Container homes could be an affordable abode for Seychelles' residents
(Seychelles News Agency) - Although authorities in Seychelles continue to develop housing programmes, meeting the demand for affordable houses still remains a challenge in the island nation.
A container home could be one affordable option, according to First Choice Realty, which is managed by Richard Ernestine and located at Providence on the eastern side of Mahe. A basic unit costs about $7,000 (90,000 Seychelles Rupees).
Ernestine told SNA that unlike what is locally available, the container home initiative was to meet the high demand in low cost housing in Seychelles, a group 115 islands.
“As available land becomes scarce and pricing in construction materials goes up, this alternate facility will soon invade the turf in housing model and become the next logical step for potential home buyers,” said Ernestine.
|With land becoming scarce, a container home can be another option (Richard Ernestine) Photo License: CC-BY|
The chief executive of the Seychelles Planning Authority, Joseph Francois, said that the government encourages the use of container homes as long as owners follow the right procedures for approval from the authority.
“Government believes that a container home is a viable option especially for people with a low budget. Seychelles is slowly becoming too small and land is scarce. Therefore, with the little space needed to build container homes, it will reduce the pressure and demand to acquire huge piece of land in the future when it picks up,” Francois said.
The chief executive said the home should be well maintained so as not to become an eyesore.
The popularity of container homes has grown and now are seen as an actual livable home.
"They are an ideal solution for any on field housing. It can be turned into an office and is more suitable to better protect your food and furniture from rodents, insects and humidity," Ernestine added.
|On designing the house, Ernestine takes careful measures to ensure that it is structurally sound (Richard Ernestine) Photo License: CC-BY|
Although the idea may not meet common size expectation, a quick look inside a container homes shows the many options available. A finished container is normally organised as open plan bedsitter with a contemporary twist and is fully furnished with modern conveniences. It can also be tailored to the buyer’s taste.
“On designing the house, careful measures are taken to ensure that it is structurally sound. If the idea of seeing your cook top, shower and toilet immediately upon waking up does not bode well with your taste, you can ask to have walls installed to separate the area. But this has extra cost,” said Ernestine.
The cost of a basic unit includes furnishings and transportation to the site where the final work is done. However, people who are planning to expand or have a large family are not advised to purchase the basic container home. It can only accommodate up to two persons.
As per the procedure for all housing application, buyers have to seek the approval of the Seychelles Planning Authority.
“When this is done, you can place your order and we will do the needful for you to get your house in no more than three months time. But the client has to make a 50 percent deposit. Normally it takes one week to fully assemble the container home in the workshop,” Ernestine said.
|Ernestine said he feels that there is much more potential for this business in Seychelles if the country is serious about the benefit of sustainable development. (Richard Ernestine) Photo License: CC-BY|
Although the weather can be quite hot in Seychelles, Ernestine said insulation will ensure a "cozy and comfortable internal environment." It's also possible to install air conditioning.
Dominique Adeline, residing at Baie Lazare, told SNA that he wanted the design of a small country house. He got in touch with Ernestine who designed a basic but spacious container home for him.
The home is built into the hillside to take advantage of the natural terrain and provide a gorgeous view.
“I have always dreamed of living in a shipping container home and I have been modeling and creating designs for container homes for as long as I can remember,” Adeline said. “The one I purchased is very cozy and suitable for my lifestyle.”
He added that, “I thoroughly researched prior to embarking on my first container home so I’m not sure there’s anything I wish I knew that I didn’t.”
Ernestine said he feels that there is much more potential for this business in Seychelles if the country is serious about the benefit of sustainable development.