Cost effective flats design

Cost effective flats design
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Dear Jonno

I am a Farmer’s Weekly magazine subscriber and I normally see your beautiful plans in it. I do not know if you could assist me.
I want a plan for five flats. Each flat will have an open-plan kitchen and sitting room with a separate bedroom with built-in cupboards and an en suite bathroom. The intention is for the kitchen and bathroom water system to be at the back. The entrance will be in front on a 1,5m veranda. The structure is to be built with size six cement blocks with IBR zinc roofing, as low-pitched as possible.

Kindly assist with a plan if you can.

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Dear Andile,
Further to your written requirements and subsequent phone call, I have configured a group of five flats that could be one of many possible layouts. You said that they should be built as cost-effectively as possible, as they will be for rental purposes in a rural area in the southern Eastern Cape. With all this in mind, I’ve kept both the styling and accommodation layouts as tight as possible.

Shown in the rooms’ layout are the furnishing layouts with fair walking spaces between them. The length and width can of course be reduced by a metre or two appropriately, but please bear in mind that the cost of the superstructure, foundations, walls and roof is only 40% of the total house cost, so alterations to the design will not save that much. The finishes, fixtures and fittings, plus the water, electricity and sanitary installations will all still be a constant of the complete cost. Consider too, that we humans can never have enough space!

Furthermore, a pitched roof of 5° or slightly more will have an aerodynamic effect similar to that of an aircraft’s wings, and I’ve seen several low-pitched roofs over the years lifted off in windstorms of less than 100km/h. Increasing the pitch of the roof to, say, 15°, will add only 10% to the roof cost, yet will avoid this wind problem. A steeper roof will also shed hail and snowfall more effectively.

I will detail the specific anchoring of the roof in your final working drawings.

Let’s have your further thoughts.