The IKEA flatpack home…


                                                                             I have a strong interest in flat pack, modular homes and how these may be able to help first time buyers get their foot onto the property ladder. So to start the design process I have been researching into flat pack, pre-fabricated residential design solutions.

So with IKEA being known for its flat pack furniture is it any surprise that they have tried to tackle this issue?

IKEA launched this idea called BoKlocks towards the end of 2006 in Gateshead and they joined forces with development company ‘Live smart at home’ to enable the development. The properties were aimed directly at first time buyers with a household income of £15,000 – £35,000 per annum. These properties where available for sale, rent or a shared ownership basis, but in the sale contract it was discouraged that they were bought as a development project or to investors. They were also aimed at the local people of Gateshead that we’re looking to buy and stay in the area. They aimed the properties highly at first time buyers and stated they should not be already be on the property ladder. Alan Prole, Managing Director for Live smart at home stated to the Daily Mail that ‘It’s all about the community; We were not in the business of throwing up housing to be sold to the highest bidder,’ (Daily Mail 30th January 2009). The houses were put on the market at the local IKEA store where applicants had to go in and let their interest in the properties be known. If there was a high demand for the properties IKEA was planning on a lottery style decision process completed by an independent scrutineer.

 The homes are not of the traditional standard and have also been built to a high quality. They have flexible open plan layouts enabling people to adapt them to their families needs. They also emphasise the feeling of space and are built with a contemporary feel. Ikea don’t just stop at the house as they have also supplied the interior products including the kitchens and each home owner also receives £250 of Ikea vouchers to help with furnishing costs.

I like the idea of Ikea flat pack housing and think this will impact the housing industry heavily in the future. The building process is quicker than the traditional bricks and mortar, and is also very cost-effective which helps the homes be more affordable. Not only do I like the style and project I also like the market pitch and potential. I believe myself that getting your foot on the property market is one of the hardest things you will face in your life and that more schemes such as this one need to be made available. Making the properties available for local people also appeals to me as I believe this is a key issue especially in rural areas where property prices are exceedingly high. First time buyers are after more than they where 10years ago and projects like this still help make their dreams reality.

 I like this idea and feel that they have tried to tackle several of the issues within the residential sector these being; adaptable, affordable, ecological and supporting the first time buyer. But since this development in Gateshead which was completed in 2009, nearly 2 years ago we haven’t heard much from the flat pack store turned property developers, so has this idea fallen flat?


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