Pros and Cons of Floating Building

Saad Iqbal | 🗓️Modified: June 5, 2022 | ⏳Time to read:9 min

Buildings on water sound like the plot of an imaginative science fiction novel. But in reality, floating buildings  and floating architecture are becoming increasingly popular around the world. But still a lot of homeowners are looking to find pros and cons of floating buildings.

There are many factors to consider when building floating buildings.

But they have many benefits that could revolutionize construction and give us more space in our cities.

Here’s what you need to know about floating buildings:

Should You Build a Floating Building? Pros and Cons to Consider

Floating buildings have recently been gaining traction in the architecture world. It offers some interesting advantages over regular land-based structures.

There has been much hype about floating buildings lately, especially with the recent rise of global sea levels.

But this begs the question – would cities be better off building on water rather than land?

Floating Building

A Floating building is a structure with a floatation system at its base and is transferred to desired location with the help of a ship and it cannot move under its own power.

A floating building is a structure that rests on water, as opposed to being built on solid ground. The concept is not entirely new, but it’s becoming more common as construction technology advances.

In fact, some people are even choosing to live on their floating buildings full-time. However, while building your home on water may sound appealing at first glance—and a luxury that only movie stars can afford—it has many drawbacks that you should consider before moving in.

Some of these disadvantages include noise pollution and storm surges, which often lead to flooding when strong winds blow against their structures; unfortunately, both can happen quite frequently in highly populated areas like coastal cities.

These type of building structures can be built off site and then towed into location.

Due to large climate change and rise in sea level world is shifting towards floating buildings design. It also protects environment and fulfill the need of residence by providing this type of residential buildings with beautiful sea views and location.

Floating Building Pros and Cons
Floating Building Pros and Cons

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Principle of floating buildings

Floating buildings does not require land or soil to transfer dead and live loads of structure. A floating building works on principle of buoyancy proposed by Archimedes.

Base of structure should be designed in such a way that it helps in floating and to transfer the dead and live loads of structure to water with displacement of water which create a buoyant force to take building loads.

Advantages of Floating buildings

If you’re considering building or living in a floating structure, however, it’s important to take into account some of the major pros and cons of floating buildings before you make your decision.

 Fuel cost Saving

Floating buildings are towed into location and then it is moored or anchored. There is no permanent mobility of structure. So, it saves cost of fuel by fixing at one location.

Shifting of floating building

One of the main benefits of these types of structures is that they can be shifted to a new place with the help of a boat so that one can enjoy different places and views according to his desire.

Also Read: 11 Basic Components of a Building (Must Know)

Fast construction

Floating structures can be built more quickly than conventional buildings, as they can be assembled on-site. Manufacturers can also prefabricate floating buildings, speeding up construction times even further.

Construction isn’t just quick, it’s also cost-effective: By eliminating foundations and other hidden costs in traditional building processes, floating structures are about 50% cheaper to build.

Landfill space is no longer needed

All over our planet, landfills are being built as old ones fill up. These ugly grey mountains take up a great deal of space in what would otherwise be useable land. With an increase in population, there has been a spike in need for these large sites to hold our waste.

Also Read: Fire hazard in a buildings – Causes – Examples

While many see them as necessary to clean up our environment, floating building systems might just be another solution to cut down on their use. What exactly is a floating building? A floating building is one that is not anchored to any ground structure; it floats freely.


Overpopulation demands

World population is increasing very fast. According to recent study it is estimated that world population will grow up to 8.5 billion in 2030 and to fulfill the demands of population there is a need to shift on this floating building innovation.

Environmental protection

Currently our earth environment is in destroying stage due to large population and decreasing of earth natural condition. A large and massive concrete structure are destroying our earth natural beauty and making our earth impervious and disturbing hydrological cycle.

By shifting towards floating buildings, we can protect our earth natural environment.

Less construction cost

These types of structures are made of wood and other light material which does not cost too much. While concrete structures are heavy and create large environmental issues. The floating structures are made of wood and light timbers which can reduce the construction cost of house and saving of resources.

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Minimize disturbance to ecosystem

Due to overpopulation, we are moving towards deforestation to meet the demands of population. we are destroying the natural habitat and homes of animals and due to which species are decreasing very fast. By shifting towards floating building technique, we can protect our ecosystem.

Forest conservation

Forests are decreasing at rapid rate globally due to conversion of forest area in urban cities which is affecting our environment and climate badly. By establishing cities on seaside, we can reduce the load of population and create space for afforestation and conserve environment.

Resiliency to natural disasters

As climate change alters our planet’s weather patterns, natural disasters like flooding and earthquakes will become more common. Countries around the world are already taking action to harden their cities against seismic events. The Netherlands is experimenting with floating buildings, as well as architecture designed to absorb shockwaves from tsunamis or neighboring countries that have been struck by an earthquake.

Adaptive reuse of existing industrial sites

While some construction is necessary to begin building a floating city, many floating cities are built on top of existing old industrial sites. They use barge or raft-based building methods that can be used in tidal or non-tidal waters. This allows for cheap construction from recycled materials and reduces impact on prime real estate near popular tourist locations.

Since most of these buildings were established as factories, docks, etc., it makes sense to reuse them for alternative purposes when no longer useful for their original intent.

New technologies can also be utilized with adaptive reuse; providing power from renewable sources, solar panels to provide heat/cooling in conjunction with water tanks collecting rainwater, water purification systems utilizing waste products like fish (or poop) among other potential sources.

Increases open space in dense cities

By building on pontoons in water, a floating city can have a lot more open space per person than any traditional landlocked city. If you’re living in cramped quarters in an urban environment, maybe it’s time to give these floating cities some thought!

Disadvantages of floating buildings

More living cost

The living cost of floating houses is more as compared to land houses. The floating house are on water with less facilities available due to which one must pay large amount each month for mooring, electricity, sewage, water, and other utilities.

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Severe Weather conditions

The seaside sometimes faces a severe weather condition due to which a floating homeowner can face a lot of issues. To face the severe weather, the floating homes need to be designed accordingly so that they protected by extreme weather condition which take extra cost and resources.

Floating Building advantages
Floating Building advantages

Increase Maintenance

The floating buildings need maintenance or regular basis as compared to land houses because water can be devastating to a structure in case of any type of structural failure.

Less service Life

As we know that these types of structure are made of wood and float on water. Due to this reason the service life of these structures is less as compared to concrete structures made on land.

Some examples of floating buildings in the world

Here’re some notable floating architectures in the world:

  • Floating School in Makoko / NLÉ Architects – A three-phase project, the Makoko Floating School was built with design input from NLE Architects and help from UNDP and the Heinrich Boell Foundation from Germany.
  • Jellyfish Barge / Studiomobile – Jellyfish Barge. A modular greenhouse mounted on a floating base, able to guarantee water and food security without impacting on existing resources.
  • The Hasle Harbour Bath / White – This bay is actually a floating platform within the breakwaters. The Harbour Bath is a meeting point in the water where all sorts of people can bathe, relax, and enjoy the view of the sea and sunsets. Hasle Harbour Bath encompasses a wooden platform for bathing and two observation towers situated between breakwaters.
  • Floating Piers / Christo & Jeanne-Claude – Christo and Jeanne-Claude collaborated to design a site-specific, temporary art piece called the Floating Piers which consisted of 70,000 square meters of yellow fabric and was installed in Lake Iseo in 2016.

Is it worth it?

Everything in this world has some benefits and some pitfalls. Floating buildings concept provide a large benefit. Some of these include sunrise and sunset views, comfort, noise free areas, protection to environment and alternative to meet the residence demand of large population. While on the other hand it is challenging in terms of weather condition, large living and maintenance cost.

Saad Iqbal is a professional civil engineering and freelance write. He's passionate about structures, construction management, and home improvement topics. He's been working as a Senior Engineer in a consultant firm for over 8 years. Besides he loves writing informative and in-depth content focused on construction and home-related topics. You can catch him at his linkedin page or reach out via our contact us page.

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