Thus, one thing is certain: the situation regarding the accommodation of refugees was tense, the transit centers of the cantons were largely overcrowded. In the canton of Bern, emergency law was even used, as the accommodation reserves were completely exhausted and no more places were available in asylum shelters. To prevent homelessness, the municipalities were forced to help - at least 800 additional places were needed quickly, according to the migration service of the canton of Bern, according to an article in the NZZ. To be able to provide them, the municipalities had to open civil defense facilities. But even that would not be enough in the long run.
The accommodation problem is urgent: housing for refugees must be created. What solutions are most economical?
In the face of adversity, municipalities, aid organizations and foundations have come up with new ideas. For example, the IKEA Foundation has designed self-build huts for around 1,200.- chf. At 500.- chf per place including bed and wardrobe, they are very cheap - but they are only a substitute for tents and thus an absolutely short-term emergency solution. Because the huts made of plastic have a short life span - the investment fizzles out after a few months. In addition, they are not insulated, cannot be heated and have to be installed in halls, as was once the case in an empty factory hall in the canton of Aargau. As far as kitchen and sanitary facilities etc. are concerned, the same problems arise as without such houses. The situation is even more drastic in the case of accommodation in army tents, which are also only suitable for summer use. Considerable follow-up investments are therefore necessary to accommodate the refugees adequately. Such "lightning solutions" became necessary because for too long there was a failure to create sustainable places for refugees in time.
"Cheap modules" as a solution? Cheap does not pay off: high follow-up costs, short service life
Especially as emergency housing, modules are a frequently used solution - additional living space and usable space can be provided very quickly for refugees and asylum seekers. Containers are cost-effective and can be erected at almost any location. The construction of residential containers as emergency housing is also a fast and economical alternative to conventional house construction.
But beware: investors who are forced to make quick decisions should keep one thing in mind: the "cheapest" version of containers requires low initial costs - but it is not the most economical solution. This is because low prices always mean low quality levels.
The very low-cost container models are poorly insulated, resulting in high heating costs in the cooler months and high energy costs for air conditioning in the warmer months. In addition, the lifespan of low-cost containers is very limited, so the investment is used up after only a short period of use. In addition, there are intangible criteria that can have further negative financial consequences: Just like tent cities made of army tents and other camps, cheap containers lack any homely atmosphere - from the inside as well as from the outside. And the fact that this can lead to high levels of discontent and riots with incalculable consequential costs, especially in the case of extraordinary challenges such as the current refugee crisis, is shown anew every day in the media.
The long-term economic alternative: High-quality containers - good quality and low follow-up costs
Compared to cheap containers, higher quality modules offer a very long service life and can be repurposed as needed at any time. Quality modules are well insulated, so energy costs for heating and cooling are correspondingly low. In addition, they allow the residents sufficient privacy and a good living environment, so they are conducive to a more conflict-free coexistence. Appropriate housing of refugees and asylum seekers in modules can largely prevent the riots triggered by frustration and discontent.