04 FAQ

Questions? Email us at prefab@afh-vancouver.org! Some of the questions-responses will be posted here. Thank you!

Questions & Answers

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Q: Do you need to be a licensed Architect to enter? Is there a building height limit?
A: No you don’t have to be a licensed Architect to enter. There are no height restrictions, but both social impact and method of construction should be considered.

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Q: Is deck or patio space included in the 400 sq.ft. foot print?
A: 1. We have no restrictions on how you propose to utilize the roof of your structure.
2. The 400SF area is the installation/construction limit; however, it is acceptable if you intend to position/locate your prefab structure in such a way that it captures an exterior space (without any permanent installation outside the allowable area).

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Q: I just have a question about the 400sf footprint: is this the maximium floor area of the building, or could an entrant have a 400sf basement, with a 400sf main floor, and a 400sf floor on top of that?  Is the intent to limit just the footprint, or the maximum floor area of the building?
A: 1. The intent is not about maximizing floor area but to work within a limited footprint.
2. There are no restrictions on how you intent to use the roof, or a 2-level structure as you suggested, as long as construction method, programming, and social aspects are considered.
3. There are no restrictions regarding basements; however, entrants are urged to consider the potential of prefab construction strategy vs on-site work.

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Q: Is possible to use the metres (Metric) and not the inches (Imperial)?
A: Yes.

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Q: You specified the site should be an urban one, should we be considering this house as one of a series of modules that go together to form a large scale of urban development?
A: Entrants are welcomed to consider the prefab unit as part of a series as long as your primary objective – the prefab unit on your 400SF site – satisfies your visions.

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Q: Under the site category, it says the project should be able to adapt to various sites. But then it says we are to choose a site. Can you clarify? Do we choose an actual site for the competition purposes project, but design in such a way so it could adapt to any site?
A: We would like to remind and encourage entrants that the proposal is an prefab unit that’s adaptable to various sites, as opposed to in-situ design components that would make installation challenging. By selecting an actual site is a first step to test your proposal.

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Q: Under the site category, it says the project should be able to adapt to various sites. But then it says we are to choose a site. Can you clarify? Do we choose an actual site for the competition purposes project, but design in such a way so it could adapt to any site?
A: That is correct. Please choose an actual site for your proposal. Your proposal should be designed in such a way that it could adapt to other sites.

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Q: Does an outdoor porch count toward the 400 square footage?
A: If it is a permanent structure, it should be within the 400sf footprint.

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Q: As far as the “prefab” part of the competition is concerned, should we assume this house/project would be assembled off-site and “delivered” to any given site, or should it have prefab parts that are delivered and assembled on-site, or is it up to us to decide?

A: We embrace both directions you have brought up. It is up to you to decide which is most appropriate for your proposal.

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Q: Is the “two adult” guideline for two married adults or two single adults? This would greatly effect the floor plan due to privacy issues.
A: As much as we would like to see the proposal has the capacity of housing 2 single adults, its minimum requirement should accommodate 2 adult life-partners.

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Q: With regards to the guidelines specified for the 20*20 competition, I was wondering if the 400 sqft footprint for the proposal has to be 20 feet by 20 feet or are we able to accommodate other dimension combinations that would still yield the 400 sqft total? Thank you for your time and I hope to hear from you soon.
A: The footprint may be irregular in shape; as long as the total footprint area is less than or equal to 400 square feet.

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Q: In your competition brief you state that the design should have a 40 sq. ft. footprint.  By footprint do you mean the actual area that the building touches the ground or do you mean the total area of the building?
A: Footprint in this case is the buildable area of your site.

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Q: The competition brief states the the footprint must be no more than 400SF.  I am wondering exactly how square footage is calculated.  Is space only based on the footprint or is it the actual habitable space?  Theoretically the dwelling could have a 400SF footprint, but could be multiple floors, significantly increasing the area.
A: Indeed the footprint cannot exceed 400sf. Regarding the habitable area, Q/A number 3 above may provide insights. We remind our entrants that this is not an exercise to maximize build-area, but to provide reasonable and well designed small living spaces with prefab technology in mind. You are correct in theory there are no restrictions regarding multiple floors.

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Q: Do the units have to be independent (houses) or are we alowed to work with apartments buildings?
A:  Proposed unit should meet the minimum requirement by itself; however, it may have the capacity to “work with apartments buildings” as you inquired – it is up to you.

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Q: Does the area count on the area or is the area for the limits of the unit or the area of usable floor?!?! For example if we work with double height headroom putting the study/ work area on a kind of deck on the second floor..would that count?!
A: You are limited to the building footprint and you may find Q/A number 3 very helpful. The goal isn’t necessary to maximize built area but instead to optimize urban small space living with prefab technology in mind; having said that, there is no restriction to what you described, assuming it is critical to your design intentions.

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Q: I am interested in entering your Prefab 20/20 competition. Before I proceed I need a few answers. As far as the design of this habitat shall I design with some connectivity in mind, or as a stand alone installation? Let me clarify what I am asking shall I treat this as a singular pod placed on a site and separate from other existing and/or future structures? or shall I design with exterior hallways and stairways to connect this 400 foot structure to other structures new or existing? Shall I assume that your intention is that these are a series of pods that will require a superstructure and access to connect one pod to another creating a large dormitory or apartment like structure? If I am to consider this connectivity and access do I illustrate this in the submitals?
A: It is best to consider the design/competition brief as the minimum requirement. Your comments about the solution you are conceiving does not conflict with the competition; however, your proposed “habitat” should function without a superstructure on your site – as you have a very limited buildable area to negotiate with.

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Q: If the Ground Floor footprint is 400sq can an upper floor with 400sq floor area be horizontally offset, in other words overhanging the Ground Floor?  For example a 20×20 ground floor box with a 20×20 upper floor box set 8ft off center from the footprint, thereby overhanging the footprint by 8ft but maintaining the 20×20 max floor area.
A: No, it is best to consider the footprint is the buildable area.

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Q: If the Ground Floor footprint is 400sq can an upper floor have a larger than 400sf floor area.  For example a 20×20 ground floor box with a 25×25 upper floor box.
A: No, in this scenario we will interpret the footprint as being at least 25×25, which exceeds allowable footprint square footage.

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Q: The competition brief calls for the design of a single unit with these specifications, but is it within the realm of this competition to make that unit applicable to a stackable or expandable “mass housing scheme” that is made up of many of the base units?
A: It is best to consider the competition brief as minimum requirements. Your design’s capacity to “stack” or “expand”, on another site for example, is a positive bonus/extra.

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Q: The 400 SF is described as the ‘footprint’ requirement – does that mean entrants are free to change levels, so long as the 400 SF rule isn’t broken?
A: There are no restrictions regarding level change.

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Q: Along the same lines as the last question, what about ‘loft’ spaces? Are they allowed, and if so, how should they be counted in the SF?
A: Yes loft is allowed. Please review Q/A number 3 above.

One response to “04 FAQ

  1. I’m interested to explore how the same home will function in all latitudes and at all times of the year!

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