Cardiff to redevelop site with repurposed shipping containers as housing for homeless

New temporary accommodation made from shipping containers will soon offer innovative high quality living for homeless families in Cardiff.

Cadwyn Housing Association’s‘s Chief Executive Kath Palmer said, “We need to find new ways of providing safe and secure accommodation for our homeless families in Cardiff and this project provides much needed temporary housing whilst a longer term housing solution can be found.

The 13 new homes will be built on the redeveloped former PDSA site on Bute Street, owned by Cardiff Council, and will provide temporary accommodation for families until a more permanent suitable housing solution can be found.

The project is jointly funded by Cardiff Council and Welsh Government’s Innovative Housing Programme. Work is due to start on the site in May, with Cadwyn Housing Association developing the scheme on behalf of Cardiff Council and working alongside Tony King Architects, Willis Construction and Lion Containers.

There will be seven two-bedroom homes, comprising a 40-foot and a 20-foot container, and six one-bedroom homes, made from a 40-foot container.

[Note from Storm Cunningham: The announcement failed to note whether these are new or used containers. Since the whole point of the “repurposed shipping container trend” is to reduce waste, one would hope that these are used. But I’ve encountered huge projects made entirely from new containers, such as an entertainment and food square in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada. That’s clueless enough in itself, but it gets worse. An entrepreneur in China has seen the skyrocketing demand for used shipping containers, and is making fake containers out of plastic. He knows that there are some real estate developers who are all about appearance, not substance.]

They will all be constructed to the same building standards and specification as traditionally constructed affordable housing. They will have the same comforts of a conventional home to support the health and well-being of residents and will be sensitively and intelligently designed to maximise the use of space.

Each will benefit from solar PV with the benefits fed back directly to residents, a sprinkler system, and private and communal amenity space for residents to enjoy. The two-bed units will have direct access to a fenced garden so children have a safe space to play and the first-floor one-bed units will all have a roof terrace and a front door.

The construction is expected to take 20 weeks, a small fraction of the time it would take to provide 13 traditionally constructed new homes. They have been designed so they can be moved easily to an alternative location in the future, either all together or in smaller groups to different sites.

Site preparation work is due to start in May, with the delivery of the containers scheduled for June. Local people will even have the opportunity to get involved in the construction of the houses with Cadwyn and Willis, working with Into Work Services and community organisations to provide local people with a 10-week supervised construction training program with responsibility for fitting out a complete container.

Cadwyn has also worked closely with St Marys The Virgin C.I.W. Primary school during the design process, and some of the creative artwork is available to view on the project hoarding that has been erected around the site.

Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, Cllr Lynda Thorne, concluded “The Council is always looking at new and innovative ways we can deliver more affordable housing for the city and these shipping containers provide us with a cost-effective solution to providing homes for those in need in the city. We’re also delivering eight homes for homeless families within the ground of Greenfarm hostel in Ely. The energy-efficient homes provide us with a greater level of flexibility compared to traditional builds as we can respond to changing demand by relocating and reusing the units elsewhere. I’m delighted that the start of work is imminent and look forward to seeing the new homes in the near future.

Featured photo (courtesy of Cardiff Council) shows a children’s room in a converted container.

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