Business & Industry

Aug 31, 2018

BRIKAWOOD

There is a growing fascination over 3D printed houses. In fact, it is a flourishing business and, facing the challenges of housing all around the world, these days, it might prove itself as a low-cost solution for most disadvantaged people.

The construction of a house has never looked so simple and fun. French start-up Catharhome has developed an ecological and economical wooden brick named Brikawood. 

Situated in the Pyrenees region, Catharhome has specialized in innovative products for wood construction for 30 years. Brikawood are wooden bricks which can be built like Lego blocks, without glue, nails nor screws! 

This is the idea of engineers Alain Romero and Patricia Dutreux, and has taken them three years of research to develop it after investing Euro 330,000 in this project. 

The principle with these bricks is to produce timber frame walls for any type of architecture and thus enter the chain of sustainable development. They have been designed so as to limit the handling and the energy consumption. 

Comprising four wood elements, two side plates that provide structure and two spacers for its structural coherence, it is designed to allow their engagement to maintain between each other and thus give the wall a structural coherence. 

Installers need a rubber hammer to mount the bricks. A drill is required to secure the sill plate on the slab and the wall cap to close the walls and after blowing and conditioning the insulation (wood chips). 

The Brikawood wooden house building bricks just stick together in an intricate but logical pattern. One wooden brick consists of four parts that by interlocking create a stable and durable surface. 

The four wooden elements of the brick – two lateral flanges and two transverse spacers – machined in "dovetail" which are assembled together, by interlocking, thus giving a mechanical rigidity to the assembly. 

The brick is intended to be used alone, without cladding, rain cover or vapor barrier, only a special check valve specific to Brikawood, simplifying as much as possible the implementation of any type of construction, while ensuring performance and water-proofing. 

Brikawood developed three different models by its widths, each with a feature in the structure: the basic brick width is 500 mm, the half-brick is 250 mm in width, the corner brick has a width of 500 mm and 750 mm (incoming angle and outgoing angle). 

Various tests were carried out with freezing rain simulations from zero to less 20 degrees Celsius and they proved satisfactory compared to houses with stacked beam poles. Brikawood can also withstand earthquakes of 8.5 on the Richter scale. 

The Brikawood wall kit makes it possible to design any type of habitat with all possible types of roofing imaginable. The process eliminates any rise in moisture by the absence of "standing wood" in contact with the soil. It adapts to the construction of individual houses, industrial premises, collective habitats, extensions, elevations and separation walls. 

The Douglas Fir (a pine wood species) used in the bricks is a spectacularly growing tree that can stand 60 meters tall on average and several meters in diameter. It comes from sustainably managed forests, it is eco-certified PFE and FSC. 

The 'Techno Pieux' screwed pile acts as a large screw which is installed in the ground by a specialized machine until it reaches a floor allowing to obtain the required bearing capacity according to the structure, to guarantee the best possible insulation and eliminating thermal bridges. 

A Brikawood house stands out for its great comfort, combined with a very low energy consumption. This comfort is achieved by the use of components approved for passive construction (windows that protect from cold, insulation and heat recovery). 

The price range for Brickawood passive houses lies between 75.000 to 150.000 American dollars, depending on the model you choose. 

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