As we see in Pakistan right now, it can take months and years until victims of natural catastrophes have a roof over their heads again. The British company Concrete Canvas produces highly durable shelters made from a flexible, cement impregnated fabric – ‘Concrete Cloth’ – that hardens when hydrated to form a thin, durable, water and fire proof concrete layer.
‘Concrete Cloth’ consists of a 3-dimensional fibre matrix containing a specially formulated dry concrete mix. A PVC backing on one surface of the cloth ensures the material is completely water proof.
‘Concrete Canvas Shelters’ can be built up by two people in under one hour and is ready to use in only 24 hours. The construction happens in four steps:
1. Delivery: ‘Concrete Canvas Shelters’ are supplied folded in polyethylene, airtight, water and rot proof sacks within ISPM15 heat treated timber/ply panel crates.
2. Inflation: An electric fan is activated which inflates the plastic inner to lift the structure until it is self supporting. The shelter is then pegged down with ground anchors around the base.
3. Hydration: ‘Concrete Canvas Shelter’ is then hydrated by spraying with water. Water does not need to be potable but must not be sewage. Sea water may be used.
4. Setting: The Concrete Cloth cures in the shape of the inflated inner and 24 hours later the structure is ready to use. Access holes can be cut to allow the installation of services.