Canadian startup PLAEX aims to simplify construction with modular bricks

Innovative PLAEX-crete modular bricks made from over 90% recycled plastic.

PLAEX blocks, located in Canada, are pitching a new way to build houses using interlocking, Lego-like modular bricks. Made from “Plaex-crete,” a composite of over 90% recycled plastic, these modular bricks are said to be both strong and lightweight. The recycled plastic is processed into a cement-like paste, which is then formed into blocks with additional colourants, UV inhibitors, and flame retardants. According to PLAEX, the result is a brick that is 35% lighter than traditional bricks of the same size.

The key feature of PLAEX modular bricks is their easy assembly. They click together without the need for cuts or mortar. According to the company, a double-storey building can be constructed in 11-12 days with minimal equipment. Their objective is to simplify the building process for DIY enthusiasts and future automated construction methods.

“We believe that automation is about to transform our world, in a shift bigger than the automobile and the smartphone combined,” the team states. “The future of automation is here today, from 3D printing to robotic arms to humanoid robots. Automation and cooperative robots are no longer science fiction.”

Watch their story

Dustin Bowers, a carpenter by trade, founded PLAEX in 2017. The name PLAEX stands for PL-astic, A-ggregate, and EX-truder, highlighting the innovative use of recycled materials in the construction process. The modular bricks are made from plastics such as PETE, LDPE, PP, and HDPE, sourced from extended producer responsibility partners, often from agricultural waste.

PLAEX’s comparative performance against other building materials.
PLAEX’s comparative performance against other building materials.

The processed plastic is formed into LinX blocks for landscape walls and Brick&Panel blocks for wall construction. The modular blocks, according to PLAEX, are durable, capable of withstanding significant impacts and pressure.

Watch a fly through on how PLAEXs modular blocks could be used

The company also sees a future where robots assemble and modify buildings. “We look forward to one day soon having fleets of robots assembling and modifying truly circular and affordable buildings,” the team adds.

Currently, PLAEX blocks are approved for use in storage, walls, and landscaping but not yet for residential construction. The company is working towards obtaining the necessary permits for housing use. Recently, they partnered with JOT Design to showcase potential home designs using PLAEX blocks.


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