All the information and tips provided here are just for guidance. You and your team are responsible for making your own plan, and building your project in a safe way, and complying with all relevant regulations. If you're in the UK, you can find some useful information on the HSE website and the Self Build Portal.
Besides general construction tools, PPE gear, and first aid facilities, WikiHouse construction may require some specific equipment on site. This includes:
Ideally the site will need to be accessible by road or highway to enable a truck or lorry to safely deliver the WikiHouse blocks. If the location is difficult to access it may be possible to use a smaller off-road vehicle for last-mile transport. If you have any queries about this you can speak with the WikiHouse team or your manufacturer.
Your site will need appropriate security fencing, power supply and welfare facilities (for example, access to a WC and rest areas). If you are in the UK, you are responsible for ensuring you meet all requirements of the Construction Design and Management Regulations (CDM 2015).
Excavation, earthmoving, and any soil remediation should be carried out well in advance of delivery of WikiHouse blocks to site. You should also have a level area within or adjacent to the site for the unloading and storage of blocks and other building materials.
One of the big advantages of manufactured building components is that blocks can be delivered just-in-time. This enables a build team to have all the groundworks, foundations, and, in some cases, even the landscaping before any of the chassis parts arrive on site. In fact this is the best way to manage a WikiHouse site and build programme, and it's worthwhile choosing a procurement route that allows for this.
For precision manufactured building systems like WikiHouse it is critical that foundations are installed within the same tight tolerances that the chassis is design for. Most importantly, foundation systems must be precisely level (or within +-2mm vertically) across the building footprint.
Sole plates or bearer rails will need to allow for some tolerance horizontally across the building
Utility connections can be a big cause of delays in the your build programme. Coordinating the installation and connection for mains water, sewage, electricity, fibre broadband, and gas can be a slow and painful task with knock-on effects for the rest of the build. At the design stage it's good if you or your designer can detail a single point of entry and ideally eliminate the need for a gas connection entirely by using greener electrical heating and cooking systems.
The transport and delivery of WikiHouse blocks can usually be arranged directly with your manufacturer to make sure they arrive at the site at the appropriate stage of the build. You may choose to organise delivery in stages based on transport capacity and site storage space. The best timing for the initial delivery is after all foundation work, including chassis rails, are properly installed.
Covered lorries with a soft shell are recommended to protect blocks from the weather and excess moisture during transportation, while making to possible to load and unload from the side and roof. A typical lorry can carry between 30-40m2 internal floor area's worth of blocks.
If the site topography allows, it's worthwhile using a Moffet, or forklift lorry, for the delivery of blocks to ensure swift unloading at the site.
Most Skylark blocks can be carried by between 1-4 people, with very little need for mechanical lifting and rarely any need for a crane. However for medium or large buildings it is helpful to have a forklift available to assist with the unloading of blocks during delivery. It will usually take around 3 hours to unload all blocks from lorry and you can arrange with the lorry driver to assist with this.
It is important to set aside suitable storage space for the unloading of WikiHouse blocks on site. As a general rule you will need to allow at least the equivalent footprint of the building adjacent to the foundations.
A dry, accessible storage area will be required for components arriving on site. Where there are no existing structures, a canopy can be used. Parts must be kept off the ground and away from moisture or direct sun.
Once your foundation of choice has been installed, bearing rails are fixed, and everything is perfectly level, you're ready to assembly the Skylark chassis.
Combs are the important connectors between floors and walls vertically, but also help to connect them horizontally. There are specific combs for use on ground floors (COMB-A blocks), middle and top floors (COMB-B blocks), and gable pitched roofs (COMB-G).
As the first blocks of the Skylark chassis that you will assemble on site, combs help to set out the whole structure. There are two types of comb ends because combs run in both x-axis and y-axis at floor level. The END-X type is used in parallel to FLOOR beams and END blocks, while the END-Y type is used perpendicular to those blocks along the 'length' of the building.
There are also MID combs which can be used in either x-axis or y-axis. These mid combs work together the various lengths of comb ends to create different span lengths.
The ground floor (COMB-A) combs have a flat base that sits atop of the foundation rails. These are positioned in place upright, starting at the corners, where the END-X and END-Y combs overlap and interlock, and then adding the MID combs. A double row or layer of combs (2x 18mm thicknesses) are needed. We recommend you use two different END-X lengths (ie END-X1 and END-X2) along each span, and flip this for the second row, so you stagger the location of joints between comb sections.
Don't worry about protruding prongs where there are door openings, as these can be easily sawn off once DOOR blocks have been installed.
The combs are typically fixed to the foundation rails using steel brackets, such as those supplied by Rothoblaas. These can be angled or flat brackets depending on the width of the base rail, and secured with screw or bolt fixings. Your structural engineer should provide fixing details specific to your project and design.
Once you have the ground floor combs accurately positioned (best check with a tape measure and ideally laser level) and fixed to the rails you're ready to install the END blocks. END blocks typically come in three sections that make up a full span beam, which corresponds with the span of the FLOOR blocks. These get dropped onto the x-axis COMBs from above, and pushed down using a few taps of a rubber mallet. This should fit snuggly and help lock the COMBs together at both ends of the building structure.
FLOOR blocks are installed next and these come in a range of spans (currently S to L) and range in weight between 70-100kg. You'll need a team of at least 4 people or maybe even a pallet jack to help lift and manoeuvre a beam into place over the COMBs at either end. Start at one end of the house and work your way along adding the 600m wide FLOOR blocks one at a time.
Skylark WALL blocks are quick and easy to build with. The blocks should arrive to site pre-insulated and ready to lift into place on the floor structure.
WALL blocks come in a range of sizes (S to XL) to create different height ceilings, and are used together with corresponding CORNER, DOOR, and WINDOW block sizes. A typical WALL block weighs around 40-60kg and can generally be carried by two people. The blocks fit into place over raised tabs on the outer edges of FLOOR and END blocks.
More information coming soon
More information coming soon
More information coming soon
You can use more or less any kind of roofing, including tiles, corrugated panels, membranes or green roofs. A classic choice is standing-seam steel, which is robust, recyclable, and relatively easy to install.
As soon as possible after you have assembled the chassis you should wrap it in a breather membrane. This keeps the structure dry, whilst allowing any trapped moisture to evaporate.
If the rainscreen cladding you are going to use has gaps in it, you will need to use a UV resistant breather membrane.
On residential builds, the internal walls are usually lined with plasterboard (or drywall), and because of the precision of the structure, you will only need to tape and fill joints before painting instead of needing to skim. Other lining products, such as plywood and MgO board are also suitable alternatives.
The WikiHouse chassis includes an open zone for pipes and electrical wiring all the way around. Floor and roof blocks also include pre-cut holes for 100mm air ducting.
When spaces are built to a high level of airtightness, it is especially important to ensure they are properly ventilated.
As well as using natural cross-ventilation, we recommend always installing Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR) with full summer bypass. Floor and roof blocks include holes for running air ducts through the building.
The WikiHouse chassis is compatible with more or less any type of window, and the precision of the chassis means that units can be ordered in advance, instead of needing to be measured on site. We find that inward-opening, double-glazed composite windows look great. It's a good idea to mount these onto cranked brackets on the top and sides.
The most important thing is to make sure any gap between the unit and the opening is fully insulated, and fully protected from wind-driven rain using suitable flashings, tape and expanding insulation.
The straightness and accuracy of the chassis make it relatively simple to add or remove internal walls anywhere within the structure. This leaves plenty of scope to alter the internal layout of the building during its lifetime, so it can adapt to different needs.
If spot any problems with this guide, or you have an idea for how to improve it, please let us know.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Do not remove any licence notices from files if you are re-sharing them.
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.