Case Plutitoare



1. Reinforcement of the floater   The idea evolved from a vacation house located in the Danube Delta, closer to water, with a certain advantage to be placed in different locations, depending on the season or the interest of tourists. The classic version of pontoon, requires periodic maintenance works on his metal floats and there are difficulties from a technical standpoint and of course very expensive. The most common problem is that the interior of the pontoon cannot be verified, so that the corrosion becomes the 'invisible' enemy of this type of structure. For these reasons, we opted for a floater from a special material to ensure, simultaneously, several advantages, respetively the reinforced concrete.
   The next step was the execution of a model, on small-scale, that had to meet the basic desire, that being: IMPERMEABILITY. Reinforced concrete, in the classical way, is a permeable material so we searched for 'substitutes' which we had to transform under the form of material that cannot pass water.
   This model was kept floating on water more than two weeks, during this time there was no observation of water infiltration inside. Then, we could guarantee the success of this experiment that we started working intensively on a project execution, in all its complexity and novelty.

2. The formwork and the floater's casting

   The advantages of reinforced concrete floater are:
     - No maintenance costs for it's exploitation duration
     - Given the much higher weight compared to a metal float, the center of gravity of the whole ensemble is closer to the water level where the advantage of being more stable to the influence of waves or the pressure of wind ( sail effect )
     - It has the shape of a rectangular vat, open at the top and the interior is used for technological facilities of the house (tank for sewage pumps, space for storing the location of electric power batteries, etc.)
     - Ability to inspect inside the float and take immediate action in the event of any problems.
   The project presented here is a floating building consisting of ground floor and first floor on a zinc-coated metal frame profile, lightweight, closed perimeter and a roof made from sandwich panels.

3. The floater after de-formwork

   The construction of this house began in September 2009, being performed along the Danube Delta river, arm of St. George, in Victoria city from Tulcea country.
   Comparing to a house 'on earth', this project is different in following aspects:
     - the design must be in according with both rules strength, stability and safety rules for vessels and specific criteria for civil constructions.
     - technical solutions for utilities are completely different because there is no possibility to attach common utilities such as water, sewerage, electricity, heat, etc.
     - keeping the building from a relatively fixed point on a watercourse requires specific solutions for anchoring on shore such as: maintaining a safe distance from the shore to prevent submergence, the achievement of a safe access, etc.

4. Beginning of the superstructure execution

To achieve the construction we used:
   - Reinforced concrete with special features.
   - Zinc-coated steel profiles, assembled by welding.
   - Closed exterior sheet sandwich panels type and polyurethane foam.
   - Wainscot PVC.
   - Laminate floor and linoleum.
   - Joiner PVC and insulated glass.
The location can be: natural or artificial lakes, on deep water courses to ensure a constant depth of 1 m, or Danube Delta.
Given both the technical difficulties and costs for transportation to any place the manufacture it is required to be made nearest to wather to be released.

5. Closing perimeter with sandwich panels

    After launching the house on water, the pontoon can be moved by attached to a trailer boat.
   The cost of the project is influenced by the rank of finishing, technical facilities, as well as the duration and energy autonomy ability, the average price being "ready" is approx. 1000 euro / square meter.
   The idea of such a floating houses, seems to spark an interest - at least conceptually. Most common expression was 'splendid idea!'. We wished to build this house, first as a technical challenge, and on the other hand, we were convinced that on scale 1:1 can be "touched" directly, and those who love will not had doubts about the possibility of being achived. Regarding to a possible business market we are optimistic, even if Romania is going through a difficult period right now.
   Such a construction, in that it floats on water, is totally protected from the effects of a possible earthquake.

6. The first release at the water !

   Regarding safety in operating we adopted from the beganing of project some solutions, such as:
   - For avoiding impacts with floating bodies are placed on the sides some 'grills' from rulers wooden which will prevent amortization of the eventual shocks.
   - Next to the house we also installed two bridge-floats also from reinforced concrete with elastic distancing elements, that are behaving like a dam for protection.
   - The concrete floater is divided into six sections, so if from an accident one compartment flooded, the other five will provide the buoyancy of the whole ensemble.
   - In each of the six sections are located pumps, which discharge water automatically in case of an infiltration.
   - The house stay permanently anchored to shore and in case of movement the persons are not allowed on board.

   Lighting is provided by LED lamps, extremely economicals, they are powered by batteries packs 12 V each. The batteries are loaded in turn, by a wind turbine and a group of photovoltaic panels. In case they do not provide the necessary power, at a time, there is a generator with heat engine.
   Domestic hot water is provided from three alternative sources: solar panel, central heating, instant gas. Heating during the cooler is powered by a heating radiators.
   Authorities in Romania were initially skeptical about the technical possibilities of achieving such a project, then, have shown interest in the item 'novelty', even if we encountered difficulties in the possibility to framed in nomenclature - 'house is not, ship is not'. Finally, we ware assimilated to the category of 'pontoon bedroom'.
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