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FAQs

Questions:

Answers:

  • Are floating homes an effective solution to flooding issues?

    The floods of summer 2007 saw the largest loss of essential services since the Second World War with almost half a million people without mains water or electricity, 55,000 properties flooded, around 7,000 people rescued by emergency services and 13 people dead.

    In 2006, the about of new dwellings located in areas of high flood risk rose by 10% and is rising year on year. This is 16,000 dwellings.  The amount of land allocated for residential use in a flood risk area increased by 7% in 2006 and is rising year on year.

    DEFRA has published 'Making Space for Water' to be implemented across all Government policies aimed at reducing the threat to people and their property by managing the risks from flooding.  Floating homes are a tried and tested means of effectively combating this issue, with a number of different technologies and solutions available to respond to varying degrees of levels and frequency of flooding.

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  • What are the Government targets for net-zero carbon homes?

    The Government has set as a target the aim of all new housing built in 2016 to be net-zero carbon (level 6 of the Code for Sustainable Homes).

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  • What does DEFRA stand for?

    DEFRA is the Department of the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs.

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  • What eco-features can floating buildings offer?

    1. GEOTHERMAL HEAT

    • a proven technology
    • very efficient

    2. INSULATION

    • complies with strict standards
    • insulation in the roofing
    • insulation in the external walls
    • highly energy efficient glazing
    • low cost

    3. SOLAR PANELS

    In many designs, the combination of Solar Power and a Heat Pump creates potential for a ZERO energy structure.

    4. CONSCIENTIOUS DESIGN & MATERIALS

    • no chemically treated timber
    • renewable or recyclable choices
    • safe hull paints

    5. It can all be towed away when you are finished with it.

    If required, removal of floating units is easy and leaves the water the units occupied, completely without trace.

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  • Can floating homes be 'affordable'?

    Yes.  We have units which will satisfy the government's current guidelines on 'Affordable' housing and several  additional 'standard' designs are near completion. 

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  • Do they depreciate, like boats usually do?

    Far from it! Although nobody really knows, as living in communities on water is an entirely new concept in the UK, we believe that as the concept catches on the demand for waterborne living will always exceed the rate at which new developments can be created and therefore prices can be expected to increase.

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  • What is the cost of a floating home and could it be seen as a good long term investment?

    The price of a floating home will vary according to its size, location and specification, in exactly the same way that land based houses do.  Although a model like the one we have brought into the marina in Liverpool would cost in excess of £300,000, the range is likely to be from around £100,000 for a single bedroom unit up to £500,000 for a penthouse style version in a premium location.

    As to whether floating homes will be a good long term investment, one only has to look at the apartment market, where prices rose meteorically fuelled by demand from buy-to-let investors, but crashed as a result of oversupply aided by the banking crisis.  We believe that public realisation that living on water is achievable, will grow at a much faster rate than the supply of opportunities to do so can be created which will lead to demand vastly exceeding supply which in turn will lead to price rising faster and more consistently than for comparable land based properties.

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  • Are floating homes the solution to problems facing other developers?

    We don't see floating homes as any sort of panacea, although they have an obvious contribution to make in relation to the threat of flooding as they are flood proof.  The recognition of 'bluefield' land could also help to take the pressure off the Green Belt and many could also validly be classified as 'brownfield'.

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  • Do you live on a floating home yourself?

    I have yet to live on one of our modern products, but watch this space as we are in the process of importing our very own floating office and show house to the UK.  Living or working on a modern floating home is like staying in a penthouse or boutique hotel, with all mod cons, a vast open sundeck and calming water /nature all around.  It is truly living the dream and we are excited this dream will come true for us in the very near future.

    The following is a variation on the type of statement that we hear very often:- "Everyone at the office is amazed with your designs, myself included and have viewed your web site – we all want one!"  Paul McIntyre, Architectural Manager, Powerwall Systems Limited.

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  • How long is it between placing an order and delivery?

    The timescale for delivery of single, off-the-peg models is around four months.  However, as our developments get off the ground, we are currently able to produce one model per month for each production line. We are also always looking at ways to maintain quality whilst cutting production time and costs so watch this space.

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  • How popular are floating homes in the UK?

    Interest in Floating Homes in the UK is growing at a phenomenal pace.  It grows in relation to the increase in public awarenes and we have a number of very different developments on stream for later this year, which we expect to raise the bar on public awareness even further.  As interest will rise faster than the rate at which the floating developments can be created, the inevitable result will be exceptional capital growth for both the owner-occupier and the investor.

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  • What are the benefits of living on water?

    Here are just a few which come to mind:

    1. Peace and tranquility

    2. Wonderful external deck space

    3. Exclusivity

    4. Value growth potential

    5. Eco friendly factors: built in heat pumps, provision for solar panels, built to Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes, minimal environmental impact, factory built - both on creation and ultimate demolition, flexibility - the arrangement of buildings can change in response to the dynamics of the community they form.

    6. No lawns to cut!

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  • What are the implications of the project?

    This model will be used as a national showcase to illustrate that contemporary 'houseboat' living is a million miles away from the perception of 'live-aboard' canal boats.  At the same time we shall be progressing our ideas, with British Waterways and the planners, for the introduction of a range of different floating concepts in to the South Docks, perhaps centering initially around the marina.

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  • What is the DEFRA 'Making Space for Water' programme?

    Making Space for Water is a cross Government programme taking forward the development of a new strategy for flood and coastal erosion risk management in England.  In autumn 2004, a three month consultation was held on the development of this new strategy.  This strategy sets out the strategic direction of travel on a number of key issues and outlines the programme of work required to resolve what are some difficult policy issues, and set the policy direction for the next 20 years and beyond.  The aim of this new strategy, taken from the First Response document, is:

    "To manage the risks from flooding and coastal erosion by employing an integrated portfolio of approaches which reflect both national and local priorities, so as:

    1. to reduce the threat to people and their property; and

    2. to deliver the greatest environmental, social and economic benefit, consistent with the Government's sustainable development principles; and

    3. to secure efficient and reliable funding mechanisms that deliver the levels of investment required to achieve the vision of this strategy."

    The MSW programme consists of 25 separate projects, divided into 4 themes:

    1. a holistic approach to managing flood and coastal erosion risk,

    2. achieving sustainable development,

    3. increasing resilience to flooding, and

    4. funding.

    The design and features of floating homes mean that they are compatible with these themes and can provide a meaningful contribution to the means by which DEFRA will achieve their aims.

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  • Why did Floating Concepts choose Liverpool as its first location?

    There were a variety of reasons:

    Firstly because Liverpool achieved a very high national profile as a result of its City of Culture status in 2008.

    Secondly, because the South Docks are already an important and recognised location and tourist destination.

    Thirdly, because the South Docks have the critical mass to offer the space for us to develop a very wide range of different but compatible floating concepts which could further increase the City's reputation as a major tourist destination and we are in active discussions with British Waterways to progress this idea with them.

    Fourthly, the planners in Liverpool, compared to some other authorities are very forward thinking and have encouraged us to develop our ideas.

    And finally, but not least, having a considerable investment already in Liverpool Marina, there are benefits from displaying the unique floating home there which would be a first step in encouraging a more equal distribution of the public to other parts of the South Docks system.

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  • Why did Floating Concepts decide to create a floating home?

    The "SOLO" is one example of a contemporary floating home, which has been designed in a style to be readily compatible with marina and harbour settings, but the variety of design use of individual floating structures is no more limited than it is on land.

    Floating Concepts was formed to develop mixed use communities on water and to promote the idea of 'bluefield' being as valid a development medium as its sisters, 'brownfield' and 'greenfield', each having its own particular constraints.  With 'bluefield' it is clearly one of floatation.

    Floating structures are also likely to become increasingly relevant as global warming and flood risk increases.

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  • Why has Floating Concepts brought this concept to the UK, and why now?

    Our concept of mixed use, sustainable floating communities developed with high quality, purpose built, architecturally designed structures does not exist in the UK and there is an abundance and variety of water opportunities.

    Some people may point out that there are already houseboat communities such as Cheyne Walk, Chelsea and at Shoreham near Brighton, but they just serve to illustrate our point.  The houseboats at Cheyne Walk are all old ship hulls which represent attempts to design a superstructure for something which was never designed to be lived in.  Most of the accommodation is below deck and they are universally unmortgageable.  Shoreham has no provision for foul water drainage and is reminiscent of a naval scrap yard!

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  • Why is it important to regenerate Liverpool's Port and bring investment into the Docks?

    We think that the simple answer to this is that they are two of Liverpool's major assets which should be protected and enhanced in order to stimulate economic activity and job creation.

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  • Will these homes help to regenerate Liverpool's waterways?

    Subject to planning, they and other floating structures could certainly add some impetus to the regeneration of the South Docks, by providing some animation to the existing waterspace and diversity of both residential and commercial property offers.

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  • Can you feel them moving?

    In most cases and weather conditions you will feel absolutely no movement when you are in a floating structure.

    Different manufactures use different methods to secure the units. In the case of Waterliving for example, the units are moored by clamps attached to steel posts at every corner. These clamps allow the building to rise and fall with the water they are in, but ensures they feel absolutely static when you are inside.

    Other companies, such as AquaDomi, recommend the use of the professional mooring system Seaflex. The Seaflex system uses an elastic progressive mooring, which is developed to cope with the tide, which causes the water level to change slowly, but the progressive mooring can also cope with sudden waves from passing boats. As to this, you won't feel that you live waterborne.

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  • Do the buildings have mains services - eg how is foul drainage dealt with?

    Where mains drainage is available near by, foul water is pumped automatically to it, otherwise a treatment plant can be installed in the hull which purifies the fluids whilst the inoffensive residue can be removed cleanly and efficiently every few months.

    With developments, or clusters of units, a single treatment plant is concealed beneath an amenity deck, which serves everyone.

    For gas, electric, broadband etc, the arrangements are exactly the same as on land, whereby houses and buildings are connected to the mains at the nearest available point, and they can be carried beneath any bridges or floating pontoon roadways.

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  • How are the floating homes and buildings transported?

    The majority of our units will be manufactured in the UK or Europe and transported by road whenever possible in modular or flat packed form.  Imported models, such as the first Waterliving luxury floating home to the UK, which is due to be transported imminently will come 'ready made' by cargo vessel, probably to Liverpool, from where it can be tugged into its new berth.  However, in the very near future, all Waterliving models will be transported in modular or flat packed form.

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  • What is a floating home?

    A "Floating Home" is a legally-permitted structure, with no means of self-propulsion, which occupies a permanent berth and is subject to property/council taxes.  It complies with all applicable codes and building regulations and is connected to all utilities and services, including water, sewage, electricity, gas, telephone, broadband and cable television.  It is very similar therefore to a traditional home, with the main difference being that rather than sitting on a foundation of land, it sits on a foundation of water.  It is securely moored and very stable - in fact you hardly ever feel movement at all.  They tend to use innovative and sensitive design, making them spacious, light and affording wonderful views through large windows/french doors onto deck areas.

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