Dr. Nabil Taha has over 27 years of structural engineering experience. Prior to opening his own engineering firm in Oregon in 1997, he was a Professor of Engineering at Northern Montana State University and at Oregon Institute of Technology. He has structural expertise in a wide range of building systems and can answer questions related to virtually any common building method. His focus is on green design and he is always willing to trying something new. Dr. Taha is dedicated to future sustainability through innovation; he creates solutions for beautiful sustainable and safe structures by melding old and new technologies. He loves a good challenge. He is Licensed in twenty three states and can design buildings and/or consult to assist with structural permitting in these states as well as internationally. As a prior College Professor, Dr. Taha is a teacher at heart. He loves to share his knowledge and offers educational seminars and trainings for the do-it-yourselfers and professionals alike. Dr. Taha's goal is to continue to grow and provide knowledge and services for those trying to make their dream project a reality. No project is too big or too small. For information about Dr. Nabil Taha and his engineering firm see www.structure1.com
Q: We are going to start constructing 5 houses (and more later). Is it possible we can produce our own cellular concrete or something similar, cheap, good and sustainable? Can you advice us to find some production method for our own?
A: (Simon Stanfield) The short answer to your question is, yes. Any of the "top three" of the volumetric manufacturers produce equipment that will do what you ask. My questions to you are this: What materials do you plan to use? Do you have a model mix design? Are there building codes attached to materials production? Do you have a production demand (daily, hourly)? How much can you budget for production? A typical truck mounted mobile concrete mixer with some kind of portable bulk cement storage can cost from $200,000 -- $250,000, U.S. funds. I have seen too many poorly funded operations try to begin production, only to fail. You must have consistency and capability built into your equipment to be effective. The bargain machines do a very poor job and guarantee failure. Thus, I wonder if five homes would be enough to pay for your investment. Additional consideration should be given to the types of materials you are thinking about. Are you speaking of "Autoclaved Cellular Concrete," foamed mortar, or a simple "rubble" type of concrete with a lot of air voids in it? I am using the term "concrete" to cover any hardened material produced by mixing cementitious stuff together. I have the advantage of living in the town where the leading manufacturer of mobile mixers is located. I can provide introductions and schedule discussions if you would like to pursue this concept further.