaced or affected by natural disasters. The innovation will also have a great impact on the lives of 100 million homeless people and the 1.6 billion people living in poor conditions globally (UN Habitat, 2015). Moreover, organizations and governments helping refugees can provide affordable houses to such families, where they can live with dignity and have security, privacy and comfort. It will help to ease the path of integration of the incoming refugees in the local community. In case of any disaster these houses can be deployed to allow for immediate rehabilitation to save the effected population from harsh climates and epidemics. The governments can also subsidize these houses for the families living under the poverty line to provide them with a better living conditions, to raise the standard of communities.

How is your idea unique?

There are a lot of substitute products that are already being used in to provide shelters to the displaced people. IKEA has already launched its flat pack shelters, that are being used to house refugees in various areas. These shelters enjoy competitive advantage over all the other substitute products, however has a usage life of only 3 years. There is a need to look into more durable products that can be used for permanent rehabilitation of displaced people or resettlement in native towns once the disaster is over. Our solution shares the same basic idea, however we want to offer a more permanent solution with adequate living conditions and all the modern utilities included within, which is a different approach from Better shelter. Our team's core expertise in Construction Engineering and management along with skills in building information modeling allow us to iterate and research further with different materials and methods to cut down on manufacturing time as well as costs.

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Piloting: I have started to implement my solution as a whole with a first set of real users.

Tell us more about you

The company is currently run by its three founding members from Karachi, Pakistan. The members share their work space, enabling them to discuss new ideas and solve challenges as a team. A great emphasis is given to learning and self-development of individuals, with the aim that a wider knowledge base would also help the project in the future. The roles and responsibilities are divided according to the expertise of members as follows. Nabeel Siddiqui: Nabeel is responsible for looking after the structural and architectural design of the product, management of the project and formulating strategy. Yaseen Khalid: Yaseen is responsible for market research, procurement and developing relations with potential partners. M. Saquib: Saquib is responsible for product improvement with his expertise in Building Information Modelling (BIM) and simulation of the structure's performance that helps cut down costs and time. As the project grows we intend to hire professionals and labor who have had first-hand experience with the problems that we are trying to solve. This would essentially help improve their lives and help us create a better product. In the future, we intend to have different training sessions, to further improve on specific skill sets required for the project. ModulusTech team is currently incubated at "The Nest I/o", Pakistan's largest tech incubator backed by Google and Samsung. All of the co-founders have been working on this idea for more than a year now and are fully committed to the cause. Future collaborations can ideally be with organizations like the UNHCR and IOM.

Expertise in sector

  • 1-2 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered company.

26 comments

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Photo of akeukereke ibrahim
Team

Great concept.

however I will love to know how durable is the modular homes?
How can the modular home be preserve when refugees return home and their camps being close down?
What is the cost of maintaining the modular home?

Thank You.

Photo of Reuben Posner
Team

i agree; great concept, but I wonder about how you balance durability with the possibility of leaving behind tremendous waste once refugees are able to either return home or resettle somewhere else more permanently.

Photo of akeukereke ibrahim
Team

Sure and this is where the idea and question about preservation and maintenance comes in.

Photo of Modulus Tech
Team

Thank you Ibrahim,

These houses are designed to withstand up to 90 mph wind loads as well as sufficient seismic loads. The minimum lifespan of these homes is 15 years and even after that time, they will be usable with just little maintenance. The total cost of these homes is around 2500 dollars for 230 square foot area. The maintenance cost will be around $100 a year subject to fair usage.

Photo of Modulus Tech
Team

One of the advantages of these houses are that they are portable and reusable, therefore these structure can be dis assembled and transported to different area or can be stored to be used for disaster responses in the future.

Photo of Reuben Posner
Team

awesome.

Photo of akeukereke ibrahim
Team

Awesome, I appreciate you idea, and I welcome you to read to mine too and give me you honest input. The title of my project is (Nutri-Life-Set: Healthy life:; for richer and poorer).

I noticed that part of the materials to be use for the construction of modular house are metals (iron)? If so, hope it wouldn't be a high conductor of heat for people in a high temperature camp?

Thanks

Photo of Modulus Tech
Team

The metal is used for sustaining the strong loads, it is only a metal frame which is covered by insulating wall panels and roofing. Hence, there is a minimum effect of heat conductivity.

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