The house that stood
Triboard wall system withstands Cyclone Winston - and is ready for more
2nd May 2016
When severe Tropical Cyclone Winston made landfall in February 2016, it was the strongest cyclone to ever hit Fiji, with winds of up to 230 km/h. The devastation which followed has rallied support to Fiji’s aid from all corners of the Pacific and the World. Weathering the cyclone from within a friend's home, Fiji property owner Dave Beaumont was “astounded” to see the house had survived the battering.
On returning to the property a few days after the cyclone, there amongst the wreckage stood the home, built with the wallboard construction system Triboard. Aside from a small amount of damage to the spouting, Beaumont recounts, “the house itself was totally intact... structurally, not even any cracks on paintwork on walls.” This apparently came at great surprise to the locals, who “cannot believe that a house like that – on poles – is still there after two cyclones.”
It was then that Mr Beaumont decided to investigate New Zealand manufacturer Juken's Triboard product for his own next build. Building on the islands in Fiji, where conventional construction is the norm, poses particular challenges including combating the damp, the humidity and insects. Following a trip to Juken's forest, Dave also learned that a specially treated product existed to withstand island conditions.
Having now built the house in this material, Beaumont has “complete confidence” his new property will defy the Pacific's cyclonic environment. “You literally would have to tear the entire house off its foundations it's so strong”. He was also complimentary of the Triboard wall system in terms of build speed, ease, accuracy and stability, and noted the thinner walls when compared with conventional methods accounted for “something like 6% extra floor space”. The system comes from sustainable, renewable forests and Juken is measured through internationally recognised environmental standards including FSO and ISO.
Now advocating for this product to be used by aid agencies supporting cyclonic regions in the Pacific, Dave Beaumont describes Triboard as a “wonderful solution” for this extreme environment. “It would be so easy for aid agencies to pre-package small bures and buildings, and they would be there and strong for the safety of the people living in those outlying villages.”