An Australian company is building kit homes for a cyclone-ravaged Pacific island from laminated veneer lumber and a wood-plastic composite.
The design team's ultimate aim is to use 100 percent recycled plastic to construct homes and other buildings for poor communities around the world that are affected by natural disasters, but it is still working on getting the right technology.
Brisbane-based Nevhouse Pty. Ltd. has delivered 15 buildings to Tanna Island, off Vanuatu, which was devastated by Tropical Cyclone Pam in March 2015.
Architect Ken McBryde, a principal with Hassell Pty. Ltd.'s Sydney design studio, told Plastics News he has been working with Nevhouse's founder Nev Hyman for four years.
They initially assembled a team of polymer experts with the aim of developing a single composite extrusion to make floors, roofs, walls and louvers that could be flatpacked for export and easily assembled on site by people with minimal trade skills.
“That was the aim, but we found contaminants in the plastic wouldn't give us long-term resistance to creep,” McBryde said.
“No matter which polymers we combined or additives we explored, for the long-term structural stiffness we need to make housing, we had to accept that recycled plastic waste really was just rubbish.”