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Friday, 9 August, 2002, 09:51 GMT 10:51 UK
Idea floated to beat house shortage
The m-house designed by Tim Pyne
The m-house takes one day to put up
An architect has designed a home with all the usual comforts, but which can be sited anywhere, including on water.

Tim Pyne came up with the idea of the "m-house" or mobile house, when he could not get planning permission or insurance to build a permanent home in an area liable to flooding.

Now he thinks it could be the answer to the spiralling house prices and chronic land shortage around London.

The m-house costs about 145,000 and can be erected on dry land or on floating pontoons on waterways, such as London's docklands.

Floating home

Mr Pyne says a flat the same size in the same area would cost up to 435,000.

The house is legally classified as a caravan, so there is no stamp duty or VAT for new homeowners to pay.

Mr Pyne came up with the idea after spotting a piece of land on which he wanted to build next to the River Crouch near Burnham in Essex.

Mobile

Because of the flooding problem, he was told he could only get planning permission for a caravan structure.

It had to be mobile, erected in no more than two pieces and no bigger than 18 metres by six metres.

Mr Pyne, who lives on a houseboat on the River Thames, decided to design the house himself.

"I designed a house on wheels then realised it would be simple enough to make it float," he said.

Central heating

"And I suddenly realised we have got all these redeveloped docks and waterways which are all being under used."

Each m-house, made of timber and aluminium, takes six weeks to manufacture and one day to put up.

It is made to full housing regulations and includes under-floor central heating.

It has the same life span as modern built houses.

He is now running his own design practice and is showing his house at the 100% Design conference at Earl's Court in London from 26-29 September.

See also:

08 Aug 02 | Business
06 Aug 02 | Business
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