FREMANTLE’S Eco Structures started out making fancy “tents” for glampers, but these days it’s just as likely to be making low-cost housing.
After a cyclone in 2000 wiped out Eco Beach Resort in Broome, owner Karl Plunkett developed easy-to-erect cabins with superior protection from the elements.
The “WABI” cabins are now commonplace in luxury resorts across the globe, but they are also used by governments and developers for low-cost housing.
“Our first WABI cabins are going to New York, and we are building houses in Gove [north east Arnhem Land] as we speak,” Mr Plunkett says.
The dwellings are also suitable for small urban blocks and granny flats and can be erected by a four-man team in hours, not months.
The entire house comes in a single box with everything you need, including the structural steel frame, fixings, ceiling, walls, large glass windows and doors.
“In a kit form, everything has a number and high tech drawings,” Mr Plunkett says.
They can be shipped anywhere in the world for about $4000, making them vastly cheaper than a conventional build, he adds.
The tough wall panels are cyclone and earthquake resistant, and the end result is a dwelling that is eco friendly with a high thermal efficiency.
It’s also easy to extend: “They are modularised so they can grow,” Mr Plunkett says.
The house-like cabins can stand the test of time in any conditions around the world, from Rottnest Island to the mountains of China, Mr Plunkett claims.
If you want to take a look at the cabins, there’s a display site on Amherst Street in Fremantle.
By JENNY D’ANGER
24 Marine Tce, Fremantle