Alternative Building Methods and Materials

Alternative Framing

We live in a world on the brink of civilian space travel. And yet, we are utilizing the same methods and materials in low-rise construction that we have been using since the Industrial Revolution. Innovation in the built community is achingly slow. But, a climate and housing crisis is driving change. Aware of this need, BamCore developed alternative building methods and materials to bring the built community into the 21st century.

There are nearly 8 billion people on the planet. According to a global study by Pew Research, the average number of people living in a household is five. That’s about 1 billion 600 million homes. And, we need to build the equivalent of a new New York City every month for the next 40 years to keep up with demand. What does that mean concerning our resources?

Conventional stick construction is how 90% of homes are built today. And, according to the Census Bureau, the average American home built in 2013 was 2,600 square feet. It takes about 16,380 board feet to frame the average American home or 22 mature pine trees. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reported that 1,682,000 new residential construction permits were authorized in February of 2021. That is over 37 million trees that will need to be harvested for the construction permits approved in February in the United States. This number becomes more sobering when we are reminded that this is only the framing materials… it doesn’t include floors, roofing, siding, and all the rest. 

The housing sustainability crisis is here, and it brings with it rising lumber prices, a skilled craftsman labor shortage, and a big carbon footprint.

Rising Lumber Prices 

According to the National Association of Home Builders, Western Spruce, Pine, and Fir 2×4’s have gone up 158% in the last year, studs have risen 164%, and Southern Pine is up 147%. Scarcity and demand are driving lumber prices through the roof, which is stalling much of the construction we desperately need to take place. 

Several factors contribute to the rise in lumber prices, the climate-driven wildfires on the west coast, the pandemic shutting down the lumber mills, and a world-wide construction boom being the big three. The demand has increased while the supply has slowed to a trickle.

Construction Labor Shortage

There is a skilled craftsman labor shortage. Many have dropped out of the industry, but more problematic is that there is a whole generation of workers not considering construction as a viable career option. The Associated General Contractors of America conducted a survey spanning 1,000 construction businesses; of that, 81 percent reported they are having a hard time finding qualified, skilled labor to fill open positions. 

The solution? You guessed it. Widen the labor pool by innovating the building method. BamCore replaces conventional stick framing with alternative building methods and materials that is sustainable, durable, healthier, and quick to install. We are elated to be one of the forerunners leading the built community into the 21st century. 

Bamboo slats

Alternative Building Materials

It is an exciting time to be innovating in the built community. Many teams worldwide are brainstorming a healthier way to construct the spaces we live and work in. Revamping old ideas like straw bale and rammed earth construction is getting some traction, and have their place. But, limitations like building codes, not being suitable for humid locals, design limitations, and learning new construction techniques, don’t make them a suitable solution for today’s needs. 

This article is concerned with alternative structural building materials and methods. There has been some press on fun new materials like fungal bricks and hempcrete. And, they are exciting new additions to the built community, but they are non-load bearing and best used as insulation alternatives. 

This brings me to the star of the show: Global Bamboo Technologies, BamCore Prime Wall System. BamCore utilizes the tensile and compressive strength of timber bamboo to manufacture a customizable prefabricated wall system. Timber bamboo is a highly renewable resource that sequesters more carbon than a similar stand of trees. Plus, it can be sustainably harvested every four years. 

The BamCore Prime Wall system is an advantageous alternative building material. It is customizable, code-compliant, and eliminates 80% of wood studs, headers, and posts. This hollow wall design reduces thermal bridging and air leakage for operational energy savings year after year. In BamCore’s mission to decarbonize the built environment, the thread of sustainability is followed through in the manufacturing process. The patented low embodied energy process doesn’t use heat, chemicals, water, or subject to formaldehyde off-gassing. BamCore is confident that this is the best renewable structural building material available today. 

Alternative Building Methods

Marrying the traditional with industrialized construction techniques, BamCore has created an alternative building method that saves time, reduces waste, and widens the labor pool. By using our advanced Building Information Modeling software, we can streamline the design, bid, and build process. An animated 3D of the construction plan is generated. This interactive design fosters collaboration between owners, design teams, and construction teams. 

Once the plans have been finalized, the BamCore panels are precut at the factory to millimeter accuracy for every door, window, outlet, and access panel. MEPI maps are drawn onto the panels, clearly showing where electrical, plumbing, etc. are to be placed. A nail pattern is printed on the walls to eliminate guesswork and to speed installation. The walls are numbered, palletized, and delivered to the job site. No heavy equipment is needed to erect the walls, and they are easily installed on a traditional bottom plate. Three laborers skilled with a pneumatic nail gun can do the installation in half the time of a conventional stick-constructed wall. 

Build Green, Build Strong, Build Fast, Build with BamCore.

BamCore is passionate about harnessing the strength of timber bamboo and industrialized construction techniques to decarbonize the built environment. We are on a mission to fast-track the millions of construction jobs out there for a healthy and happy future. Contact sales@bamcore.com for more information.