The UK property market could be in for a twist as a revolutionary new folding home that can construct itself in just eight minutes, without the need for builders or cranes, is being developed.
The ultimate flat-pack item, made by British company Ten Fold Engineering, is a low-cost home that arrives on the back of a truck to any location and can unfurl itself into a turnkey property at the press of a button – then back up again just as easily.
The customisable properties expand to three times its folded size to a 64 metre-squared space with pre-installed fixtures and fittings and rooms ready for owners to move in and start using. The buildings are powered and even furnishings, which come stored away during its folded state, can come with the units.
Aside from the speed and convenience of not requiring manpower to unpack or the need to create foundations, the clever collapsible units come with a reasonable starting price of around £100,000 and don't need owners to buy land – something that will widen the eyes of first-time buyers.
Inventor and architect David Martyn, who has been working on the design for seven years, said he was inspired by the idea to create the transforming homes after his children, who pay high rents in London, saw a truck drive past and thought whether flat-pack technology could work.
"The idea is that this technology could easily make a £100,000 home affordable. It could make the option for someone to own a building who doesn't own the land," Martyn said.
"It will allow the young to get a building without owning the land, it changes the dynamics of the market, which does need to change, because it is a transportable property asset."
Owners can create interchangeable floorplans to suit their needs and upgrade or add on more components such as more windows, steps and balconies as they wish.
The Ten Fold design isn't just limited to housing, though. The company's creation could be used for pop-up shops, medical centres, classrooms, security centres and medical labs. Also the folding technology can be applied to create mobile stadium seating, observation decks, bridges and solar panel platforms, among many other things.
One of the most impressive demonstrations of the technology is found on its concept Tree House, which reveals a giant modern structure transform from just a cube.
Currently, the Ten Fold design is still in the concept stage, with only six working prototypes made so far. With funding from private investors it has been able to work on bringing the product to market and is currently involved with a project in South Africa that could see 3,000 of the folding domiciles built.