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Retailer unboxes DIY flat-pack homes

Retail

Plenty of companies sell log cabin kits. But Argos seems to be the first major retailer to market an attractive and affordable model that reportedly can be built in two days by just two people. The British retailer’s basic five-room cabin, measuring roughly 32×17 feet or 8×5 meters, costs GBP 10,999. An upgraded model, with amenities such as laminate floors with in-floor heating, costs GBP 13,099. Both models are suitable for year-round living and are made by Finnish forestry company Finnforest using wood from sustainable forests. Argos’ cabins open up several new-business opportunities. For starters, there’s likely a much larger market for ready-to-move-in cabins than for cabins that must first be put together, however easy their assembly might be. Thus, one option would be to buy the kits, assemble them and then resell the homes. The cabins’ low price coupled with their short assembly time would make the potential profit margin a lot greater than would be the case with conventionally built homes that require weeks to build. And the second opportunity: buy a dozen or so cabins and create a turnkey resort. That’s what another low-cost home manufacturer Bamboo Living suggests. The Hawaii-based company’s kit homes are manufactured in Vietnam out of fast-growing eco-friendly bamboo and shipped worldwide. Bamboo Living has already spearheaded resorts in Bali, Belize, the Cook Islands, Hawaii and Vietnam. (IKEA’s fast-selling BoKlok prefabs, on the other hand, aren’t DIY—the homes are assembled by local builders.) Two things to remember before launching into any venture involving prefab dwellings. First, check local building codes carefully, as kit homes employ non-traditional construction methods. Likewise, be sure to factor in the kinds of costs associated with any building project, such as site surveys, utility hook-ups and permitting. Spotted by: Maria Dahl Jørgensen

Website: www.argos.co.uk

Contact: www.argos.co.uk/static/StaticDisplay/includeName/ContactUs.htm

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