Habiflex: synergy for innovative construction
To meet high demand for housing in the Vendée region of France, Saint-Gobain worked with 'Action logement', the national association for housing, and local building company LECO to develop prefabricated, modular homes. This collaboration resulted in homes being built in record time.
Jobs but not enough housing. This is the difficult equation that the town of Chanverrie, in the Vendée region of France – where the unemployment rate is only about 4%, but where the rental situation is particularly tense – is trying to solve.
In order to attract workers to the area, which is made up of industries, SMEs and farms, the Habiflex operation was launched by Action Logement and its local subsidiary Podeliha. The objective of this new concept in construction programming, unprecedented in France, is to considerably reduce construction and housing allocation times.
And it works! In just a few months, twenty two-bedroom homes of approximately 65 m² were erected and installed on a vacant lot in the commune of Chanverrie. Compliant with the RE2020 environmental regulations, they are modular and movable. With planning permission filed at the end of February 2022, the units were completed at the end of October of the same year! Habiflex was able to meet an urgent need to attract workers to the area and house them.
LECO has put its expertise in wood-frame structures, assembled in workshops, to good use upstream of the construction site. Saint-Gobain Solutions France supported the company in optimizing prefabrication techniques and product selection, and helped simplify industrial logistics, which is crucial on a project of this scale.
It was also critical to the project that the housing could be moved to another site in the future. The number of product references was reduced to a minimum and the entire design focused on saving energy, from the infrastructures (foundations, water, electricity and sewage networks) to the modular wood-frame structures.
The industrial brands Placo®, Isover, and Glass, as well as the Saint-Gobain Distribution Bâtiment France brands, ensured that this unique project was a success. With this first positive experience, Action logement is hoping to extend the Habiflex program to the whole of mainland France and its overseas territories.