FLOATING AND MOVING
Dr K M Soni, Chief Engineer, CPWD, Western
Zone I, Mumbai
“Floating” term in the foundation
engineering is used when the soil
beneath the footing does not experience
any extra load, as the load of the
structure is equal or less than the soil
Floating houses are similar in concept
and normally defined those houses
which are constructed on water in a way
that the load of the structure is equal or
less than the uplift force of the water
which helps in floating the house on
Types of Floating Houses
There are two types of floating
houses, one which permanently float
other that float only during flood
waters else get placed on ground,
particularly during dry season if there
is no water.
House boats in Kashmir (www.holidayrentals.co.in)
Floating house on log raft (www.niftyhomestead.com)
Floating house on steel pontoon (www.pinterest.com)
Floating house on foam block (www.inspirationgreen.com)
Principle of floating houses
Floating houses do not require
foundation and are based on the
principle of buoyancy thus are also
called buoyant homes. Thus the base of
the structure should be such that it helps
in floating as well is able to take the dead
load of the house, live load and other
loads to be encountered by the house.
The houses may be constructed on
boats, hollow pipes, light weight pads
and similar materials which help in the
floating as well taking up loads.
Flotation Systems being used include
log floats, solid Styrofoam encased in
rubber, foam filled steel pontoons,
concrete pontoons, concrete and
foam, wood and foam, polyethylene
shell with solid core polystyrene block
moulded inside, fibreglass etc.
Floating house on concrete tubes (www.niftyhomestead.com)
Principle of Vertically moving
A steel frame that holds the flotation
blocks is attached to the underside of
the house. There are four 'vertical
guidance' poles not far from the
corners of the house. The tops of the
poles are attached to the steel frame.
The poles telescope out of the ground,
allowing the house to move up and
Floating houses/amphibious homes (www.niftyhomestead.com)
New Water, Netherland, floating apartment complex
All the pipes, ducts and wires for water, gas,
electricity and sewage disposal in such
amphibious homes are flexible, designed to
remain functional even when the house rises
several metres from its usual position.
Solar panels are provided for the energy
Incinolet toilets which burn waste are
Drinking water is collected from rainstorms
and filtered into a glass partition wall inside.
The inner temperature is regulated in a case
by a geothermal pond loop.
Life in a floating houses
Low storage space
Safe during floods
Need for floating houses
The sea level is said to have risen by
20 centimetres in the last century and
is expected to rise by three times that
amount in the 21st century. Therefore
floating houses will not just be a
fashionable lifestyle but a necessity.
Safe in flood prone areas during
Envelope of the houses can be
fabricated, shown to the customer and
towed to the site. The whole structure
will require to be anchored to the
foundation. In future, if house owner
wants to shift it, it can be dismantled
and re-installed at other place.
Interiors can be placed as per the
requirements through modular parts
like kitchen, baths etc.
India has islands, coastal areas and
areas highly prone to floods.
Therefore, there is a need to construct
floating houses and have expertise in
this type of construction.
There is a need to develop technology
for moving houses which can be
transported and constructed early
particularly during disasters or when
required to be shifted due to other