Investing in, constructing, renting, and remodeling healthy multi-family living environments is still important and even more important now that the coronavirus has rubbed our faces in the dangers of living and working close to other people. Since more land has not materialized in most cities to give us more room to live on and in, builders and investors need to be creative about how to design or redesign compressed housing that will prevent and control the spread of an infection that is viable in air and on surfaces. People are and will be looking for homes that keep them safe from infection.
The Problem of Close Quarters
The necessity of elevators and lobbies, as well as the cost of swimming pools and on-site gyms they pay for but cannot use are scaring renters away from large apartment complexes. These are the places where dwellers must maneuver around each other in tight spaces, share air for minutes at a time, and touch buttons and handles others touched just moments ago.
Consider in Your Budget Some New Things
To update your multi-family housing project in this time of coronavirus spread, include in your remodeling budget something new, such as, touchless and voice technologies that can improve the safety of getting into or out of a home without touching contaminated surfaces, new air handling technologies that vent air to the outside and clean air within an elevator or other room after each use.
If your project has many units on multiple stories, you may need to consider some robotic or AI technology that will keep the number of occupants in an elevator down to one at a time. Perhaps the elevator itself could be modified into a capsule that only holds one person at a time, a capsule that could be disinfected and dried automatically between uses. Ah that will be expensive. Some complexes would require numerous elevator capsules.
It looks like fighting the virus will not be energy efficient. Supplying cleaner air includes containing contaminated air or exhausting it to the outdoors, diluting the virus in the air by injecting clean and filtered outdoor air, and cleaning the air within a room. Any of exchange of air with the outside will make temperature control more difficult and less energy efficient. Thus, to make your multi-family housing as safe as possible, you will likely need to install larger electrical capacity.
Smaller Price Tag for Separate Entrances
If a large complex seems to come with a price tag that is too high, there are smaller multi-family investment projects that have designs that handle the problem of indoor common areas by doing away with them. Small apartment buildings, duplexes, and joined houses work well as rental investments. They include individual entryways and even small yards or gardens.
Small units of 2 to 5 homes can easily be designed with individual outdoor entries that meet social distancing requirements. In one design I recently studied online at http://www.houseplans.com, the complex included 5 units. Each house was three stories, but the overall complex was only one housing unit tall. All homes included a ground-floor separate entrance. Those that had garages had two entrances counting the front door and an entrance from the garage.
Although this design might not be great for seniors because of the stairways, I found it a manageable complex size that allowed each home to be independent. Each unit in this design is roughly 1170 sq. feet with 2 beds, 2 baths, 3 floors, 1 garage, 3 levels, and separate outdoor entries. The garage and second bedroom or home office were on lower level. The living room, dining room, and kitchen with washer and dryer and utility room were on the second floor. The master bedroom, bath, walk-in closet and roof-top deck were on the third story. Five printed sets of plans cost $950.00.
If you need funding for your project, apply now. I am working online with the rest of you.
Patrick St. Cin
W – 512-213-2271