Brisbane boat builder Ian Wright’s dream home may be small in size but it is huge in vision for the future of composites in the construction and housing marketplace.
The house marks the launch of a ‘green’ composite building material and assembly method developed by Ian’s company Norman R. Wright and Sons in conjunction with Gold Coast supplier ATL Composites.
Originally looking for a sustainable product to add “green” boats to his range of high performance commercial and pleasure craft, Ian had the idea that the material would also be ideal for use in the housing industry.
Eighteen months in development, drawing on the expertise of the composite engineering and chemical professionals in both companies, the revolutionary building panel material and frameless assembly system went through a long process of engineering analysis and certification before the plans for Ian’s dream home were approved.
A boat builder constructed the two sections (the 2m x 4m stairwell and the 18m x 4m house) and installed all fittings in the Norman R Wright factory.
“After earth works and the foundation posts and stairwell were in place we transported the house to the site on a boat trailer and then a crane lifted it into place,” says Ian.
The whole house weighs less than nine tonnes and is so stiff it only needed two slings for the lift.
Perched on top of a windswept hill in Wynnum North overlooking the ocean, “Eco Casa” is fitted out with the same meticulous attention to detail and finish as Ian’s boats, using sustainable, renewable or recycled materials throughout.
At less than eight squares it is small by many people’s standards but Ian says the open plan design is spacious for his needs especially compared to living on a boat! He has big plans for the new building material Eco Casa showcases.
“This is a very different move for our company,” says Ian. “Wright and Sons has grown organically over the past century based on a very conservative business model.
“I originally wanted a product to build green boats, but then I thought it would be ideal as a building material. It’s revolutionary, I don’t believe there’s another eco-product like it.
“It can be used to build very strong buildings, very quickly. It’s waterproof, has better weathering capabilities than timber and it will be cheaper than conventional building materials.
“The high wind loading of the structure, its light weight and the highly efficient insulation of the 70mm thick outer, ease of assembly and installation make it attractive for a wide range of applications both here and overseas from emergency to permanent housing to multi-storey solutions for environmentally conscious European cities under pressure to increase housing density,” he says.
Director Nicholas Cossich said ATL Composites has considerable experience in developing products for the building industry and in composite products derived from natural, sustainable sources. ATL chemists had a strong personal interest in the latter, however there was little demand from fabricators.
“It takes someone like Ian, who has the foresight, and the courage of his convictions to bring a new product and a project like this to reality,” said Mr Cossich.
Reproduced with permission of Composites Australia.