The system can be thought of as a digital ‘Lego’, or as oversized flat pack furniture. Digital designs use a combination of standardised parts to achieve the customisable design outputs.


These digital drawings then form cutting lists for each component part. Each cutting list is based on the most efficient layout of parts on standard sheets to minimise any wastage of material.


The components are then rapidly assembled like a large flat-pack, to millimeter precision. They can be assembled by any able-bodied person, even if they do not have traditional construction skills. This makes it ideal for self builders.


FAB-HAB Project tiny buildings do not require conventional concrete groundworks (foundations), instead making use of ground-level pad foundations or steel piles. Both of these reduce skills required, as well as carbon impact.


The principle of material specification is in line with FAB-HAB's goals. We seek to specify materials that are carbon neutral / climate positive and easily recyclable at end of life. This principle of selection will apply not only to their manufacture, their sourcing and transport, but also to wider supply chains.


Material selection will also be measured against availability of each item. A key benefit of the FAB-HAB system is its accessibility to all, which will be achieved by avoiding the use of specialist materials in favour of those readily available through local builders' merchants or online suppliers. This also keeps costs down.


The FAB-HAB system is derived from the world's first open-source, digitally-manufactured build system. It comprises an adaptable range of standardised timber parts, which can be locally fabricated for simple, rapid assembly. This means each building can be unique without costing more - we call this approach mass customisation (just like the design and specification of a Mini).


FAB-HAB Project aims to take the open-source framework a step further, by modelling and developing a high performance, zero-carbon outcome without the need for specialist technical solutions or specialised trades - we believe this is a unique approach.



The basic principles of the system are as follows:


The files are then sent for local digital CNC (Computer Numerical Control) fabrication.

A "micro factory" capable of creating FAB-HAB component parts can be set up at a fraction of the size and cost of a traditional prefabrication facility, or users can use one of the many hundreds of CNC fabricators that already exist up and down the country. As a rule of thumb, each sheet typically costs around £20 to buy and takes 15-30 minutes to manufacture using a CNC machine.

The core system is cut and constructed from standard 1220x2440x18mm sheets of structural OSB (Orientated Strand Board) or structural plywood, both of which are sourced from managed, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified sources.


The benefit of using standard sheet material is that all the parts, once cut, can be stored efficiently, and are lightweight enough to be easily transported prior to assembly.


FAB-HAB buildings will be constructed in high-quality, well specified materials that have the lowest instance of VOC's (Volatile Organic Compounds), both embodied in the material and in potential off-gassing.


Wherever possible, we will seek to use natural materials such as timber, hemp and sheeps wool insulation which will limit any harmful particles both in manufacturing and in occupancy of the building.


In order to maximise thermal comfort and minimise any detrimental effect on occupants' health, our buildings will be insulated beyond the current Building Regulations requirements, as well as being air-tight, which will ensure they are easy, quick and cost effective to heat and cool.


We will specify our buildings to have suitable Mechanical Heat Recovery and Ventillation (MVHR) systems to ensure that they have an adequate supply of fresh air, without the loss of any indoor heat.


Interior material finishes will have a predisposition towards light natural timbers which have been proven to lower the sympathetic nervous system within humans, which in turn can reduce stress, increase feelings of calmness, innovation, energy and comfort.


We also aim to ensure that our buildings are affordable, well designed, desirable, and pleasing, to ensure that the occupants have a sense of place/belonging as well as a sense of pride in their outcome.


Cost will always depend on your design, specification and how much work you do for yourself. We believe in making costs transparent so you can make informed decisions. In most areas, overall cost is estimated to be approximately 35% less that 'conventional' building methods.


The building will be faster and easier to build making large savings on labour, more customisable, more sustainable and higher performing. Because the building is engineered to millimetre precision and digitally modelled prior to construction, the cost estimation will be much more predictable, with lower inherrent risk than building using conventional materials and methods.

© 2020 FAB-HAB Project Ltd