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$2,500 USD Habiterra house

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Watch the video about the 47 M2 Habiterra house which was built near Puebla, Mexico "in 14 hours without any equipment, skilled labor or pre-fabricated parts" for a cost of $2,500. Mortarless Habiterra blocks replace concrete blocks.

Advantages of using Habiterra blocks:

  • they are self-aligning and interlocking horizontally and vertically
  • they provide greater seismic resistance than conventional CMU structures due to their interlocking
  • they use minimal amounts of mortar. Concrete in bond beams and corners satisfies design strength requirements.
  • more units can be installed in a shorter amount of time, 10 times faster than a standard Concrete Masonry Unit (CMU). In the Puebla Habiterra prototype, 1,200 units a day per crew went up. The walls were assembled in two days; the roof assembly in place on the third day.
  • they weigh half as much as standard CMUs so are easier to handle, injuries are reduced, and professionals like laying them
  • they can be installed by semiskilled and unskilled labor with minimal instruction so labor costs are less and they are easier to build in areas of certified mason shortages
  • because they are interlocking, they provide more stability during construction, assist with alignment and leveling, and limit construction tolerances
  • additional stability is provided by rebar and concrete in every four feet on center (o.c.)
  • mortar cracking, inadequate bonding and water penetration are avoided, providing a safer, healthier house with less chance of mold growth
  • assembly quality control falls on the manufacturer reducing job-site responsibility
  • the integrated floor and roof system can be placed on walls without waiting for mortar cure
  • the blocks should meet local building codes and material standards requirements
  • no heavy equipment, pre-fabricated components and pilasters or columns at intersections are needed
  • they provide a natural thermal barrier to reduce heating and cooling costs and can be easily waterproofed and/or insulated with Habiterra's proprietary technology
  • walls can be finished on both sides with a cementitious or acrylic-bonding matrix reinforced with fiberglass mesh or plastic fibers for a rain and air barrier, final surface finish and color
  • with room layout dimension in 16”x16” grid in each direction, no cutting of blocks is necessary.
  • the modular design allows flexible designs including door and window jambs and intersections
  • after the foundation is in place, a Habiterra structure can be erected in most weather conditions
  • cost varies by region but the website says their installed cost is under USD $3 per square foot.

Lenic Rodriquez is the Vancouver, B.C. architect at Habiterra Building Solutions who has developed this new masonry block system. He has patents and trademarks in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada and has filed a request for an International Patent Cooperation Treaty, a technology protection system that is recognized in 137 countries. For more information, call 604.921.2823 or email lenic@habiterra.ca.

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