In the year of 2016 Markus Silfverberg was having a discussion with the UN regarding especially the crisis areas in Africa and the urgent need to find temporary shelter for millions of people. The practical need was to find mobile, affordable modules that could be easily built and would be better than temporary tents. Other criteria were the common lack of electricity and tools and that the shelters needed to be lightweight. The task was demanding, but Mr Silfverberg decided to give it a try.
He started developing the idea of a new building concept alone, then brought it up with some of his family friends, ones with an understanding of technology and business. They all shared the mindset that anything is possible. Saw tremendous potential behind the idea and a team of six like-minded people was established. “Quality and environmental issues are paramount to us, and the development of the product was based on that.”
In addition, Mr Silfverberg also had decades of experience and expertise on environmental issues, different rawmaterials and the building industry.
“Our vision is to revolutionize the entire construction industry with our innovative solution and material. We are creating a better tomorrow by creating sustainable communities around the world.”
The team chose biocomposite as the rawmaterial for the blocks because it was a by-product of the forest industry. The binder for the biocomposite is produced from virgin polypropylene and recycled polypropylene that is sourced from verified and trusted origins whenever possible and safe to use. The carbon footprint of the material is close to zero. “The idea and rawmaterial were perfect, but we were facing great challenges in creating correctly-shaped blocks to get them smoothly removed from exerted form as well as easily assembled.”
Mobile house built in eight hours with a rubber hammer and a wrench
Mr Silfverberg’s team patiently kept on testing new versions of the blocks. During the initial period of one year, numerous 3D-printed versions were built, until the team figured out the right shape and method of production. A miniature house was built in the garage. “We were able to produce very lightweight blocks that were easy to assemble. Nearly anyone, together with another person, can build a house in just eight hours, with only a rubber hammer and a wrench.” Thanks to the material and technology, the cost of building stays low. Also, the house can be easily dismantled, rebuilt somewhere else, rooms can be added and modified.
The innovative building method has been presented around the world on numerous occasions. The reception has been overwhelmingly positive. “A big thank you to our partners, Business Finland, Finnpartnership and the Foreign Ministry of Finland, who have guided us in the right direction and opened doors to us.”
At the moment, Block solutions is looking for partners, local licensees, who commit to abide to the company policy of gender equality and equal pay. The licensee package provides the local entrepreneur with all necessary production machinery for starting their own business: an injection molding machine, molds, trainings and a high-revenue business opportunity. “With our business model we want to support job creation in emerging markets, create better opportunities and create prosperity in the area and for the families.”
The opportunities of the building method of the future
There is a wide-spread interest in the Blocks both in industrialised and in emerging markets. People recognize the potential for permanent housing in, for example, Namibia and Benin. “We never stop imagining what else we could do with the Blocks. The possibilities are endless.”