Angus Hughes is constructing a building out of used pallets and other recycled materials. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin
Angus Hughes is constructing a building out of used pallets and other recycled materials. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin Allan Reinikka

Pallet house built by CQU students survives Marcia's wrath

A PALLET house designed and built by CQUniversity engineering students has come through Tropical Cyclone Marcia unscathed.

The house, built entirely from pallets, stood up to wind gusts of up to 113kmh with no damage, and the success has steeled the students' resolve to take their design global.

The pallet house is the prototype for The Shelter Project, an idea developed by the engineering students to provide emergency shelter after natural disasters.

In December 2014, the idea won The Big Issue's Big Idea competition, beating other innovative ideas from university students across Australia.

Project team members Jessica Kahl, Angus Hughes and Mattison Rose proposed developing the unique temporary housing from reused industrial pallets, and employing disadvantaged Australians in the construction.

Solar panels will ensure residents have power without relying on the grid.

The team has been in Melbourne this week, meeting with leaders from The Big Issue and Pricewaterhouse Coopers as part of their prize.

"It's been incredible to have senior business people look at our idea and go through our business plan," Jessica said.

"They had a lot of suggestions we'd never thought of, like having a commercial side of the business, and putting a pallet house in each capital city to run as a café, and put income back into the not-for-profit side."

Jessica said this year the team would focus on creating more prototype pallet houses at CQUniversity Rockhampton North campus, and testing their liveability by making them available for overnight accommodation.

"There's still a lot of research we need to do - but the fact they're solid in a cyclone is definitely a good sign," she said.

CQUniversity Vice-Chancellor Professor Scott Bowman said CQUniversity was determined to work with the team and help the innovative project go global.

"This is a truly great idea, especially after Tropical Cyclone Marcia. CQUniversity is committed to improving recovery efforts wherever disaster strikes," he said.



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