PP4U's (for many customers) very welcome Construction Differences are all good to know but what may matter to you most are our advantages over some or all market comrades that can actually benefit you as the customer.
So here we highlight those benefits with an asterisk *:0
0 Just be aware that the list here is a comparison with the mode of residential home construction offers in the market: the most common type of offers found when going through the search results, regardless of the builder's construction approach. That some market comrades offer an individual benefit on its own is clear.
1 Agreed, easy and cost-effective relocatability of permanent residential homes and other dwellings is so unheard of that it may require quite some time "to sink in" before every would-be customer can see the benefits.
2 At minimal cost is true: The sturdy structure of a MobyDream™ as default is a combination of recycled ocean shipping containers, unless the customer's dream features a different structural base. In that case we would weld a brand-new steel structure with the same twist lock capability so that the home's modules can remain relocatable nonetheless. Within the steel structure will normally be SIPs then.
So why at minimal cost?
Billions of goods are transported globally every year in ocean containers: if it wasn't the most cost-effective method then companies around the world would have opted for a different method to relocate the goods.
3 More precisely, see our complete sustainability requirements here.
4 Indeed, the potential requirement of the individual municipality aside, a MobyDream™ may well be the only permanent residential home that does not require an extra foundation as it comes with its own inherent foundation that withstands all seismic conditions.
And since with a MobyDream™ home it is perfectly possible to make no landscaping changes at all and to move with home without leaving a trace in the soil behind, a customer with more temporary location preferences can decide to first rent an unused plot, instead of investing a chunk of money to buy it.
What the property industry's marketing likes to hide to nail the sale: Renting property can build more wealth than buying it, regardless whether you rent land with house on it or only land and you bring your own house: certainly true for the USA.
There is no such analysis for Portugal (yet), but if your MobyDream™ purchase seems to be stopped only by lack of instant funding (or financing) then please take note of the feasible possibility to place your home on rented or leased land initially: With their inherent foundation, modular homes built on the basis of ocean containers are the only permanent residential homes available that can be enjoyed on rented land too.
5 Indeed. "There’s no home that can be built that can’t be built with modular construction". Just note that contrary to their wrong perception there, modular does not necessarily mean prefab, and indeed in PP4U's case it certainly is not:
Unlike other site-built homes that are increasingly prefab, a MobyDream™ is 100% bespoke and unique to one customer only: You.
6 Passive means here: without energy use.
7 Can eliminate the need to run a costly Air Conditioning unit, regardless of location.
8 Because then we need to incorporate specific adjustments into the construction process which obviously cost a bit, and so the customer must value it.
9 Note that flooding and fire are the biggest risks following an earthquake (and during an earthquake a weak structural base).
11 Self-sufficient energy generation, rainwater collection (and/or well where legal), septic tank.
The company owner personally is a huge fan of waterless toilets, see the Swedish Separett (market leader): Once you think about it, mixing human waste with the most precious natural reserve we have (water, together with oxygen) must be one of the dumbest things people have come up with!
12 Excellent in regions like the Algarve.
13 Whether for decorative purpose and/or for better room climate and/or to grow veggies and fruit. Your choice.
14 Because we people found ingenious ways to expand living space.
15 Eg for remote locations where the customer may not want to risk recognition as (valuable) home to avoid robbery and vandalism, eg for customers who aim to be prepared for various natural disasters, etc.
16 About half of all market comrades offer this, so not exactly a USP, this one.
Can I have a basement of usable living space?
Absolutely, please see here.
Can I have an attic of usable living space?
Sure. Even two entries and both from within a different part of your home, ie a different module, if a MobyDream™.
Can I have a porch?
Why not? We cannot understand why ordinary residential construction companies are so restrictive to only offer their specific models.
We do not have models, you can literally have anything.
Can I have a patio?
Yes, both within your MobyDream™ (see alfresco), or as exterior patio.
Can I have a pergola?
Yes, both connected to your MobyDream™, or freestanding as landscaping enhancement.
Can I have a conservatory?
Yes, both within your MobyDream™, or as annex.
Can I have a clerestory?
Absolutely. Like with alfresco, we love to build clerestories in the Algarve since they are perfect for a refreshing interior airflow in a hot climate, and for passive solar gain in the winter.
Can I have a portico?
Sure. A portico on the long side will exceed the legal transport width (in case you order a relocatable MobyDream™) and so in that case the portico will be connected like a well-designed annex and relocated along with one of the modules.
Can I have a bay?
Yes, because a bay is a wonderful enhancement of a living room, dining room, and/or bedroom.
Can I have an annex to my MobyDream™ when my family outgrows its current size?
Certainly. The sophisticated design makes a MobyDream™ extendable at lower cost than traditionally built homes (while prefab houses typically aren't extendable anyway, another difference to prefabs).
If you foresee to request an extension later, we can incorporate the required construction preparations right away, such that your annex can then be added at minimal cost.
Can I have a deck?
Sure. A deck is a wonderful exterior enhancement to your MobyDream™, and we build you a covered or uncovered deck, even all around the home's living quarters.
Can I have an alfresco?
Absolutely, both within your MobyDream™ or as exterior deck. An alfresco will make your dream life in paradisiac places like the Algarve even more enjoyable. It's what a winter garden is to people in cold climates like say in Sweden.
Can I have a canopy with my MobyDream™?
Yes, both with deck or without.
Can I have a two level home with impressive interior staircase?
Can I have a railing on my home entrance, or on the second floor?
Sure. Likewise a ramp entrance or a ramp to the second floor. In fact, if you are handicapped Paradise Portugal 4U would be delighted to build you a handicap-proof home without extra cost to you! As far as we know we are the only residential construction company to do so.1
For a more complete(?) list of our competitive advantages please see here.
Can I have my MobyDream™ with a long eave?
Absolutely. For Paradise Portugal 4U a roof with eaves is standard: in fact ordinary modular construction companies you can easily identify by certain missing home features that true professionals will never miss. One of them is a roof with eaves.
Mr Foster though visibly did not like the "traditional look", and for us the customer is King / Queen.
Can I have cornices, exterior and/or interior?
Why not? A simple but aesthetic cornice can be a valuable enhancement for your permanent home.
Can I have window sills, exterior and/or interior?
Sure, both with or without apron. If you order a relocatable MobyDream™ just be aware of the legal width restrictions for standard transport at low cost.
In other words, the larger the window sill that you want (and regardless whether that's exterior or interior), the more the window sill deducts from net living space - as you won't want to add an extra module to have window sills. If you order your MobyDream™ for cold climates then extra thick walls are necessary anyway, and so then extra deep window sills will not reduce living space.
Can I have a Hip roof?
Yes, and as with many roof types, you can order a blind roof (unused, inaccessible vaulted space between roof and ceiling: cheapest) or a roof that gives you access to attic space that you can utilize (costly, and subject to stricter municipal permit).
We can offer you pretty much any roof type you favour, and regardless whether it's for a one-level home or two-level home.
While doable, just be aware that certain roof types can be cost-prohibitive for a modular home that is relocatable, as is MobyDream™. Because a roof that keeps the home dry in the heaviest downpours and withstands hurricanes, and yet is good for standard road transport, can be subject to conflicting objectives. And so the design and engineering can be demanding and thus costly.
As regards hurricanes: Note that storm research showed which type of roofs, and with which features, are safest. Paradise Portugal 4U incorporates such research results because, for your benefit: We actually study before we build.
Can I have a skylight?
Absolutely. In fact we can even offer you a skylight for a flat roof that you can leave open during rain. Thinking "impossible"?
Welcome to the engineering skill in Paradise: Paradise Portugal 4U in the Algarve.
Back to the question. Indeed a skylight can be "essential"2 if you don't order a clerestory and/or central, large alfresco and/or sun trap louvers (brise-soleil) or breeze blocks respectively for a climate like the Algarve: No amount of wall ventilation yields the same air exchange as a skylight and/or clerestory does (a skylight is angled in line with the roof, a clerestory is vertical like the walls).
Because: warm but stale air rises up. Hence why cracking open a hopper window is ineffective too. You would really need to leave doors wide open during many hours a day. Unless maybe if you succumb to paying for air conditioning, which is an environmental waste too though.
The alternative to a skylight and/or clerestory windows is mechanical ventilation - except in year-round warm climates like the Algarve, where you can (or rather you will) keep terrace doors wide open almost every day.3
Can I have my MobyDream™ as eco home that also is a smart home?
Think: Wouldn't it be nice to move to your dream location, for holidays or permanently, and:
Wouldn't it be nice?
And so, if you order the respective trueTURNKEY™ offers we install everything you request, set it up to work together, and we test that all actually works: Paradise from Day 1.
1 The company owner was long handicapped himself, so we have a BIG HEART for the handicapped, regardless of your individual handicap.
2 According to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE, Standard 62.2) residences must be able to move air at a rate of 1 cubic feet per minute (cfm) for every 100 square feet of livable space, and for each resident an additional 7.5 cfm must be moved.
When you translate that to metric units: Your second home of say 80sqm and two occupants should provide for ventilation of 260 liters/minute.
And translating that Standard 62.2 into the cost-effectiveness of different ventilation methods, it was found that an intermittent exhaust-only fan is the most energy-efficient means of mechanical ventilation: at a cost of 800 to 1,700 kWh per year - which can of course be solar-generated.
Better and cheaper than mechanical ventilation though is opening doors or clerestory windows for passive ventilation, unless you live in a cold climate.
3 Contrary to cracking open one or more windows, leaving doors open guarantees that warm but stale air leaves at the top while pulling in fresher and (likely) cooler air at the ground.
Has Relocatability Of A Home Any Benefit At All?
Great question! So here's our list of specifically MobyDream's™ relocatability benefits of a permanent home to you as the owner:
1 The first three were the company owner's personal reasons why he had to come up with a solution: At the time when he was growing tired of frequent house moves (without house; 22 times by that time).
2 Then don't even dare to speak of dream home, right?
The home's first relocation happens when the finished and reviewed home gets disassembled at company premises and transported on Portugal's often very bumpy road networks to the customer's plot of land to be reassembled at its new location.
The strains and stresses of each and all of these three phases anticipate and simulate the strains and stresses a home of any other construction type may only experience after years or decades of exposure to climatic and seismic conditions and abrupt changes in conditions.
In other words: MobyDreams™ get tested like no other home.
And this even before the customer moves in. And so we can observe live any resulting problems and remedy them.
Whereas with another home the customers only much later experience the weaknesses in structure or materials - at which point they have to try to hold their builder responsible under that builder's inferior warranty.
This fact of the toughest home testing must be pointed out though since this advantage is not immediately apparent to anyone.
Wouldn't it be fantastic if even a relocatable home had a basement?
Oh yes! And so we make this possible too.
In fact, with a MobyDream™ you have three options. Sorry, four if you insist:
Again you see there: MobyDream™ offers bespoke down to granularity like no other.
You may have noticed: Many companies claim they have a "sustainable" offer. But what does sustainable, the ability to coexist permanently, actually mean when applied to the construction industry?
That depends on who you would ask. For us, Paradise Portugal 4U, trueSUSTAINABILITY™ requires:
A. as for the building materials used
B. and contributing to health, not to harm:
C. and requiring least energy:
Agreed, our sustainability understanding is demanding: We don't do things half-baked.
And we don't use marketing terms that we cannot substantiate: The sustainability of the overall construction approach is what matters, not an "eco-friendly" claim of the material manufacturer nor the "eco-friendly" seal or label they negotiated and even paid for.
Done 4 You: What do our trueTURNKEY™ services include?
Every construction company that markets "Turnkey" gives this term a different scope.
So we feel it helps to set out clearly here what Paradise Portugal 4U understands as Turnkey. In case you worry about having to find suitable land and having to organize everything yourself: from the home's foundation to utility hookups.
No, not so with Paradise Portugal 4U:
1 Considering that the customer may value fingerprint door access or other key lock alternatives, "turnkey" may not be the best term here. Then Done-4-You should be clear.
2 Portugal is strict: A building permit actually is split into multiple projects that each require approval on their own from local authorities and independent organizations: architectural project, structural project, electrical project, plumbing project, communications project, etc.
3 Get this: This final finicky total quality control for the handover certificate is what will take us more time than to collocate and reassemble the modules to yield again the finished home like it was upon the customer's third approval on our premises.
Why? Because there and then we depend on others: sewage, grid connections, appliances, etc. And despite two reassurances from other companies and municipalities ... guess what?
Sometimes it just doesn't work as was promised to us. Hence why, ultimately, we can only be so effective as all that what we have to rely on is effective too.
4 In traditional home construction so much usable space is wasted. Why not make some visible (or hidden) storage space from it? We do.
And no, small print rarely is fine but typically detrimental to the customer, have you noticed?
So, we don't have small print in any contract. What isn't worth to be easily read, isn't worth to be there at all.
5 This also includes ventilation and heat dissipation measures that naturally only a company with staff in a sunny climate like the Algarve has comprehensive experience with.
With MobyDream™ the entire process to enjoy your dream home from Day 1 is truly simple, whether second home or primary home:
You discuss with us all your dream home details and trust us with execution.
We take care of all your details and keep you in the loop during the entire construction.
The below brief process description includes our Turnkey services, not just to give a complete process overview here but because we consider the overall customer experience a prerequisite for ongoing personal referrals. And we thank you for that.
|Mobydreaming is simple|
|1||Attracted by our landmark pylon in the Algarve or referred to us by media or people, pre-qualified enquirers1 put forward their rough idea of size, layout, design, and location - what's yours?|
|2||We do a preliminary review of the enquirer's rough idea or specifications: required development permit2 and difficulty of municipal approval for the prospective location, as well as size, layout, and design at that location3|
|3||If the enquirer signals to want to move on, we send the prospect a draft drawn house plan4 and ask for finalized revisions|
|4||The customer signs construction contract with precise and final project specifications and signs terrain contract,5 and we start documentation preparation for municipal development permit: architectural, engineering, acoustic, surveying, etc|
|5||The customer pays 35% to start the build, and right away we start the build: before municipal approval received6|
|6||The customer or if agreed our câmara consultant/solicitor submits completed certification documentation to the respective câmara and the customer pays associated fees7|
|7||The build process continues in line with two progress payments being made as scheduled, and at each of these milestones as well as when construction is finished overall the customer is invited to review the home's progress on company premises8|
|8||When the customer has approved of the entire build as reviewed on company premises (or in absence virtually), they pay the in the terrain contract agreed fees to relocate their MobyDream™ home to the customer's plot, as proof of its relocatability (if MobyDream™)|
|9||Once there, we collocate and reassemble the transported modules at the customer's plot to yield the finished home on the prepared foundation in line with the respective câmara's development permit, and we connect the home to the grid if desired per terrain contract|
|10||When we are ready with home finalization on customer premises, the customer is handed the keys9 and shown around to discuss all design features and functionality as set out in the handover certificate,10 so that the customer can enjoy Paradise from Day 1.11 - After the final approval the customer pays the final 5% and, hopefully, happily refers us personally to friends.|
1 To keep our prices low, all that follows cannot be done for enquirers that are merely curious but not ready to buy. We trust that's understandable.
2 Portugal is not wild-west: No one can legally build here without approval of the câmara. Some municipalities make development permits a lengthy and more costly process (particularly those in the south and west), others make it fairly easy (particularly those in the Alentejo and north east). We consider this for the customer's existing or favorite plot of land and inform the customer accordingly.
The following quote seems to be more precisely describing the situation than anything else, and it appears this is globally quite similar regardless of the type of home one submits for municipal approval:
"A large part of the approval process comes down to people. There are always gray areas and things open to interpretation. Personalities drive behavior, and some people are just resistant to change. In addition, you may find yourself fighting against preconceived notions and judgements that are rooted in emotion rather than fact."
Note here that the Portuguese in general are open-minded and progressive, and in terms of housing we have here everything: from wooden houses to steel houses to entirely thatched houses to tree-top houses to round stone houses to floating houses etc.
3 Contrary to others in the market of modular homes we offer the preliminary feasibility review free of charge because we believe in honest customers, and a few specific questions generally serve better than a pricey feasibility assessment that is off-putting for many when they have not made any incremental commitment yet.
4 House plan only, not site plan and other details.
5 The terrain contract will differ subject to the required or requested terrain work: from soil surveyance to foundation, from municipal planning application to grid connections, etc. Meaning, the terrain contract value is necessarily unspecified at the time and will clearly set out that the customer is responsible for paying all related cost as they occur: foundation preparation, grid connections, câmara consultant, etc (we do offer escrow services though).
While the cost of our own personal review of the customer's plot (to ensure it meets the home's specifications) is included in the (construction contract) sales price directly.
6 This is sensible here because 1) municipal approvals can take between two weeks and well over a year, and 2) municipal approvals here are routinely easier to obtain when (attractive) updated home-building visuals demonstrate ongoing commitment for that location.
Nonetheless the customer decides whether to venture this: It's not actually a "risk" in the case of a MobyDream™: because MobyDream™ is relocatable and so at this time its value is the same irrespective of its planned first location.
7 Or they are debited from the escrow account if agreed.
8 We believe that giving the customer several chances throughout the build to approve of or to amend agreements signed earlier helps to ensure lasting satisfaction. Key is that the customer must be made aware that amendments after municipal planning permit can require a new planning permit and another fee has to be paid.
9 Where an ordinary keylock was requested. Our customers will be given options though, including modern fingerprint locks.
10 So as to truly enjoy all agreed amenities, to ask remaining questions and get clarification, etc. The handover certificate also sets out clearly all module joints and precise electrical, plumbing, and HVAC&R documentation (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration) so that the customer can hire any qualified company in the future to relocate the home in a safe, comfortable, and cost-efficient way. We believe, doing it any other way wouldn't be a wise way to conduct business and to retain happy customers.
11 If trueTURNKEY™ was booked.
There's a lot publicly being misunderstood and miscommunicated in regards to two key concepts relevant here. The first is:
"site-built" vs "manufactured" or "prefabricated"?
This is an omnipresent misnomer, because ultimately any property these days is "manufactured" or "prefabricated":
Where do you draw the line?
So the only sensible differentiation as regards "site-built" vs "manufactured" or "prefabricated" is:
to what degree?
And frankly, then quite a number of thought-to-be "site-built" homes are more "manufactured" or "prefabricated" than quite a number of thought-to-be "manufactured" or "prefabricated" homes.
As an example just consider the ever more widespread use of tilt-up walls for thought-to-be "site-built" homes...
This shows that in modern times where all manufacturers try to shed costs and offer construction materials that are so heavily combined and refined, a hundred years ago or just a decade ago they would have been considered "manufactured" or "prefabricated".
We cannot change current publicized perception nor improve bloggers' education, but we can educate when there is an open-minded customer. And Paradise Portugal 4U will do.
Likewise, there's a lot publicly being misunderstood and miscommunicated in regards to:
"transportable", "portable", "mobile", "moveable", "relocatable"?
This is not a misnomer but deserves differentiation too, because as a matter of fact all homes incl. thought-to-be "site-built" homes can be moved to a different location when the need or desire outweighs the cost-prohibitive nature1 of such endeavor:
So the only sensible differentiation as regards "transportable", "portable", "mobile", "moveable", "relocatable" is: at what cost?
And again, frankly then quite a number of thought-to-be "transportable", "portable", "moveable", "relocatable", and even "mobile homes"(!) are moved at much higher cost than they are marketed for:
The reason always is: how is the building's construction designed?
In other words: What and how much did the construction company think of and anticipate for the building's future being and the current or future owner's need or desire?
This shows that it isn't sufficient to look at marketed adjectives like "transportable", "portable", "mobile", "moveable", "relocatable" without looking at the dwelling's structural design and build quality and intended use.
In short here, any dwelling:
can only be relocated at prohibitive cost.2
This, in addition to the earlier laid out macroeconomic and sustainability and demographic concerns, is the microeconomic (homebuyer's) reason why Paradise Portugal 4U will build dwellings as we do.
But it is cost-prohibitive once you are open-minded to compare it to centralized construction.
1 This is why most home relocations of this nature are taxpayer-funded: the individual (or indeed public institution) is reimbursed through taxes imposed on all the uninvolved. And that's why they relocate the building: the individual (person or institution) is unconcerned about the money of the uninvolved public.
2 And so indeed "Mobile Homes" decline in value over time - regardless whether they are moved or not, and regardless to which prime location. While generally homes that are being placed on a foundation increase in value over time - even if they are merely at an "ordinary" location.
1 For example what's always missed: staff commutes in their own time at their own cost to the central construction site. This alone can amount to 20% cost savings on complex builds that take half a year.
2 This is a biggie when you wish to build within town boundaries.
No one would even imagine for say cars to be built from the ground up in people's basements...
The only reason why we all are used to seeing that being done with houses is: When our ancestors moved from nomadism to settlement because of agriculture, people soon forgot that all human history before that everyone moved with home.
And so, since the emergence of agriculture people instead got used to building their home right there where they meant to settle down.
Modular constructed residential homes sometimes encounter certain preconceived notions, all the more when using steel containers as structural base. Thus it may help to clarify the facts only:
The speed of construction, flexibility, and lower price may convince many of the 67% homebuyers that otherwise opt for a flat rather than their own detached house3 - which most of them clearly would prefer, you bet.
Important to customers also is, there is no difference between our modular homes and other site built homes as regards:
In the Algarve, home demand far exceeds supply,5 spiralling property prices6 and so making the Algarve less attractive for the not-rich.
To counter this suicidal trend in the Algarve - and frankly: property prices spiral globally - the location flexibility that MobyDream™ offers is ideal.
Unless customer requirements prompt for resizing an individual module, we can design and build their MobyDream™ to remain transportable like any other set of containers: no special permit needed for transport, easy and cost-effective.
And the container's structural integrity we always maintain anyway:7 so that it can be safely relocated to the customer's plot to deliver the already finished home.8
In short, for us the containers are just the sturdy structure, and in our times the ideal sturdy structure to facilitate relocatability: containers are being transported daily throughout the world by road, rail, and sea9 at minimal cost.
1 This is a biggie for some customers since more and more of our environment is subject to electromagnetic radiation: power lines and mobile network and TV antennas possibly being among the worst when near your home.
Just recently we've had a customer who required a container shell as structural base of his home because there is a high voltage power line running right next and above his plot of land. Not only impacting mobile phone, TV, and radio reception but impacting the health of his family too, he fears.
Accepting that some people are more sensitive to electromagnetic radiation and others less, the owner of Paradise Portugal 4U has his own experience to share: At the age of just 24 years he stayed in a "bed & breakfast" just one night that caused him insane headache of a quite unique kind of pain. The next morning upon leaving he realized that the outer wall next to the bed in the room he stayed in was an endpoint of a high voltage powerline: certainly no more than 30cm between that and the bed that he was sleeping in.
When even months - and then years - later he still suffered chronic pain attacks of the same sensation, he went on to study possibilities of correlation between the chronic headache and the power line he was once subjected to.
2 Melting a discarded container uses ~8,000 kWh of energy, while refurbishing one into a building uses just ~400 kWh. Plus, it reuses and upgrades ~3,200kg of steel and ~550kg of the hardest engineered wood to work with. Plus, it saves the energy - and avoids the CO2 - of producing bricks and cement, or alternatively harvesting trees, all see here.
3 The (sole?) reason why two thirds of homebuyers choose a flat over a house: eg in the Algarve sqm median house prices are an average 28% higher than sqm median flat prices.
4 Conversely, mobile homes and RVs depreciate in value over their lifetime, regardless of their momentary "fantastic" location.
5 Reported throughout the Algarve, eg Algarvedailynews.
6 Latest 2019 figures from Instituto Nacional de Estatística: Algarve dwellings sold; median price for existing homes: €1,573/sqm, for new homes: €1,750/sqm, mean of total sales: €1,606/sqm. In comparison: Lisbon Metropolitan Area; median price for existing homes: €1,334/sqm, for new homes: €1,805/sqm, mean of total sales: €1,383/sqm. Portugal mean total dwellings sold: €1,031/sqm.
7 It is wrong when "bloggers" presume that structural changes like adding windows and external door(s), or even resizing the container overall, would impair structural integrity: Professionals will always reinforce any cutouts with stronger, thicker steel than what was taken out. These reinforcements get welded, just like the original container is a result of weld work also.
8 That's another HUGE construction difference of ours: Since our homes are 100% bespoke and unique to the individual customer, and site-built, they are finished and already reviewed by the customer. In fact, three times if the customer's diary allowed to follow all our invitations for reviews. The final, fourth review will be after the home's first relocation: delivery, collocation, reassembly, utility etc connections, and joint review in accordance with the handover certificate.
Conversely, prefab homes are defined by their prefabricated building parts. Each of these produced in series in a factory, and for each of these, one and the same part is sold to as many customers as the company can find - regardless that each customer's living situation and geographical needs are totally different. Hence why prefabs never are finished, it's impossible.
9 For air freight the industry has developed their own container type, made of much lighter but also much costlier aluminum.
Firstly, note that we use discarded ocean shipping containers only as the cheaper default as per the customer's wish: discarded steel is cheaper than new steel, and stronger than other building materials.
Next, be aware that originally containers are not intended for human habitation but for seaworthiness and storage, including food storage.
And so the walls and ceiling receive a saltwater and mold resistant zinc paint coating on the outside and a rust and mold resistant zinc coating on the inside, and the wooden floors receive waterproofing and pesticide treatment.
When repurposing a container for us people to live well in, all this must be considered and provided for.1 Even if insulation and aesthetics is not of one's particular concern...
The elaborate insulation layers, interior walling, flooring, and exterior siding that we add are not just for thermal regulation indoors but also:
Secondly, modular construction (whether with steel containers or otherwise) of course comes with its dimensional restrictions, particularly when the home offers the customer the many benefits of cost-effective relocatability.
Eg for the containers that we use, and when not resized/enlarged manually by us, but often we resize:2
However, the dimensional restrictions just mean that the architectural design needs to be smart enough to align several modules adjacent in such way to optimize usable space for the particular home layout desired by the customer.3
Somewhat surprisingly, the dimensional restriction that matters is height, not width:
Road transport legislation in the EU is not harmonized, nonetheless the European Best Practice Guidelines for Abnormal Road Transport with respect to Directive 96/53/EC Article 4.3 determine that an abnormal load up to 3m width4 (in the UK 2.9m) and an overall length of 24m and 4m height does not need a permit.
Up to 4.20m height a long-term permit, and up to 4.40m height a "corridor" permit is required.
Therefore, in many cases the home's roof requires a separate truck for each module, as is common for quality modular homes. Exception: when the customer requires a "flat roof", we can help the customer to avoid the (relocation) cost of separate roof transports.
Road transport limitations for an individual module of course means that the larger the home the more modules we will use, the more joints there will be,5 and the costlier its future relocation. With this in mind, even homes greater than 200sqm can be built in modular fashion, no problem.6
What ultimately determines the arrangement of individual modules and precisely where we reshape or resize them individually is:
1 Make sure you continue reading to reach the following chapter: Our Construction Differences.
2 All gross interior dimensions here, ie including interior insulation layers.
To keep the home price low, on customer request we are happy to resize one or all of the modules of a home or other dwelling to exceed the legal width restrictions - which may avoid having to add another module. It must just be noted then that relocatability can be more difficult and costlier the further away the destination is.
For example we have resized certain modules to a total internal width of 312cm. But note that none of these dwellings had cross-border transport, which makes it easier and more cost-effective to plan a route free of obstacles and to pay for the pilot vehicle needed.
In fact, relocating your MobyDream™ cross-border from its base here in Portugal may in many cases be most economical via sea transport: Portugal neighbors the USA and Canada (only the Atlantic in between), and most of Europe incl. Ireland, the UK, France, Netherlands, Germany, and all Scandinavian countries are generally easier and faster to reach by sea.
As part of our trueTURNKEY™ offer we will be happy to make all relocation arrangements when you have a MobyDream™.
3 This may actually be another reason why modular homes in general are lower priced than traditional brick-built or stick-built homes. Something to think about.
4 You see there is plenty of space for siding material and insulation even on the exterior walls: eg for ISO, 56cm on one side, or 28cm on both sides, subject to module joints.
5 Making module joints disappear isn't too difficult: magicians making an elephant disappear is.
Naturally with a bespoke home, the means to make the module joints disappear depend on the particular dwelling's layout and design, but in short: material, color, and shape are employed in a suitable combination. The more finicky the customer suggests to be, the more magical (or subtle) the means have to be.
6 In fact there was this Australian who built a luxurious home from 31 containers: 865sqm in total, on three floors (but not designed to be relocated ever).
Here is the BIGGEST catch when building with steel walls or ceiling, or containers. And the vast majority of both "professional" and "DIY" home architects seem to be blissfully unaware. Or else they hide the facts, no one knows.
Either way, our construction differences is what sets us apart for sure. Because amazing homes millions of companies can build you.
So here now: What differentiates our dwelling type from others that may also be modular, or even, that may also employ ocean containers as structural base?
To keep construction differences brief, we will follow the classical split of differences in Form and Function:1
Paradise Portugal 4U stands for Bespoke Home Architecture, not Container House Architecture. The difference pictured below for utmost clarity:
Unless a customer requires it, our homes are not even recognizable as modular builds:
Both the modular construction approach and that ordinarily we use cost-effective discarded steel containers as structural base2 - instead of a new steel structure or say combustible wooden studs and beams3 or bricks4 - are not ordinarily apparent.
The reason for both actually is not to hide the home's modular structure (or the default use of recycled ocean containers) but instead to serve the wellbeing of the occupants.
So again, when we transform crude containers to yield a chic functional home, nothing of the containers remains visible and exposed to the climatic conditions at its location, whether permanent or temporary location if MobyDream™.
This is key to understand, because it directly impacts Function.
The true reason behind the change of appearance is not just conventional perceptions of "beauty" and easier municipal develepmont permits, but this:
It's quite inconceivable that almost all professional and DIY architects alike leave the containers as-is, including the exposed metal walls (and as you see there, often even the roof).
Despite that it is well-known that metal both absorbs and emits both the sun's and our own - paid for?! - energy (radiation: heat!) much quicker than wood, concrete,5 cement,6 brick, adobe, cinder block, SIPs, hempcrete,7 and any other material used in dwelling construction.
Not surprisingly, in summers those "container houses" get hot like an oven, and in winters those container houses absorb the paid-for energy from the inside to warm up the outside!
And so MobyDream's™ elaborate architecture and engineering of insulation, ventilation and air circulation, siding, flooring, and roofing provide for incredibly sustainable living comfort.
Whether the sweltering midday sun exposure of the Algarve in Portugal's south or the Swedish conditions of the Serra da Estrela mountain range in Portugal's north, we can build container-based homes where the temperature does not drop below 16C and does not rise above 24C, without any energy use at all.
Note here that the gravest impact of employing metal for walls and ceiling in human habitation is both the ease of and the volume of humidity and moisture build-up inside such dwellings: "container rain" under the ceiling and "container sweat" on walls.
As this humidity buildup also occurs in places that those don't know who haven't been living with metal walls that they left exposed to research how the interaction of the metal and insulation materials used develops over time, we will say:
"No one who hasn't been living in such dwelling should build one for others." - 'Nuf said'.
Indeed the company owner has been living with metal walls and ceiling for many years now and left some of them exposed and saw what's going on long-term.
And despite being well prepared for the condensation challenge too, he still had his surprises that forced him to come up with ever better solutions to manage passive (ie energy-free) ventilation to control interior humidity and room climate.
So in our experience the importance of controlling humidity in this dwelling type cannot be overestimated, and we have yet to find another residential builder (professional or not) who builds with recycled ocean containers and the dwelling is void of interior condensation problems.8
And although anything (even wood or brick and mortar) is better than nothing, if it's not done well then they are just closing off the sweat with drywall to keep it out of sight of the occupants.9
Natural "green" materials
In line with the above sensitivity for the occupants' wellbeing, Paradise Portugal 4U also offers its customers the largest choice of natural material options of any construction company known to any of us.10
Firstly, this is because the company owner has personal experience with various natural construction materials used for himself and has come to appreciate their benefits over the many manmade but harmful materials so widely in use in building construction today.11
And so where a customer does not signal that they want or need the cheapest home build possible,12 Paradise Portugal 4U will always advise customers towards the higher quality, natural materials instead.13 And we will advise the customer what physical and maintenance implications that has, if any.
And secondly, PP4U offers the largest choice of natural material options because there exist quite a number of natural home construction materials that aren't even known among those professional homebuilders and municipalities that rule over building code: Because they were educated only by the very companies that aim to sell their manmade substitute materials.14
More so, the majority of these natural home construction materials have been used in home construction by our ancestors for hundreds, some for thousands of years - which makes it quite embarassing that they are being ignored by so many professional homebuilders and municipalities.
Like Steve Allin worded it so accurately: natural materials that are "an antidote to the polluting construction industry, which belches out water and air pollution and fills landfills".
Be aware that both an "eco-friendly" claim and an "eco-friendly" seal or label can:
Paradise Portugal 4U requires the second before we suggest the material to the customer to be used in the home's interior, because whether the manufacturer of toxic building materials reduces the energy costs of production is of zero benefit to the customer who has to live with those materials.
Conversely, it's clear from their material choices: almost every other construction company only glances at the "eco-friendly" claim or "eco-friendly" seal or label (if at all).
Key benefits of PP4U's natural material options
1 The architectural design differentiation from since the late 19th century that's often attributed to Architect Louis Sullivan. Mark that PP4U don't give one more weight than the other, both are unity, the differentiation just helps to be clear in the mind about what we want from a building (or other item).
2 If MobyDream™ and if the customer only pays the default (recycable) material. Because otherwise we are happy to use SIPs inside an exact match steel structure hand-welded by us.
In other words: The materials we use always depend on what the customer wants. We are utmost flexible to your specific needs.
3 In the USA alone each year more than 6,000 people die and an additional 100,000 are injured in homes of wooden structure.
4 Although bricks are commonly made of the most abundant materials on earth (clay-bearing soil, shale, sand, and lime), these natural materials are made inert since bricks are produced by vitrification: fusing the materials together in a furnace at 1,100°C. With building materials, always be sure to check both: material substance, and production/processing. The latter often is the killer, in the worst case, literally.
5 Concrete is a composite material made of water, aggregate, and cement (see next). Concrete is the second most used material for construction in the world, after water.
6 Cement is a fine powder made of limestone and other minerals, which absorbs water and acts as a binder. The cement industry is one of the biggest producers of CO2. Now you understand: If we people could learn to use other building materials (incl. but not limited to discarded ocean containers) then we would yield our biggest contribution to end global warming!
7 Hempcrete has been in use in Europe for 30 years in building construction and is only now catching up in the USA as well. Hempcrete is chipped hemp bark, lime binder, and water mixed together and dried to become a strong, stonelike substance that's fireproof, mold-proof, and insect-proof.
8 Note that where you risk condensation in the home interior you are responsible for the immediate consequences for wellbeing (fungal growth, dizziness, fatigue etc) and for the longterm consequences for wellbeing (eczema, respiratory problems incl. asthma, rust and material failure, vermin habitat, etc).
9 Indeed, drywall is the most popular interior walling among the ordinary construction companies: it's cheap.
10 Be aware that natural materials aren't necessarily always healthy: Asbestos, which solely consists of naturally occurring silicate minerals, is a perfect example.
11 Remember here that it always only becomes widely known retrospectively that a certain construction material is harmful to our health! Again, the for 200 years immensely popular asbestos serves as perfect example. Our wording "widely known" is conscious choice: Even with asbestos as building material its detrimental health effects were known among those who worked with it before it even started to become a popular home construction material! See the same source linked.
12 The popular manmade but so often harmful construction materials are cheaper throughout: that's why they have been made.
But they aren't so much cheaper that indifferent customers cannot be convinced to opt for more sustainable and healthier materials. Just note that at this last link they are wrong as regards #5, #6, #9, and #12 of their unnumbered list...
13 And only those that for scientific reasons (their substance and their processing!) cannot retrospectively become "known to be harmful".
14 Or worse: that are those very companies, or are investors in them.
15 We are lucky here, yes: Portugal and Spain have vast and diverse natural resources. Everything from sheep wool to cork (for so much more than insulation, up to and including an entire cork home, and produced without binders), from clay and the whole array of stone types incl. its large marble quarries, to a vast array of wood types.
Indeed, solid wood supply is huge across Portugal and in the Algarve and neighboring Alentejo and in Spain: Foresting is business here. We will be using local solid/genuine wood where suitable for the particular customer's home and finances.
16 Up to the metal wall, which gets its own passive ventilation system.
Paradise Portugal 4U can offer a warranty above and beyond the warranty routinely given on traditional new builds, which typically is split by type of needed work, like this:
|Typical Builder's Warranty|
|1Y warranty||labor and materials|
|2Y warranty||mechanical defects: plumbing, electrical, heating, air conditioning, and ventilation systems|
|10Y warranty||structural defects|
In fact, in Portugal the law is this:
|1Y warranty||any minor defects that occur within a year of moving in|
|2Y warranty||installed equipment|
|10Y warranty||structural defects|
Paradise Portugal 4U however can offer its customers a much better, trueWARRANTY™ like this:
|2Y warranty||labor and materials|
|3Y warranty||mechanical defects: plumbing, electrical, heating, air conditioning, and ventilation systems|
|30Y warranty||structural defects|
Why we can offer a warranty above and beyond the warranty routinely given on traditional new builds and beyond the law:
Notwithstanding the above, we have the standard industry exclusions.
Since the first exclusion appears to be the most common warranty claim in the construction industry overall, for the benefit of clarity we have right away explained in the respective footnote why we have to make that exclusion too.
1 The structural base is corten steel at a strength between 6mm/gauge 2 (corner posts, cross-members, sills, ribs) and a minimum of 1.6mm/gauge 14 (the thinnest/flat part of corrugated walls).
These sea-worthy containers are routinely stacked up to 7 levels high (and on the largest vessels up to 12 levels high) on ocean vessels that at up to 30 degree slanting position get constantly hit by the forces of waves and swells that cause earthquake-like conditions even without that a wave is breaking onto the container-laden vessel in perpendicular or broadside or oblique orientation (which at times happens too, of course).
2 Note here that, as explained earlier, any structural changes we make to the containers are replaced with stronger (thicker) steel than we take out, and they get welded just like the container itself is a result of weld work also.
Meaning, the steel structure remains at least as strong as it was in its original state. However, say windows and your interior belongings obviously can never be as strong as the steel structure. And so a MobyDream™ can be relocated globally, but sea voyages in particular must be carefully planned to avoid damage to your belongings.
3 In addition to the all-too-common quality issues in the construction industry, this of course also results in their higher prices: All of those subcontractors add their own profit margins - on top of which the main contractor that's facing the customer then adds their "subcontractor management fee" of another ~15%. Now you understand why, like for like, other builders are so much more costly overall than PP4U is for you.
4 Remember here that at the time of the two progress payments to be made we invite the customer onto the company premises to review the work done (and if they so wish, to make late amendments to their earlier agreed house plan), plus a third time the customer is invited before we disassemble the finished home to transport and reassemble it on the customer's plot. And once we are ready there, the customer enjoys the fourth opportunity to review the work done.
We don't know of any other residential builder that takes it so serious to build exactly what the customer wants. If you know of one please send us the link, thank you.
5 Indeed: Disputes over the contract's scope of work represented by the plans and specifications, often modified several times during ongoing construction... are the most common cause of dispute over a construction project.
6 This indeed is the most common neglect of occupants: Lack of ventilation and too high relative humidity of the indoor air. Both of this causes damage to residential building materials:
For both human health and comfort as well as for the longevity of the materials commonly found in residential buildings, proper ventilation (and possibly using a dehumidifier) should maintain a relative air humidity level of 30% to 50% when the home can be kept below 22C maximum home temperature. That's a challenge at best. Because all of this contribute to high indoor air humidity:
Understandably there is no way for any builder (professional or DIY) to control all occupants' use and maintenance of a home on an ongoing basis. We believe this is why these exclusions exist industry-wide.
And so to help our customers as much as economically feasible, we advise every customer to agree to top quality materials wherever possible, and we have designed and engineered the most effective passive ventilation system specifically for this building type that does as much as it can when the occupants forget to verify adequate ventilation and humidity levels in the home. Particularly in adverse weather conditions.
Either way, regardless of any company's warranty: For customers matters how a company actually acts on a warranty given, and we believe we always have the honest customer's best interest at heart: trueWARRANTY™.
While on customer request we may consider to offer financing, our payment terms are as follows:
|35%||due to start construction|
|30%||when ready for roofing|
|30%||when ready for windows/doors|
|final 5%||after delivery, successful reassembly, and final fourth customer approval|
Whether or not the customer can make time to follow our three invitations to review project progress milestones on company premises before making the next progress payment, we do document project progress both visually and in writing to demonstrate ongoing development commitment to the câmara - which in general speeds up the customer plot's development permit.
This ongoing documentation also serves the handover certificate for the time of MobyDream™ delivery.
And finally, this ongoing documentation makes clear the agreed scope of work at each point in time during the build, and so it avoids the most common warranty claims that are based on one's tricked memory what has been agreed.
Possibly the most important tip for foreigners coming to Portugal we found at the end of this page:
"Do not rush. If you are in a rush, slow down. Most things in Portugal move slowly (except the traffic, of course), so to make the most of your visit go with the flow, rather than against it."
Portugal is not as tranquil as the Isle of Wight (UK) but the Portuguese in general know how to enjoy life, not to rush it.
You live once, make the most of it.
The same page actually has more good quotes:
"The Portuguese are very proud of their small but honoured country"
because they haven't forgotten what visitors should know:
"the Portuguese are very proud of their 'discoveries'. In 1415, the Portuguese set sail on an epic voyage that would make them the first to discover the ocean routes to India, Brazil, China and Japan, and at the same time founded settlements on the east and west coasts of Africa."
And so please: "Do not assume that Portugal is part of Spain, as this is considered to be offensive to the Portuguese."
Oh and here a final wise advice from the same page:
"Avoid driving, as it can be stressful. The Portuguese are big Formula 1 fans and it shows. Road signs, although much improved of late, can also send you for a spin."
If we may add our own advice here: Whether you drive, cycle, or walk in Portugal, for safety reasons do expect that drivers of cars and even large trucks (illegally) use their phone and noticeably may not even see you. And all this while tailgaiting, and together exceeding the speed limit... by up to 100% in town!
Did someone just mention "The Portuguese are big Formula 1 fans"? "and it shows"
You may like to check out our huge and ever growing Pictured Pinterest Presence (or PPP :-) with over 100 boards and 1000s of informative Portugal photos or "pins", including: