Urgent call for Climate Resilient Homes across the Caribbean
The tyranny that accompanied last year’s string of natural disasters left many Caribbean Islands in the rubble. The likes of Maria left our sister island, Dominica, in devastation, tearing apart homes and families, and leaving the country desperate for an efficient and sustainable re-build of their residential and business communities.
Preconco for Precast Concrete Solutions
With time, money, and durability in mind, Dominican developers looked to Preconco for Precast concrete solutions for their housing demands. With the company’s last project on the island left in perfect condition post-2017’s category 5 hurricanes, there was no lack of confidence in the competence of Preconco to achieve the objectives.
The first twenty homes are currently being built on the island with Dominicans already occupying some of these. The homes are made up of two and three bedroom models and plans are in place for providing further options in the form of duplex and quadruplex structures. A total of 1000 homes will be built in phases within smaller community-type configurations at various locations, in order to attempt to cater to the entire island.
The Efficiency of Precast Concrete Construction
The efficiency of precast concrete construction allows these homes to be currently manufactured in Barbados in a single day, shipped – with a two-day installation period, and finished with paint, tiles, electrical and plumbing in a further two weeks. The quick pace of this process reduces construction time by a minimum of 50%, subsequently cutting costs and improving quality and efficiency versus that of traditional block work or timber construction and other building systems. There is also the added benefit of these elements being produced at the manufacturing facility and quality checked by a team of experts before exportation.
Precast Manufacturing within Dominica
Plans are now underway to begin manufacturing within Dominica which will allow the company to lend their services without the lost time of a shipping period and also provide a new industry and employment for the island.
Precast Concrete Roofing System Design
Aside from the reliable durability of concrete structures, Preconco is changing the game for disaster resilient homes in the island of Dominica with their new precast roofing system. In the aftermath of the recent disasters hitting our neighbouring island, houses were left with only their walled boundaries, and are now haphazardly covered overhead by tarp. This vision painted quite a clear picture that the primary flaw in construction was the traditional build of roofing in the Caribbean. The solution for this was to design a roofing system that mimicked the aesthetic style of these traditional roofs without compromising their ability to withstand harsh wind forces and seismic activity. This new model consists of precast concrete insulated roof panels, which in addition to their resilient qualities, deflect heat, therefore, keeping homes cooler and energy costs down. In the style of traditional gable roofs, these gradients run at about a 15-degree angle, ensuring wind resistance and efficient rainwater run-off, and aesthetically can be finished to suit personal preference.
Precast is the Future of the Construction Industry
By means of their structural make-up, these homes are also built with expansion in mind. Using concrete columned foundations in place of the more frequently used raft slabs, the option of underground parking or a basement is provided. This strategy further cut costs by minimising the quantity of concrete required. Another option is the use of structural lightweight concrete, which eases the weight of shipping and handling while providing the same endurance as traditional concrete.
Despite the lack of common utilisation of precast housing and the overall absence of Preconco’s substitute concrete roofing system in our island, the company remains adamant that precast is the future of the construction industry, and that there is no greater time than the present to start considering disaster resilient design.