Where to use WikiHouse


WikiHouse is well suited to temperate climates. It can also be very easily adapted to extreme cold climates by simply adding additional insulation.

In hotter climates it is possible to use WikiHouse, but special attention must be paid to shading, ventilation and the introduction of additional thermal mass to prevent overheating (see staying cool in the Principles of Good Design guide).


WikiHouse is not suited to sites with extreme wind loads. If you are building on such a site you will have to work closely with a structural engineer to optimise your design accordingly.


Needless to say, WikiHouse is only really a suitable solution where there is a reasonably cheap supply of structural plywood or OSB3. We strongly recommend using materials carrying FSC Certification, or another certification that is equivalent or more stringent, to ensure that the wood has been sustainably sourced.


WikiHouse blocks are straightforward to manufacture and assemble, making it especially useful in regions where there is a shortage of skilled construction workers or where construction overheads are very high, like in isolated contexts such as remote islands with a small population. In these areas, workers can be brought in for rapid installation, local workers used, or structures can be self-built by the local community.

In areas where skilled labour is relatively cheap but material costs are high, WikiHouse is unlikely to be cost-competitive.

Topography & flooding

Because it is usually built off the ground, WikiHouse is suitable for sloping sites (Foundations can be elevated or stepped if appropriate) or sites where it is important to avoid hard ground surfaces.

WikiHouse is not suitable for structures that would be wholly or partially underground. It is also not suitable for sites likely to flood up to a level where the timber chassis itself would be in the water.

Site constraints

WikiHouse Skylark is extremely useful for small, constrained sites or sites with difficult access. Its ability to adapt its appearance also makes it useful for sites with tight aesthetic constraints.

However, it may not be suitable if, in order to maximise your use of the site, you would need to create a tapered (or angled) building footprint (see Designing for WikiHouse).

When to use WikiHouse

What types of buildings is WikiHouse suitable for?

WikiHouse is a highly adaptable building system. It may have the word 'house' in its name, but it can actually be used for a whole variety of building types, but there are also some building types that it is not suitable for. At least not yet.

Works well for

  • Detached houses Independent structures with residential live floor loads.
  • Row houses In effect independent structures with a ~100mm gap in between them. Add adequate protection to prevent spread of fire between buildings, and possibly steel struts to brace the houses against each other.
  • Workspaces for example offices or studios, with light live loading requirements. Structures can be disassembled and blocks re-used if commercial needs change.
  • Garden studios  Skylark 200 is perfect for these micro offices, gyms, workshops etc, provided you can keep the height below any planning limits.
  • Temporary exhibition structures Rapid mount and demount makes it perfect for temporary structures. WikiHouse blocks are made to last, so the question is: what to do with the blocks when your display is over? Can they be re-used elsewhere?
  • Inserts  Structures built inside a larger space, including mezzanines, or spaces/enclosures built within existing structures.
  • Rooftop development WikiHouse is lightweight, making it perfect for rooftop buildings, but structures will still need to be securely anchored down.

Works ok for

  • Load-bearing internal walls Internal walls can be assembled very quickly, but you'll need to make allowance for the wonkiness of existing walls, floors and ceilings. Typical, non load-bearing internal partitions are best made the old fashioned way, using timber studs or similar, and fixed into the WikiHouse main frame.
  • Extensions Much faster and easier to build than using traditional methods, but you'll need to be clever to match floor-levels and to connect to the existing building. You'll also need to have a straight and level base for the WikiHouse structure, and also carefully design the way that the extension connects to the old building.
  • Garages Single storey is recommended due to the increased strain on floor beams from light industrial activities. If larger openings, like roller shutter doors are required, some additional strengthening over the opening may be required.
  • Cafes and retail spaces Single storey is perfectly achievable when working within the design parameters for WikiHouse. Due to a higher footfall of people, floor loads at first floor may need reviewing, depending on the capacity of your space, and potentially further strengthening required.

Probably doesn't yet work for

  • Garden sheds There are just much, much cheaper alternatives.
  • Flats It has yet to be proved whether the WikiHouse system provides sufficient acoustic insulation and fire protection between floors to meet the regulation requirements of flats.
  • Buildings with shared (party) walls For the same reason.
  • External alterations WikiHouse is perfectly straight. Most existing buildings are... not.
  • Disaster response shelters WikiHouse is better for building high quality permanent homes than pop-up shelters. If you just need shelter quickly, there are probably cheaper solutions for this. However, if your focus is on rebuilding homes or community buildings after a disaster, WikiHouse could be a great tool. It can also be used to build up local supply chains. Don't just build homes: build livelihoods.
  • Sports halls or large open plan volumes. For this you'll need a system that can afford larger spans.
  • Industrial or heavy commercial uses Because of floor loads and vibrations.

Please do

A tick mark. Means yes, you can do this.

Use it

Most WikiHouse files and information are licensed under a Creative Commons–Sharealike licence, so you are free to use, distribute or modify them, including commercially.

A tick mark. Means yes, you can do this.

Check it

All WikiHouse information is shared 'as is', without warranties or guarantees of any kind. You are responsible for checking it and using it in a safe and responsible way, for example, getting it checked by a structural engineer.

A tick mark. Means yes, you can do this.

Comply with regulations

You are responsible for making sure your project complies with all relevant local regulations, including planning, building codes and health & safety legislation. If in doubt, seek professional advice.

A tick mark. Means yes, you can do this.

Re-share your improvements

If you make any improvements to the system, you must publish your files under the same type of open licence. However, you do not need to publish the plans and specifications for individual projects unless you wish to.

Please do not

A cross. Means no, you can't do this.

Call yourself WikiHouse

Do not call your company, organisation or any marketed product or service 'WikiHouse'. However, you may use the term WikiHouse to talk about the system, and you may describe your project, product, service or organisation as, for example, "using WikiHouse", "based on WikiHouse", "contributing to WikiHouse", or similar.

A cross. Means no, you can't do this.

Remove notices

Do not remove any licence notices from files if you are re-sharing them.

A cross. Means no, you can't do this.

Claim to be endorsed

Do not give the impression that you are endorsed by, or affiliated with WikiHouse or Open Systems Lab (unless you are, by written agreement), and do not claim to represent the WikiHouse project or community as a whole.