A complete house built and ready to move in in just 72 hours. That’s what Munitech, the Munich University technology department, claims can be achieved using its new ‘Schnellverbindung’ timber frame system.

Schnellverbindung – quick connection – comprises special ratchets which bolt to the edges of timber frame panels and other components. They connect by lowering one down on to the other, locking the panels together.

Each ratchet can also include a variety of service (gas, electricity, fibre optic, telecommunications, water) connections, so the house is plumbed and wired in as it is built.

‘We are also working on a variant of Schnellverbindung to include large gauge connections for drainage,’ said Frank Prochiner of Munitec.

The system spells rapid construction, with very little finishing work on site.

‘Builders could give customers a three-day holiday as part of the sales package. When they return, their house would be complete!’ said Mr Prochiner.

Munitec is still working on the system – looking at the option of making the ratchets in plastic, steel or aluminium, for instance – but believes it will soon be in commercial use.

‘We’re talking with a number of builders and they’re getting in a race to use it,’ said Mr Prochiner. ‘We’re also talking to the United Nations about using the system for emergency, temporary housing in disaster areas. But that’s not to say this a temporary housing system. In fact, we’re also looking at its potential for building in earthquake areas. The slight give allowed by the panel attachments means that houses should withstand tremors well.’