A young Fort Myers, Fla.-based outfit is using pultrusion technology from the aerospace industry to make profiles designed to replace wood and steel in home construction, and to comprise structures strong enough to withstand catastrophic hurricane- force winds and seismic activity.
In addition to claiming superior strength, homes built with Composite Building Structures Ltd.'s glass fiber-reinforced polyester panels exhibit many of the same benefits as other polymer-based building materials designed to replace wood and steel. CBS claims that its homes have good thermal insulation and are impervious to threats like moisture, mildew, insects and long-term degradation.
CBS is using a third-party pultruder Kissimmee-based SCS Tropical Homes then fabricating entire wall panels with the profiles, complete with windows, doors, insulation, electrical boxes and interior and exterior wall sheeting in a quality controlled factory environment.
For a standard, rectangle 2,000-square-foot home, CBS Homes can have four walls erected in under an hour, James Antonic, CBS president and CEO, said in a Sept. 29 telephone interview.
The process cuts about 70 percent of the labor from home construction and assumes the role of about seven different trades by incorporating so much of the work in the factory.
The net result of using composites profiles, Antonic said, is that for every ton of fiberglass material used, builders are replacing 17 tons of wood, and for a hurricane construction build, 41 tons of concrete block.
Once erected, builders use their regular finishing crews to put the finishing interior and exterior touches on the homes.
The homes have a 50-year warranty, but can last 400-500 years, Antonic said.
The company can pultrude the various profiles for a given job and have the panels fabricated for a home order in about two weeks.
Part of CBS Homes' initial growth strategy is to target areas recovering from hurricanes, like greater New Orleans and parts of Mexico, as well as areas prone to tropical storm damage.
It's designed to take hurricane-type force winds, John Busel, director of Composites Growth Initiative at the Arlington, Va.-based American Composites Manufacturers Association, said in an Oct. 2 telephone interview. There is a lot of potential there. [CBS is] very unique in trying to position a kind of modular building system using pultrusion, patented structural shapes and specialty configurations, where you can assemble a 2,000-square-foot house in four hours.
It is the pultrusion technology that gives CBS Homes the performance edge in conditions hazardous to stick-built and concrete block homes, Antonic said.
If designers, the building community and potential home buyers are willing to buy in to the paradigm shift, technologies and engineering solutions by companies like CBS Homes will forever change the face of homebuilding.
Our engineering is set up in this plant to make up to 10 houses per shift that's about 30 per day, Antonic said. It's a different approach. It's how you make a car. It's not magic. That one profit coming out the end will be able to provide a superior home at a competitive cost.
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