Mexican Builders Learn More About Concrete Construction
Mexican builders learned about the benefits and sustainability of concrete home construction at Mexico’s first International Seminar on Sustainable Housing last month in Mexico City.
As part of the seminar, Mike Weber, president of NAHB’s Concrete Home Building Council, gave a presentation to the builders on the superior versatility and reliability of concrete over the traditional, wood-frame building methods used in the United States. Weber is also the director of residential construction for the Portland Cement Association.
Weber said he was “impressed by the home building efficiencies in the Mexican housing sector,” adding that concrete home construction in Mexico has already made many advances.
But he noted that there were some major issues holding the housing sector back.
“Mexico’s builders don’t need to replace the way they build,” he said. “They only have to fine tune what they do.”
He stressed the need for Mexican builders to insulate new homes and suggested that they incorporate such technologies as energy-efficient windows, insulated concrete forms (ICFs) and other methods of concrete wall insulation.
“In the U.S., we have building codes that require certain amounts of insulation,” Weber said. “Such codes seem to be lacking in Mexico.”
Weber told the builders that incorporating insulation into construction would be “a real quick conversion” since many builders are already pouring concrete for multi-level homes.
“The biggest stumbling block is cost,” he said. “It’s going to take one of the leading builders to start incorporating insulation” to push the method into mainstream construction.
“It’s also a quality of life issue,” Weber added. “If someone wants a sustainable home in Mexico, using insulation will lessen the impact of increased energy demands while providing greater indoor comfort. If you plan to live in a home for more than five to seven years, then it makes sense to build with an insulated concrete wall system.”
Weber told the audience that the technology developed in the U.S. to grow the concrete home market is the same technology that can quickly be incorporated into the Mexican home building market. Incorporating concrete and insulation would “make Mexico’s building sector more sustainable,” he said.
The seminar was organized by CONAFOVI (Mexico’s housing commission) in conjunction with the World of Concrete Mexico 2006 conference held in mid-June.
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