Interlocking Pet Bottles Construction for Rapid, Sustainable, and Efficient Building to Meet Humanitarian Housing Needs

Ashraf Mansour Habib Mansour*

*Engineering Division, National Research Centre, Cairo, Egypt

*Corresponding author: Ashraf Mansour Habib Mansour, Engineering Division, National Research Centre, Cairo, Egypt, E-mail: ashraf_mansour@fulbrightmail.org

Citation: Ashraf MHM. Interlocking Pet Bottles Construction for Rapid, Sustainable, & Efficient Building to Meet Humanitarian Housing Needs. J Arch Des Cons Tech. (2021);2(1):11-27.

Received Date: December 23, 2020; Accepted Date: January 07, 2021; Published Date: January 11, 2021

Abstract

Humanitarian disasters arising from human-caused, economic or environmental damage are constantly occurring where an event, or series of events, overwhelms a community’s capacity to cope. Millions of people around the world have been affected by both conflicts and disasters. They all need to be accommodated at least in a temporary shelter or what is called a transitional shelter, which provides a livable, healthy, secured covered living area, with privacy and dignity, during the period of a conflict or natural disaster”

These conditions, call for an emerging and urgent need for both relief supplies and shelter. Unfortunately, supplies that could be delivered in PET bottles pose a great threat to the global environment and mankind, as they are considered non-recyclable wastes.

Accordingly, it is required to develop a scientific methodology to build a quick and easy shelter for these people, and in the meantime, find a solution for waste reduction. Using PET bottles that have been brought on site to deliver relief supplies – which would otherwise end up as waste materials – to build those shelters, presents a compelling possibility.

The current paper is going to highlight the possibility, of using PET interlocking and connecting bottles as an efficient and sustainable building material. The paper found that PET bottles reuse could be an effective quick sustainable efficient solution for building construction that provides safe and comfortable housing to improve the lives of people suffering from impoverished conditions or a humanitarian disaster. It could be used as a valid and rapid approach to meet humanitarian housing needs, while reducing wastes as one of the major environmental threats.

Key Words: PET Plastic Interlocking/ Connecting Bottles; Sustainable Building Materials; Transitional Shelter; Humanitarian Housing Needs

1. Introduction

As per UN-Habitat (2009), “Every citizen has the right to live in an adequate shelter where he/she enjoys security, peace, and dignity in a healthy environment.” International human rights law recognizes everyone’s right to an adequate standard of living, including adequate housing. Despite the central place of this right within the global legal system, well over a billion people are not adequately housed. Millions around the world live in life- or health threatening conditions, in overcrowded slums and informal settlements, or in other conditions which do not uphold their human rights and their dignity. Further millions are forcibly evicted, or threatened with forced eviction, from their homes every year. Millions of people around the world have been affected by both conflicts and disasters. They all need to be accommodated at least in a temporary shelter or what is called a transitional shelter [23].

As per Corsellis and Vitale (2005), the terminology of traditional shelter could be defined as: “shelter which provides a habitable covered living space and a secure, healthy living environment, with privacy and dignity, to those within it, during the period between a conflict or natural disaster and the achievement of a durable solution”

The post-disaster settlement is the urban complex resulting from erecting temporary dwellings (shelters or houses) along with other services (educational, health, etc.) to serve the disaster affected community [5].

In disaster relief situations, tons of supplies are shipped in early days following the disaster providing water and food. Immediately after disasters, enormous amounts of water, medicine and dry grain food are shipped to the location [7]. The packaging and leftover materials start accumulating from day one and become an increasing source of problems and pollution if not recycled. Since in many cases, disaster relief camps are not well connected to a sustainable infrastructure, getting rid of this waste becomes problematic and is usually not considered as a priority. Environmental problem is being introduced to the already problematic disaster situation which is the accumulation of tones of plastic waste. This overburden escalates over time.

Although adopting this strategy, can solve a problem, but major problems may arise, because plastics in general, and specifically plastic bottles, especially Poly-Ethylene Terephthalate (PET), are considered a major threat to the environment. As unrecyclable wastes, they contribute to a large extent in environmental pollution and represent a large share of our landfills. Such wasted resource and pollution overburden has been the subject of study by many researchers. The main problem is that plastics including Poly-Ethylene Terephthalate (PET) are not bio-degradable. They interfere with natural ecology creating many environmental problems. Plastic bottles pollution is being addressed mainly through recycling. As per Nayad, (2020), Alnaggar, (2019), Healthy Human, (2020). and Franklin, (2006) only one sixth of the produced plastic bottles is being recycled annually [2], [14] & [11]. Most of the unrecycled plastic bottles ends up in landfills or leaches into our oceans [16].

There is a growing consensus that waste should be regarded as a `valuable resource‘. According to Berezyuk, etal. (2019), Municipal solid waste is predominantly a valuable secondary and potential energy resource. It has been argued that the concept of ‘waste’ should be substituted by the concept of ‘resource’ [3]. The practice of dumping waste into landfill is a sign of a failure to design recyclable, sustainable products and processes. All eco-cities have to embed zero-waste concepts as part of their holistic, circular approach to material flows [4]. As per Wilts (2016), Treating waste as a resource and the design of a circular economy have been identified as key approaches for resource efficiency [24].

More recent trends in the beverage industry are willing to shift towards getting rid of these plastic bottles. Additionally, cheap and easy to mass-produce bottles and containers are crucial in temporary situations especially in emergency situations like disaster relief where fast delivery of supplies that can be distributed among individuals quickly and easily is a human need. In addition, Mansour (2016), performed structural and thermal analysis for building by the traditional PET bottles and concluded that PET bottles show promise an alternative sustainable building material, with a better thermal performance [17].

Consequently, the idea of reusing these bottles in building shelters for the affected community, is considered a promising opportunity. This re-use would create significant humanitarian and environmental benefits through the use of materials that would otherwise end up in the waste stream. Lowering the barriers to re-use of waste materials will accelerate these promising humanitarian and environmental benefits. In addition, re-using PET bottles as construction material is a compelling concept due to limitations of recycling.

2. Materials and Methods

The research methodology employed in this paper include discussing and comparing some real and proposed examples of transitional shelters developed by the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement. Consequently, the research proposed another construction methodology by reusing the plastic bottles in construction, following the merits and overcoming the drawbacks of the others.

The paper commences by a discussing the basic terms and Architectural criteria for building shelters for people around the world that have been affected by both conflicts and disasters. Consecutively, the paper sets the basic foundations to the provision, design and construction of transitional shelters.

The paper finally proceeds to analyzing and comparing the different applied or proposed shelters and study how far they achieved the discussed criteria.

2.1. Proposed Transitional Shelters by Red Cross Red Crescent Movement

As the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement has responded to meeting the shelter needs following many of the major disasters, eight examples of transitional shelter for different contexts have been developed and executed in different disaster areas all over the world.

Immediate range of options have been provided by the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement to inform shelter decision-makers in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, with the precise knowledge of their structural performance and detailed information to enable rapid procurement [12].

This paper is going to compare the following real transitional shelters projects within the following Locations:

Indonesia, West Java (2009) - Bamboo frame, Indonesia, Sumatra, Padang (2009)Timber frame, Pakistan (2010) - Timber frame, Peru (2007) - Timber frame, Peru (2007) - Timber Frame, Haiti (2010) - Steel Frame, Indonesia, Aceh (2005) - Steel frame, and Vietnam (2004) - Steel frame. Table (1) shows photos, ground floor plans and dimensions for the different provided transitional shelter by the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement.

Table 1: Red Cross Red Crescent Movement transitional shelter photos, ground floor plans and dimensions [12]

 

Transitional shelters Name and Location

Ground Floor Plan and dimensions

1

Indonesia, West Java (2009) - Bamboo frame


4.00X6.00

2

Indonesia, Sumatra, Padang (2009) - Timber frame

3.90X4.45

3

Pakistan (2010) - Timber frame

4.88X5.72

4

Peru (2007) - Timber frame


2.90X6.00

5

Peru (2007) - Timber Frame


3.00X6.00

6

Haiti (2010) - Steel Frame


3.00X6.00

7

Indonesia, Aceh (2005) - Steel frame


3.50X5.65

8

Vietnam (2004) - Steel frame


3.60X7.08

2.2. Introducing a new innovative building material unit for transitional shelter

The research proposes an innovative technology to blow mold an automatically interconnecting PET plastic bottles, developed by Friendship Products, with a direct secondary use as building material as shown in figure 1 [6].

Figure 1: Interconnecting PET bottles filled withwater or food relief supplies [6]

These interconnecting PET bottles or containers can be easily connected (as shown in figure 2) and directly used for building materials, providing both environmental and housing benefits. These containers could improve the efficiency of relief efforts by providing immediate building materials as part of the initial water and food relief supplies effort, minimizing the environmental impact of waste packaging, and providing safe and comfortable housing to improve the lives of people already suffering from a humanitarian disaster [6].

Figure 2: interconnecting PET bottles [6]

These patented bottles are made by blow molding using Poly-Ethylene Terephthalate plastic. They are similar to most beverage and water plastic bottles, commercially available in the market, while they are uniquely designed to interlock side-by-side in a uniform octagonal arrangement by forming their sides in the shape of dove-tail connections. The bottles are also stackable on top of each other. These bottles are 250 ml in size.

The benefits of an interconnecting bottle are especially compelling in areas where recycling capabilities are limited or difficult. In these locations, the ability to directly reuse these containers will keep them out of the waste stream while providing a benefit to the surrounding communities.

2.3. The Research Proposed Transitional Shelter

The research proposed developed construction method “by using the interlocking Plastic PET bottles” that could act as an incremental transitional shelter.

These interlocking bottles are adaptable, which enables a different number of possible designs that vary in complexity, constructability, dependence on available resources and future use. A blend of these concepts resulted in different transitional shelter design schemes for the walls. Each scheme has unique characteristics and is envisioned within a holistic logistical map of the disaster relief effort.

2.3.1.Steel Skeleton System infilled by None Structural Interlocking Plastic Bottles

The plastic bottles are built as infill walls within steel structural frame skeleton (could be any other supportive material), See fig. 3 & fig 4. The infill walls could be built by the interlocking bottles between the structural supports.This option may require Bolts, Screws and Nails. Some tools may be required as: drill, hammer, screw driver, tape measure and spirit level. The structural frame requires a skilled labor.

2.3.2. Bearing Wall System using Vertically Laid Structural Interlocking Plastic Bottles

The shelter walls are built by the interlocking bottles laid in a vertical sense as shown in fig. (5) & fig (6). The bottles act as a bearing wall structural member. It requires no other material. These bottles has the ability to be attached with a width of three of four bottles together to for beams to support the roof that could be built by using these bottles. The roof could be in the form of either structural beams or gabled roof.

2.3.3. Bearing Wall System using Horizontally laid Structural Interlocking Plastic Bottles

This construction method develops the same shelter from temporary to permanent one. The walls are built by the interlocking

Figure 3: Steel Skeleton system that could be infilled by none structural interlocking plastic bottles

Figure 4: Section through Steel Skeleton system that could be infilled by none structural interlocking plastic bottles, Source: The author

bottles laid in a horizontal sense as shown in fig. (7) & fig. (8). The bottles act as a bearing wall structural member. It requires no other material. The roof could be built by using these bottles either in the form of structural beams or gabled roof as shown in the section of fig (8).

The main benefit of this bottles arrangement is that they can be easily concealed with plaster, shifting the same transitional shelter to a permanent one. The bottles can be tied together by thread as shown in figures 9, 10 and 11. The treads could act as reinforcement for the wall member units. Consequently, plaster layer could be applied over. Accordingly, the transitional shelter is shifted to a permanent one as an incremental process for humanitarian housing.

2.4.Architectural requirements for transitional shelters

As per IFRC 2011, IOM 2013, Abulnour (2014), (TSP, 2013),Corsellis, (2009) and (MSC, 2020), the following architectural criteria should be considered, when designing a transitional shelter: Appropriateness, developing an appropriate transitional shelter design brief, the ability for incremental process housing, the materials source whether local or imported, the required construction tools, the labor source, possibility for relocation, re-use and maintenance, hazards reduction, risks and safety, the construction speed, the life span, size and shape of the traditional shelter, maintaining privacy, security & cultural appropriateness, achieving thermal comfort, environmental awareness, minimizing Cost / budgets [12], [15], [1], [22], [9] & [18].

Figure 5: Vertically laid Structural Interlocking plastic bottles, Source: the model built and photographed by the author

Figure 6: Section through Vertically laid Structural-bottles wall and foundation details, Source: Illustrated by the author

A) Appropriateness

The shelter design should be appropriate as it reflects the needs, local culture, vulnerability and capacities of the affected community and the resources available.

Shelter designs must be adapted to each different location. Transitional shelters are advised to be relocated, upgraded and used materials can be re-used [12].

B) Developing a transitional shelter design brief

A design brief should be prepared which defines the performance of the shelter and allows shelter designs to be verified against safety and cost.

The design brief should be developed in consultation with the people affected by the disaster, the government, with reference to building codes and standards [12].

C) Ability for incremental process housing

There are two main approaches for housing after the disaster; the multi-phased approach and the incremental transitional shelter process. See figure 12.

Regarding the multi-phased approach, it provides three categories of housing after the disaster. Emergency shelter is provided right after the disaster. It should be built in one day.

According to Abulnour (2014), Temporary dwellings for disaster can take the form of shelters (tents and barracks which are intended to incubate the people mainly during the peak of the disaster [1].

Consequently, transitional shelter can also take the form of houses which can incubate the people for a long period of time until the provision of permanent homes is achieved.

The transitional shelters are built, to support disaster affected people as an intermediate stage between the emergency shelter and the durable permanent housing.

The incremental transitional shelter process is upgrading the same shelter from the emergency to the temporary to the permanent one. As shown in Fig (15) the incremental transitional shelter approach can be more cost effective over time [15].

D) Materials source

The transitional shelters should be built to optimize protection from further hazards, health, livelihoods and give maximum flexibility in recovery. As per Corsellis (2009), it is generally better to source materials locally. As per IOM (2012), local materials contribute to local and regional economies. Designs & materials should be chosen so that after completion, the transitional shelters can be upgraded, reused for other functions, sold or recycled into permanent housing [15].

E) Required Tools

As per MSC 2020, tools used for transitional shelters should be designed to be portable, manual, handheld and easy to use such that those with minimum skills can benefit. The less tools used, the better [18].

F) Labor Source

The materials and construction methods are chosen to be familiar to those affected, requiring skills and tools that they have access to.

Figure 7: Horizontally laid Structural-bottles wall (Part of the elevation), Source: the model built and photographed by the author

Figure 8: Section through Horizontally laid Structural-bottles wall and foundation details, Source: Illustrated by the author

There are four different labor assistance methods, either direct or community or contract or self-help labor.

As per IOM (2012), Self-help labor is considered the most participatory labor type. It is the most appropriate when affected communities have a strong tradition of self-building. Transitional shelters can be built by the beneficiaries themselves, when sufficient construction skills are available and disaster risk reduction measures are understood and integrated into traditional building techniques [15].

As an example, John Turner, one of the most famous scholars who adopted the notion ofself-help housing, argued that the slum dwellers are able to improve their own lives through upgrading and constructing their informal houses. He believed that the slum inhabitants had the right to upgrade their houses based on their needs [21]. Turner argued that this approach led to people-centered development and urban poor’s autonomy. He added that inhabitants may add elements that fit their needs and life situations as per their resources [13].

G) Relocation, re-use and maintenance

Transitional shelters should be designed with an option that they can be easily relocated. If well designed, the materials from the transitional shelters can be re-used for the permanent housing[12].

Figure 9: Photo for the method of plastering thehorizontally laid structural-bottles wall,Source: the model built and photographed by the author

H) Hazards, risks and safety

Transitional shelters designs must not increase the vulnerability of occupants to natural hazards such as earthquakes, storms or disease.

Transitional shelters should help in reducing exposure to hazards such as fires, tidal surges or landslides. They must not increase risk of death or injury[12].

I) Timeliness and construction speed

Practical aspects of transport, supplying local or imported materials, storage, supply of skilled labor, should be considered. The more complex a design is, the more skilled labors or training and resources will be required to build it. This can lead to delays[12].

J) Life span

Transitional shelters must be durable enough to last the entire transitional period from emergency until reconstruction.

Used materials should be reusable and upgradeable, so as to allow them to be reused in the permanent house. Materials and design should allow for easy maintenance and upgrade [12].

K) Size and shape of the traditional shelter

As per TSP (2013), A minimum of 18m2 covered living space often provides a critical determinant of the shelter design, logistics requirements, and cost. This is based on a family size of five and 3.5m2 per person [22].

L) Privacy, security and cultural appropriateness

Transitional shelter designs, layout and orientation must be adapted to the local culture.Design should be flexible to allow occupants to add internal divisions for privacy and for considering living activities such as cooking and cleaning. Also, features such as lockable doors may be required to provide the most basic security[12].

M) Ventilation and thermal comfort

Transitional shelter designs should provide protection from extremes of weather, while maintain ventilation and thermal comfort [22].

N) Environmental awareness

Environmental impacts of materials used for shelters should be considered. Reduce the materials that might negatively impact upon the local environment [22].

O) Cost / Budgets

Funding available per household varies for each disaster. It is often a critical determinant of shelter cost and ensuing design.

When judging the cost per shelter, compare the cost of each shelter with the disposable income of affected and host population. Support given to families in building transitional shelter is usually many times that provided to them in livelihoods programming[12].

Figure 10: Elevation ofhorizontally laid structural-bottles wall tied with threads

Figure 11: Horizontally laid plastered structural-bottles wall section and foundation details, Source: Illustrated by the author

Figure 12: Comparison between the incremental process and the three Phased shelter Construction [15]

3.Results

Table 2 summarizes the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement transitional shelters information compared to the proposed transitional shelter built by Interlocking plastic bottles. It shows the materials, their source, whether locally or imported, building time, number of people in the construction team, Number of units built, materials and project cost per shelter.Table 3 shows the materials and tools used in the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement transitional shelters compared to the proposed transitional shelters built by Interlocking plastic bottles.

Table 2: The Red Cross Red Crescent Movement transitional shelters information compared to the proposed transitional shelter built by Interlocking plastic bottles [12]

 

Transitional shelters Name and Location

Disaster:

Materials:

Material source:

Time to build:

Labor Source

Construction team:

Number built:

Approximate material cost per shelter:

Approximate project cost per shelter:

1

Indonesia, West Java (2009) - Bamboo frame

Earthquake, September 2009

Bamboo frame and bamboo matting walls with
Concrete foundations and terracotta roof tiles.

locally procured

3 – 4 days

Require skilled labors

3 – 4 people

430

295$

375$

2

Indonesia, Sumatra, Padang (2009)Timber frame

Earthquake, 2009

Timber frame, palm fiber roof, concrete bucket foundations and palm matting wall panels

Local

2 days

Require skilled labors

5 people

7000

400$ (2009)

565$(2009)

3

Pakistan (2010) - Timber frame

Flood, July 2010

Timber frame, corrugated steel sheet roofing and plastic sheeting (bricks and roof insulation locally

Timber: local. Roof sheeting: internationally

1 day

Require skilled labors

4 people

10,000

 

565$

4

Peru (2007) - Timber frame

Earthquake 2007

Timber frame with timber cladding and corrugated metal sheet roofing

local fabrication workshops

1 day

Require skilled labors

4 people

2020

 

620$

5

Peru (2007) - Timber Frame

Earthquake 2007

Eucalyptus wood poles, bamboo matting, plastic sheeting, wire and nails, concrete slab

Mats and wood locally available, plastic sheeting imported, tables and staple guns imported.

2 days

Require skilled labors

4 people

3000

255$ (2007)

385$ (2007):

6

Haiti (2010) - Steel Frame

Earthquake 2010

Galvanized steel frame, timber studs, plastic sheeting walls, corrugated steel roof sheeting

Steel frame: imported from Spain, Other materials: sourced locally

2 days

Require skilled labors

unknown

5100

1920$

4855$

7

Indonesia, Aceh (2005) - Steel frame

Tsunami, 2004

Galvanized steel frame, steel sheet roofing, Pine/Douglas Fir or equivalent treated timber planks, steel foundation plates and anchors, door fixtures, nails, bolts & screws

Steel frames were manufactured regionally. The roof sheeting and timber imported internationally

1 day to construct the frame. 2 days minimum to clad the shelter

Require skilled labors

4-5 people

20000

5380$ (2004)

5760$(2004)

8

Vietnam (2004) - Steel frame

Typhoons and floods from 1997

Galvanized steel frame and zincalume corrugated roof sheeting

Concrete, blocks, plywood and roofing: sourced locally. Steel frame: procured nationally

3 days

Require skilled labors

 6 people

215

Unknown

1700$

 

Steel Skeleton system infilled by None Structural Interlocking plastic bottles

 

Reused Interlocking plastic bottles + any light weight Steel roof

Steel frame: imported
Local waste bottles

Estimated 2 - 3 days

Requires skilled labors

3 – 4 people

 

 

 

 

Bearing wall system using Vertically laid Structural Interlocking plastic bottles

 

Reused Interlocking plastic bottles+ any light weight roof

Local waste bottles

Estimated 1 day

Self-help construction

2-3 people

 

 

 

 

Bearing wall system using Horizontally laid Structural Interlocking plastic bottles

 

Reused Interlocking plastic bottles

Local waste bottles

Estimated 1 day

Self-help construction

2-3 people

 

 

 

Table 3: Materials and tools used in the introduced transitional shelters [12]

 

Transitional shelters Name and Location

Structure –Foundations

Main Structure

Covering – Wall

Covering –Roof

Covering –Floor

Fixings

Tools Required

Dimensions

1

Indonesia, West Java (2009) - Bamboo frame

Portland Cement Sand
Gravel Iron bars Bamboo stubs

Bamboo

Woven bamboo matting

Woven bamboo matting

Terracotta tiles

Small nails
Bamboo Pegs
Palm fiber rope

Spade
Drill

4.00X6.00

2

Indonesia, Sumatra, Padang (2009) - Timber frame

Portland Cement
Sand/Gravel

Timber

Palm mat walling 1 x 2m

Coconut leaf roofing 25.1 m2
Plastic Sheet 4 x 6m

Floor Boards – 2.5cm thick

Nails – 8d
Bolts
Hinges

Concrete formwork
Hammer
Saw
Shovel

 

Pick axe

Spanner

3.90X4.45

3

Pakistan (2010) - Timber frame

Stone Bases 200 x 200 x 100 (thick)

 

Timber column

 

Masonry 215 x 102 x 65 clay bricks

Plastic Sheeting 4m X 6m

 

Galvanised Nails – 10d

Hammer –
Hand saw –
Shovel - 1
Pick axe –
tape measure

4.88X5.72

4

Peru (2007) - Timber frame

Portland Cement Concrete

Sand

Gravel

Wire mesh Reinforcement

Nails

Wire

Timber Columns and beams

Wall plates – 60 x 60 x 9.4 thick

Fiber cement roof sheeting

 

 

Hammer

2.90X6.00

5

Peru (2007) - Timber Frame

Portland cement
Sand/Gravel Concrete

Wire mesh reinforcement

Timber Columns and beams

Plastic sheet (4m x 6m)
Bamboo mats

 

 

GalvanisedAWG16 wire
Nails
Staples – 22/25

Hand saw
Shovel
Hammer
Clippers
Wheel barrow

Industrial stapler

5m tape measure

7m plastic level pipe

3.00X6.00

6

Haiti (2010) - Steel Frame

Portland cement (42.5kg bags)
Sand, Gravel,
Reinforcement bars 10mm diameter

 

Steel sheeting (0.75mx1.83m)

Plastic sheeting (6m x 4m)

Plywood flooring (21.8 thick)

Bolts, nuts + washers

Drill
Hammer
Screw driver –
Tape measure –
Spirit level

Plumb bob

Sockets

Spanners

Knitted Gloves –

Spad

Hand saw - 

Ladders

3.00X6.00

7

Indonesia, Aceh (2005) - Steel frame

Steel Guide post foundation

steel

Timber wall planks and studs

Steel sheet Roof panels (740x3440)

Timber floor planks

 Bolts, nails

Big Hammer Carpenter Hammer
Screw Driver Tape Measure, Plumb Bob Water Level

3.50X5.65

8

Vietnam (2004) - Steel frame

Cement
Sand
Gravel
Wire mesh reinforcement

Steel columns and beams
Timber studs

Plywood –12.5mm thick

Roof Sheeting 0.5mm thick (4.65x2m)

Plywood

Bolts
Screws
Nails
Fixing strap

Drill
Hammer
Screw driver 
Tape measure
Spirit level

Plumb bob

Sockets

Spanners

Knitted Gloves –

Spade

Hand saw - 

Ladders

3.60X7.08

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steel Skeleton system infilled by None Structural Interlocking plastic bottles

Some Portland Cement Sand
Gravel +
Timber Structure+ Reused Interlocking plastic bottles

Reused Interlocking plastic bottles

-

Structural steel members Plus light weight roof

Reused Interlocking plastic bottles

Bolts, Screws, Nails,

Drill
Hammer
Screw driver 
Tape measure
Spirit level

3.00X6.00

 

Bearing wall system using Vertically laid Structural Interlocking plastic bottles

Some Portland Cement Sand
Gravel + Reused Interlocking plastic bottles

Reused Interlocking plastic bottles

-

Reused Interlocking plastic bottles

Reused Interlocking plastic bottles

None

None

3.00X6.00

 

Bearing wall system using Horizontally laid Structural Interlocking plastic bottles

Some Portland Cement Sand
Gravel + Reused Interlocking plastic bottles

Reused Interlocking plastic bottles

-

Reused Interlocking plastic bottles

Reused Interlocking plastic bottles

None for transitional shelter and Thin wire or Threads Or small rope for permanent shelter

None

3.00X6.00

As demonstrated in both tables 2 and 3, the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement transitional shelters used several construction materials, either concrete, or timber or steel. Some of them were locally procured, while others were imported.

The construction time ranged from two to four days, which would not be suitable for an emergency shelter, but works only as a temporary shelter. The construction team ranged from three to six people per shelter. Number of units-built ranges from 210 shelters in Vietnam (2004) - Steel frame project to 20000 shelters in Indonesia, Aceh (2005) - Steel frame project. The costs range from 255$ (for materials) and 385$ (for the whole shelter) in Peru (2007) - Timber Frame project to 5830$ (for materials) 5760$ (for the whole shelter) in Indonesia, Aceh (2005) - Steel frame project.

Although some of the Interlocking plastic bottles shelters integrates structural members as steel I sections with the reused Interlocking plastic bottles, the bearing plastic bottle structures do not require any other materials. The construction time estimated to be one day for the “bearing walls structural interlocking bottles” shelter to three days for the skeleton system infilled by “none structural interlocking plastic bottles” shelter.

The construction team could be two or three unskilled persons per shelter. The “Steel Skeleton system infilled by none structural Interlocking plastic bottles” shelter requires extra cost for the added materials and skilled labors. On the other hand, the bearing wall system using interlocking plastic structural-bottles shelter does not require any costs either for materials or labors. The building material is “reused wasted water and food supply” provided bottles.

The building could be considered a self-help construction.

4.Discussion

Table 4 and chart 1 examines the architectural criteria achievement for each introduced transitional shelters (whether the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement or the Interlocking plastic bottles transitional shelters).

Table 4: Criteria Achievement Percentage for the introduced transitional shelters, Source: Author

 

Transitional shelters Name and Location

Appropriateness

Developing a transitional shelter design brief

Ability for incremental process housing

Local Materials source

Tools reduction

Unskilled Labor

Relocation, re-use and maintenance

Hazards, risks and safety

Timeline ss and construction speed

Life span

Size and shape of the traditional shelter

Privacy, security & cultural appropriateness

Ventilation and thermal comfort

Environment

Minimized Cost / budgets

Criteria Achievement Percentage

1

Indonesia, West Java (2009) - Bamboo frame

80%

2

Indonesia, Sumatra, Padang (2009)Timber frame

80%

3

Pakistan (2010) - Timber frame

73%

4

Peru (2007) - Timber frame

80%

5

Peru (2007) - Timber Frame

73%

6

Haiti (2010) - Steel Frame

66%

7

Indonesia, Aceh (2005) - Steel frame

66%

8

Vietnam (2004) - Steel frame

73%

9

Skeleton system infilled by None structural interlocking plastic bottles

73%

10

Bearing wall system using Vertically laid Structural Interlocking plastic bottles

93%

11

Bearing wall system using Horizontally laid Structural Interlocking plastic bottles

100%

As shown in both table 4 and chart 1, the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement transitional shelters achieved 66-80 % from the introduced criteria, while the proposed Interlocking plastic bottles constructions achieved 73-100%. The “bearing wall system using horizontally laid structural-bottles” proposal proved to be the optimum construction as it achieved 100% of the previous discussed criteria.

All the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement transitional shelters scenarios need skilled building labors, new introduced materials and tools. All packaging and leftover waste materials and bottles (provided for water, medicine and dry grain food) may start accumulating and could become an increasing source of pollution, if not immediately treated or recycled. In such situations, these environmental issues may not be a priority on the first days of the disaster. Thus, the research aimed to introduce new scenarios to solve the housing problems for dwelling the affected people, while maintaining the environment. Thus, results showed that reusing plastic bottles remain a viable solution for such situations. There are several options introduced in this paper for reusing the interlocking plastic bottles (which is already provided as containers for supplies). The analysis conducted in this research showed that building the transitional shelter using horizontally laid structural-bottles bearing walls proved to be an optimum solution for housing the affected people, after the disaster.

This type of construction could be the cheapest, as it neither requires new added materials nor skilled building labors nor advanced construction tools. Accordingly, it is appropriate for self-help construction. The construction time estimated to be one day, so it is appropriate to act as an emergency structure as well. Consequently, the horizontally laid structural-bottles walls could be easily plastered, as shown in fig. 9. Subsequently, the same building constructed as a transitional shelter could be upgraded to a permanent one, achieving the incremental process for housing. This saves effort and money, while it is considered to be environmentally friendly.

Therefore, it could be the optimum proposal for providing safe and comfortable housing to improve the lives of people suffering from impoverished conditions or a humanitarian disaster. It is considered a valid, economical and rapid approach to meet

Chart 1: Criteria Achievement Percentage for the introduced transitional shelters, Source: Author

humanitarian housing needs, while reducing wastes as one of the major environmental threats.

Further area of research needed is testing the optimum design, orientations, and thermal environmental control options for such proposals.

5. Conclusion

This research establishes a solution of two major problems facing the world today: first, homelessness caused by impoverished conditions and humanitarian crises and second, the immense amount of non-compostable PET plastic bottles waste being generated from the water and food supplies.

Re-use of PET bottles as building materials can play a role in reducing the problem of homelessness. In turn, converting the “waste” PET bottles into valuable building material would then play a role in solving the problem of PET bottles going into the waste stream.

Rebuilding is often difficult or impossible for a period of time after the disaster has occurred. And even long after the disaster has occurred, people living in these communities have no money or assets left after a disaster to rebuild their livelihoods or resettle in safer areas. Their governments are often in no position to offer loans or grants.

The research developed a scientific methodology to build a quick and easy shelter for these people. After examining and analyzing several transitional shelters, provided by the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, the research concluded that reusing PET bottles in building the transitional shelter, presents a compelling possibility. The interlocking PET plastic bottles that have been brought on site to deliver relief supplies – which would otherwise end up as waste materials – can build those shelters. It is concluded to be an effective quick sustainable efficient solution for building construction that provides safe and comfortable housing to improve the lives of people suffering from impoverished conditions or a humanitarian disaster.

These interlocking PET plastic bottles have characteristics suitable for certain situations of humanitarian crises and could have multiple benefits, including:

  • Leveraging efforts to deliver water and other liquid and dry relief materials in the first months of a crisis, to simultaneously deliver “bottle brick” building materials
  • Reducing the number of trips needed for delivering building materials, because delivering the relief suppliers in the interlocking PET plastic bottles would double as a delivery of building materials
  • Reducing the expense of purchasing and delivering those building materials that would be replaced by the already on-site interlocking PET plastic bottles
  • Eliminating the need for trash removal or management of the interlocking PET plastic bottles used to deliver the relief materials, because they would all be used for construction
  • Provide a building material that requires little to no training in construction techniques, and no other connecting materials.
  • Provide a durable building material that would last for the duration of the time needed at the humanitarian site.
  • Provide a flexible building material that can be easily dissembled and dismantled when it is no longer needed, and either recycled or reused elsewhere.

Accordingly, construction of the shelter using horizontally laid structural interlocking PET plastic bottles responds to the challenges of sustainable development – transforming useless objects into new useful materials by scientifically giving them a new function and appearance. It could be easily transformed from an emergency to a traditional to a permanent shelter, achieving an incremental process for required shelters. Adopting this methodology, could improve the living conditions for millions of people impacted by humanitarian crises, lower the overall expense of providing humanitarian relief and reduce the environmental impact of delivering relief supplies.

6. Acknowledgments

The author wishes to acknowledge Friendship products for funding this research to be conducted and presented. Many thanks especially for Mr. Tim Carlson, the managing director of Friendship products for his continuous support, encouragement and effort.

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