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"One of the more promising products, being developed by Composite Building Structures, Ltd., Fort Myers, is a high-tech fiberglass composite that can be used to make the frame and shell of a house."

Wall Street Journal - Marketplace Section - 11/23/05  (See Article)

 

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Fla. company making hurricane-resistant homes

By Matt Griswold | PLASTICS NEWS STAFF

Posted October 5, 2009

FORT MYERS, FLA. (Oct. 5, 1:05 p.m. ET) -- A young Fort Myers-based outfit is using pultrusion technology from the aerospace industry to make profiles designed to replace wood and steel in home construction, and comprise structures strong enough to withstand catastrophic hurricane force winds and seismic activity.

In addition to superior strength, homes built with Composite Building Structures Ltd.ís glass fiber-reinforced polyester panels exhibit many of the same benefits as other polymer-based building materials designed to replace wood and steel. CBS-built homes have good thermal insulation, and are impervious to threats like moisture, mildew, insects and long-term degradation.

CBS is using a third-party panelization plant ó Kissimmee-based SCS Tropical Homes ó fabricating entire wall panels with the profiles, complete with windows, doors, insulation, electrical boxes and interior and exterior wall sheeting in a quality controlled factory environment. For a standard, rectangle 2,000-square-foot home, CBS Homes can have four walls erected in under an hour, said James Antonic, CBS president and CEO, in a Sept. 29 telephone interview.

The process cuts about 70 percent of the labor from home construction and assumes the role of about seven different trades by incorporating so much of the work in the factory. The net result of using composites profiles, Antonic said, is that for every ton of fiberglass material used, you are replacing 17 tons of wood, and for a hurricane construction build, 41 tons of concrete block. Once erected, home builders use their regular finishing crews to put the finishing interior and exterior touches on the homes.

The homes have a 50-year warranty, but figure to last 400-500 years, Antonic said. The company can pultrude the various profiles for a given job and have the panels fabricated for a home order in about two weeks.

Part of CBS Homesí initial growth strategy is to target areas recovering from hurricanes, like greater New Orleans and parts of Mexico, as well as areas prone to tropical storm damage. "Itís designed to take hurricane type force winds," John Busel, director of Composites Growth Initiative at the Arlington, Va.-based American Composites Manufacturers Association, in an Oct. 2 telephone interview. "There is a lot of potential there.

"Theyíre very unique in trying to position a kind of modular building system using pultrusion, patented structural shapes and specialty configurations, where you can assemble a 2,000-square-foot house in four hours."

It is the pultrusion technology that gives CBS Homes the performance edge in conditions hazardous to stick-built and concrete block homes, Antonic said. If designers, the building community and potential home buyers are willing to buy in to the paradigm shift, technologies and engineering solutions by companies like CBS Homes will forever change the face of homebuilding.

"Our engineering is set up in this plant to make up to 10 houses per shift ó thatís about 30 per day," Antonic said. "Itís a different approach. Itís how you make a car. Itís not magic. That one profit coming out the end will be able to provide a superior home at a competitive cost."

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