Modular units, also to our low-energy standards, host management offices, local ICT and catering for all the staff.
The workshop and inventory is on the site, in a temporary structure, with specialised machinery that prepares all modular elements.
All pre-cut materials are brought to each house on light carts on rails, avoiding any heavy vehicle disturbing the surrounding grounds. From stock to final assembly, each element is serialised and tracked, enabling precise real-time monitoring of work progress.
We aslo use a few containers for some very specific processes that don't need immediate proximity to the house being built, and some autonomous machines on light trailers.
An excavator digs a hole in the precise shape and place of the future house.
Position and dimensions are defined and monitored by our dGPS and laser-grid positioning system linked to the design software.
Immediately after the excavation is done, peripheral scaffoldings are erected, bearing a tent system that provides a weather-tight enclosed space that results in a reliable working environment. This makes us independent of weather variations and allows us to build in a logical sequence.
We benefit from appropriate lighting, temperature, humidity and ventilation and also easily contain the very few sources of waste and emissions.
Rails are fixed in known position, motorised-projectors of our design run on those rails to apply gunite directly on the excavation's flanks and bottom.
The same motorised-projectors carrying another specialised application gun pours the bottom insulation envelope layer.
These machines have also been designed in-house since 1976, and our last generation features a uniquely optimised energy usage, using 50 to 80% less energy than the industry "leaders".
A very thick slab of concrete, with low cement ratio and reinforcement fibers is cast in the casing-like shape provided by the insulation layer.
We will later fix the fluid exchange tubes and cover it with a liquid-poured screed. Later still the desired finishing material will be placed on the screed.
This important mass is the main source of heat inertia (freshness in summer).
A wooden framework is assembled from pre-cut elements, avoiding any measurement or adjustment on site.
The pre-cut interior panels are then attached to the framework. The specially designed window frames are placed in their final position.
All networks and services for electricity, lighting, water, sanitation, ventilation, etc. are installed: terminals are fixed on the inside, and pre-assembled networks wires, cables and tubes are placed from the outside that is still completely accessible.
The monolithic insulating shell of the insulation wall is now applied in place as a continuous envelope, liaising with the under-slab insulation and incapsulating all the house up to the rooftop.
We use our own design of devices on rails which guide the pouring and spraying guns, ensuring the thickness and continuity of the wall.
If the final outside finish is of cladding type, the application device holds the fixture profiles in place while they are imbedded in the wall material, therefore held without any direct links to the underlying framework
Our organisation development of these processes was initiated in the 1980s, inspired amongst others from some Ikea concepts, from visiting the Skanska factory (biggest swedish pre-fab house builder), the Volvo Kalmar factory and its then newly implemented Team Assembly, and learning from the Toyota Production System and Eliyahu Goldratt's Theory of Constrains.
The last step in the process is the outside finish. In case of cladding, in wood, panels, corrugated metal, etc., it is fixed to the semi-embedded profiles.
The roofs are similarly handled, most usually with tiles or stones, on semi-embedded wood structures. The underlaying wall envelope provides a totally waterproof sub-roofing surface allowing any roof mounted devices (ie. solar panels) without bothering about complex seams and flashings
In case of rendering, it is applied with fiber or metallic net reinforcement. The final aspect can include every existing texture and color. Our existing works show that the final wall resists being attacked with a 3 kg sledgehammer.
We have also extensively provided with natural materials or the like, reaching now more than 24 years of weathering.