Friday, 22 June 2012

Safety disadvantage of Plastic houses

Letter to the Editor of The Independent. Sent on 22 Jun 2012

----

Dear Sir,

EFTE roofs used in the Eden Project (wikipedia)
In your article "Here's one I won earlier" (21 Jun 2012), Alex Aldridge describes the winning idea of "Plastic houses" (eco homes with ETFE roofs) at the European Inventor Awards. He mentions its three main advantages (energy efficiency, blasts resistant, and light weight) but only two minor disadvantages (easy to cut through, noisy in rain).
He forgot to mention the most important of the disadvantages that happens to cancel one of advantages: while EFTE might be suited to resist terrorist bomb blasts, it definitely cannot resist fire. Moreover, it feeds to it as EFTE is a flammable material.

This brings bad news to plastic housing from a safety perspective.

Best Regards,
Dr Guillermo Rein
Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering
Imperial College London
http://www.imperial.ac.uk/people/g.rein