Repurposed car bumpers and battery covers, along with discarded shampoo and cosmetic bottles from hotels, are being used as a new formwork system for residential concrete slabs. We heard from QPOD™ about this revolutionary eco friendly system.
Instead of the traditional polystyrene pods used to form a raft for a concrete floor, from which inevitably beads spread far and wide when they are cut to size and often enter our waterways and environment, there is a new solution.
It’s one made with unlikely materials; materials sourced from places as diverse as car battery covers to discarded cosmetics containers from hotels. Known as QPODs, these simple but deliberate construction materials are changing the way residential concrete slabs are poured, and in the process repurposing a significant amount of plastic waste that would otherwise end up in a landfill or being shipped offshore to be processed.
While the concept is the same as the traditional polystyrene raft or waffle slab, the makeup is entirely different.
Unlike polystyrene, QPODs are hollow, which means they can easily be stacked and transported with less resources used to do so. “Imagine turning up to site with one ute and trailer of pod floor materials. It’s a pleasant change from a full truck and trailer load of polystyrene,” QPOD’s Peter Crawshaw says.
“At site, there is no wastage as they don’t need to be cut to size. With a full host of accessories, the QPOD™ Flooring System can be customised to fit any floor configuration. They are simply placed next to one another to form a grid, with reinforcing steel bars placed between them. The concrete is then poured as normal, under which the QPODs create the tried and proven pattern of ribs that make up the raft foundation.
Made in Hawke’s Bay, QPOD™ Flooring System is the result of six years’ development and is new to the market this year.
“We’ve partnered with The Hotel Weka, a New Zealand organisation that allows us to utilise the discarded toiletry bottles and other plastics from hotels and repurpose those into our revolutionary QPOD™ Flooring System, ” Peter says.
“The majority of residential floors in New Zealand are made using the raft or waffle slab method that consists of polystyrene pods spaced apart with reinforcing steel rods in between them. Our system is the same, only it avoids the use of polystyrene. QPODs are the same size and depth. We are not reinventing the system; our products simply replace polystyrene for a hollow plastic shell made from repurposed plastic waste.”
Can the QPOD™ Flooring System be used with underfloor heating?
“Yes, it can. QPODs encapsulate air to improve thermal capabilities and produce exceptional R values,” Peter says. “Combining QPODs with underfloor heating is a great way to increase energy efficiency. Underfloor heating is easy to install in conjunction with the QPOD™ Flooring System.
“R-Value is an important factor in QPOD™ Flooring System’s sustainability goals for New Zealand buildings. Around 14 per cent of heat is typically lost through the floor, which is why choosing the right foundation to build on is so important. With the QPOD™ Flooring System, R Value can be calculated using an area-to-perimeter ratio calculator,” Peter says.
“Using QPODs alone, most residential floors will achieve a compliant R Value of 1.3 or higher. To increase this easily, you can add edge insulation to the QPOD™ Flooring System. When this is done, the slab can achieve an R Value of 2.6 or higher.”
QPODs are CodeMark certified if used in accordance with and as part of Allied Concrete’s Allied Ready Superslab system, meaning no additional engineering is required and the system can be signed off by all local councils.
Have a look at QPOD on ArchiPro here to find out more about this innovative product from Hawke’s Bay.