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22nd Century Housing Repairs ~ A glimpse into the future

- a personal view by Chris Potter Director UNICLASS, ROCC

What will the social housing repairs service look like in the future?  This article is a personal series of blogs, some very real probables and some a bit more fanciful , looking at what a 22nd Century repairs service would look like and covering different aspects such as; the housing stock, transportation and scheduling, the housing environment and the operative of the future.

So let’s start with the housing stock.

The housing stock

22nd_century_housing_blog_1.jpgHousing stock will be more diverse and ECO dwellings will co-exist alongside legacy properties which will be well over a hundred years old and will present different challenges to the workforce.  The ever present drive(or cycle) towards eco- friendly solutions will surely see increasing political emphasis on ECO homes.

Some of features of the ECO home shown above include an “upside-down” roof that hides a bunch of solar arrays in addition to the ability of capturing rainwater meant for irrigating the garden’s native plants. Apart from that, there is a special system that treats gravy water from the washing machine with chlorine and ultraviolet light, where it will then be used to flush the home’s dual-tank toilets!

A trio of geothermal wells located underneath the home will stash away warm water (which in turn has been heated partly by the rooftop panels), where it will then circulate this water to the house for heating and cooling purposes.A triple-coat glaze on the glass will offer more than double the thermal resistance of standard double-paned glass, while honeycombed shades ensure more heat is retained – perfect for lowering your heating bills in the winter.

The emphasis will change from reactive repairs to a pro-active and pre-planning approach. The ECO house will be constructed using recyclable, smart materials such as smart concrete which will require little or no maintenance.

Smart concrete will heal its own cracks

22nd_century_housing_blog_2.jpgConcrete is a core building material. But even concrete starts to crumble when it comes face-to-face with water, wind, stress and pressure. The current method of dealing with structural instability in concrete has been to replace or repair it. But what if all you had to do was add a little water? A new type of smart concrete shown above contains dormant bacteria spores and calcium lactate in self-contained pods. When these pods come into contact with water they create limestone filling up the cracks and reinforcing the concrete. Self healing concrete is estimated to save up to 50% of the lifetime costs by eliminating the need for repair. Smart concrete is still being tested to determine how long the bacteria sustains itself, but researchers are hopeful they will be able to officially introduce smart concrete to the construction industry very soon.

The housing stock of tomorrow will be computer controlled, carbon zero, solar powered and have no heating. Less will need maintaining, problems will be self diagnosing and either fixed remotely or during an annual service. So are the Repairs professionals of the future destined to be in Call Centres or Fix Centres following repair diagnostics from diagnosis to the repair itself?

So Self regulating, self-healing, self maintaining homes admittedly amidst the legacy homes of centuries will cheerfully co-exist requiring different repair regimes and processes. I know the worry is that as we become ever more computerised the actual ability to fix becomes more elusive. When my car decided to retire itself prematurely on the M25 recently the trusty AA Man said that he was basically a towing and tyre business these days the rest is about computers. Could there be 2 repairs teams in the future legacy skilled tradesman and new technicians? That’s for future blogs.

In the next blog we will look at transportation and scheduling

© Chris Potter, 2015

About Chris

meet_the_team_chris_potter_on.jpgChris has worked in the Software and Housing market for over 30 years.

Posted Thursday, May 28th, 2015 by Chris Potter

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