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Composites make light work of modular housing: four examples The construction of lightweight, prefabricated, quick toStartlink composite house built in UK .) ∑ Innovative Composites International Inc (ICI) produces modular homes using composite sandwich panels constructed from glass fibre reinforced polypropylene skins and a honeycomb core. The company has housing projects under development in a number of countries. (See: Innovative Composites to supply EcoScape modular housing to Brazil . ) " id="pdf-obj-0-2" src="pdf-obj-0-2.jpg">
Composites make light work of modular housing: four examples The construction of lightweight, prefabricated, quick toStartlink composite house built in UK .) ∑ Innovative Composites International Inc (ICI) produces modular homes using composite sandwich panels constructed from glass fibre reinforced polypropylene skins and a honeycomb core. The company has housing projects under development in a number of countries. (See: Innovative Composites to supply EcoScape modular housing to Brazil . ) " id="pdf-obj-0-4" src="pdf-obj-0-4.jpg">

Composites make light work of modular housing: four examples

The construction of lightweight, prefabricated, quick to install buildings is a logical application for composites, both for low cost permanent structures and emergency shelters.

They may not be the best-looking homes you'll ever see, but prefabricated composites structures are lightweight and therefore easy to transport and quick to install on site, requiring minimal labour and equipment and therefore lower cost.

Composites are corrosion and weather-resistant, and studies have shown that composite buildings are more energy-efficient than those built using traditional building materials.

Here are four examples:

Composites make light work of modular housing: four examples The construction of lightweight, prefabricated, quick toStartlink composite house built in UK .) ∑ Innovative Composites International Inc (ICI) produces modular homes using composite sandwich panels constructed from glass fibre reinforced polypropylene skins and a honeycomb core. The company has housing projects under development in a number of countries. (See: Innovative Composites to supply EcoScape modular housing to Brazil . ) " id="pdf-obj-0-16" src="pdf-obj-0-16.jpg">

Housing development company Larkfleet Homes has just built a Startlink demonstration house alongside its headquarters in Bourne, UK. The major components used in the house are pultruded glass reinforced composite modules which can be rapidly assembled into a wide variety of low-rise buildings, without metal fastenings. (See Startlink composite house built in UK.)

Innovative Composites International Inc (ICI) produces modular homes using composite sandwich panels constructed from glass fibre reinforced polypropylene skins and a honeycomb core. The company has housing projects under development in a number of countries. (See: Innovative Composites to supply EcoScape modular housing to Brazil .)

Inovatec System produces insulating sandwich panels with structural skins of glass/epoxy and a foam core. It says a standard house can be constructed from prefabricated elements in 1-3 days. (See Building on the advantages of composites in construction.)

SAFEHUT LLC manufactures collapsible, reusable composite shelters from FRP sandwich panels. The SAFEHUT system has a broad range of potential applications, including semi-permanent shelters for people displaced by natural disasters, construction site offices, and secure storage units. (See SAFEHUT composite shelter can be set up in 10 minutes.)

Housing development company Larkfleet Homes has constructed a Startlink test house, constructed using pultruded composite profiles, alongside its headquarters in Bourne, UK.

The Startlink House concept is a modular building in which all the parts are pre-fabricated and designed to fit together on site using minimal labour.

The major components used in the house are pultruded glass reinforced composite modules which can be rapidly assembled into a wide variety of low-rise buildings, without metal fastenings.

Larkfleet’s Startlink House weighs just 18 tonnes compared to a 40 tonne conventional house. Concrete foundations were not required.

Energy efficient, low cost housing

Startlink Lightweight Building Systems (SLBS) have been developed by a consortium of companies with funding from the UK government’s Technology Strategy Board.

Reduced emissions

Building Research Establishment (BRE) data show that 46% of carbon emissions in the UK arise from buildings in use. An additional 6 -7% emanates from building construction. Startlink would significantly reduce carbon emissions from dwellings in both the construction and use phases.

The consortium has created an energy-efficient, low cost housing method that is quick to build.

The SLBS processes and products, which Larkfleet helped to develop, provide the opportunity for housing to be constructed much faster, more energy-efficiently and at reduced costs in the future.

The Startlink partners are:

Exel Composites UK (project lead), which produced the pultruded composite

profiles; Odour Control Systems Ltd;

Warwick University, which carried out materials testing and verification;

Costain Group, a construction company which carried out the cost analysis; and

J A Hutchinson BSc, conservation architect.

Innovative Composites International Inc (ICI) has signed a cooperation agreement with contractor Millenium Brasil and Green Intelligence Corporation, a consulting company specialising in sustainable projects, to supply EcoScape™ modular homes for large housing projects in Brazil.

The EcoScape design is based on ICI's Structure Lite™ Panels. These composite panels are constructed from glass fibre reinforced polypropylene skins with honeycomb core.

According to the agreement, approximately US$160 million worth of EcoScape homes will be shipped to Brazil from ICI's South Carolina, USA, facility over the next three years. After that time, ICI will establish a manufacturing facility in Brazil in cooperation with Millenium and Greenco, subject to a minimum local demand for 10 000 000 ft 2 of housing annually.

ICI will ship a model home to Brazil in early 2012. It will begin regular shipments from its South Carolina facility once commercial production begins, probably in the first quarter of 2012.

The agreement plans a ramp up of 30 homes per week for the first 1000 homes, increasing to 50 homes per week thereafter.

Brazil's housing market

"EcoScape modular housing has all the attributes we were looking to service large scale demand in Brazil quickly," says Gustavo Cortês, legal representative of Greenco in Brazil.

"Its cost, speed of assembly, energy efficiency and versatility of appearance make it a great choice for the Brazilian market."

Brazil will host the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics. Under an ambitious accelerated-growth programme (Programa de Aceleração do Crescimento, or PAC) Brazil has laid down investment plans of more than US$800 billion for infrastructure, including approximately US$72 billion for Minha Casa, Minha Vida, which aims to build two million new homes for low-income families before 2014.

Building on the advantages of composites in construction

  • 23 August 2010

Richard Stewart

Construction is one of the largest markets for composites globally. While growth has slowed in regions hit by a decline in residential housing construction, including Europe and North America, China and other parts of Asia are experiencing strong growth in this market. Richard Stewart reports on trends in composites in construction and innovative applications utilising FRP materials.

SAFEHUT composite shelter can be set up in 10 minutes

  • 09 July 2012

SAFEHUT LLC collapsible, reusable composite shelters are manufactured from fibre reinforced plastic (FRP) panels based on AOC resin.

The SAFEHUT's composite walls, floor and roof panels are manufactured by the resin infusion process from Altek® R961-IPF-40 resin and Vibrin® G370LV gel-coat from AOC. The reinforcement is a combination of traditional knitted E-glass and an infusion-specific reinforcing material.

The panels are cored with low density PET (polyethylene terephthalate) foam and moulded-in ribs and beams enhance rigidity and reduce the weight of the panels.

“The resin properties that are important are low viscosity to enable good flow across large panels, as well as minimal shrinkage during cure,” says Jeff Worden, Chief Operating Officer for SAFEHUT, Sanford, Florida, USA.

“In the gel-coat, we need a material that sprays smoothly and evenly and has good weather- resistant properties.”

The SAFEHUT is designed to last for up to 30 years with proper maintenance.

“Three people can set up an individual SAFEHUT unit in less than 10 minutes, using a manual small crane system or forklift,” Worden reports.

Walls and floors are pre-wired for electricity, and units can be configured to include plumbing features that are connected to water supply and sewer/septic drainage.

Fast set up

Videos showing how to set up a SAFEHUT are available on the SAFEHUT website .

A single SAFEHUT unit is 8 ft wide by 20 ft long by 8 ft high (2.4 m by 6.1 m by 2.4 m) and weighs about 2200 lbs (998 kg), depending on configuration. Modular design allows for multiple units to be connected in a variety of configurations.

Numerous applications

With versatility in interior configuration as well, the SAFEHUT system is ideal for a broad range of applications, including:

an emergency shelter or command post for fire fighters and disaster relief

workers; a semi-permanent shelter for families displaced by natural disaster or war;

a tactical shelter or medic station for military personnel; and

a construction site office or secure storage unit.

Wind and load calculations by Vectorworks Naval Engineering LLC, Titusville, Florida, concluded that SAFEHUT’s composite walls are designed to withstand:

155 mile (250 km) per hour winds;

75 lb/ft 2 (3.6 kPa) snow load to the roof;

75 lb/ft 2 (3.6 kPa) live load to the floor; and

1.15 G lateral acceleration seismic load.

The collapsible SAFEHUT is easy to transport and set up. 10 units fit into a standard 40 ft ISO cargo container. 12 units can be transported on a 40 ft flatbed semi trailer.

∑ 1.15 G lateral acceleration seismic load. The collapsible SAFEHUT is easy to transport and set
∑ 1.15 G lateral acceleration seismic load. The collapsible SAFEHUT is easy to transport and set