Aircrete as solution in Puerto Rico

  • Hajjar and all first post here, I am inspired by Aircrete having been a natural builder for 10 years(not currently) I am looking forward to building a home once I figure that out. I currently live on Oahu, so if I can help organize something here I will try to be helpful. I am wondering about getting you involved in training people in Puerto Rico. It seems they need a solution that is affordable, learnable and able to withstand the next huricane. Perhaps we can get a fundraiser within this community on one of the fundraising sites and send you and a few others there, perhaps there is a good agency to connect you with. Or if you do not want to or able to go there maybe people on this list who have learned from you can go.
    What do you think? You can reach me directly at Chas

  • Major Contributor

    I lived in Puerto Rico and build a concrete house there. Sadly, although yours is a great idea to help, Puerto Rico building codes are very strict and wont accept a homemade aircrete block unless there is engineering data to support it. They will also require rebar for any concrete building. At the end of the construction there, you get a building "use " permit. Without it, you can not use the building as a house. There are also multiple codes requirements for everything else, plumbing,electricity, taxes. insurance. If you do not comply, you risk your building being demolished by the state or heavily fined,. which will risk you with jail time. Just not worth the hassle if there is not proper engineering data. Now, there are multiple engineering firms there that could possibly do the necessary testing and design of the blocks and reinforcement to submit the numbers to the state contruction department and have them approved. There is no need for new construction methods in PR. The houses there did not break or flew away with the hurricane. In fact I have never seen any house in PR properly constructed by the code to even get broken. The only ones were old ones that were not into code or illegal ones with wood ceilings. The normal roof there is done with concrete and a double reinforcer rebar mat. The minimum psi for the concrete there at final cure have to reach 2500psi. What damaged PR so much was the old electrical infrastructure, with rotten posts since 20 years ago. They knew all this all the time and have done nothing to upgrade the electrical system. They are still running the water company with 20-30 years old pumps. Right now there is an excess of houses there in forclosure, and the banks are letting them go for half the price of what they were a few years back. What they need is good management, not more building processes.

  • Mahalo Joe given what you shared yes I can see this point of view. I have a skewed perspective given media focuses on the devastation versus the intact housing. I am on Oahu, if I can be of assistance to you in the future let me know. I was a natural builder for about a decade. I hope to find a place on the island to build some domes via Aircrete. I am currently doing commercial solar however I have an interest in housing homeless folks under Solar PV greenhouses. It seems to me the domes would be a nice solution to this. You can reach me at if you wish at some point.

  • Major Contributor

    Thank you very much. I am doing my own research regarding this cellular concrete. My aim is to add more enginnered and structural data to the method, so that it can be easily approved by most codes. So far my line of though go along the lines of adding magnesium cement to the mix and reinforcing with rebar. This will create a very strongh but lighter concrete. I am also studying ways to use cellular concrete with a sprayer or maybe a better molding process. Also, there might be the possibility of using modified EPS, magnesium cement and basalt rebar reinforcement and have the ultimate lightweight, insulated and super strongh material with a process that could be done by anyone. When I get to a development point that I get the required engineering data, I would post here so others can try themselves. Another simpler cheaper way would be to just use the domegaia method just as it is now, and then after the dome is constructed, put inner rebar reinforcement on the dome and then apply an internal shotcrete layer of magnesium cement. This method would clearly develop the required structural strenght for the International code, which is the one that is being now applied to most of the USA. If you even need info or help regarding building in Puerto Rico, contact me here and I will guide you. If anyone is planning of buying land or a house there, this is the moment because the market is really low. If you like the idea of having your own coffe farm or the like, there is some of the best land to grow coffe there than anywhere in the world. Have a great day now. Joe.

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