‘Lego’ project wins innovation awards for first US build

Renco received a first-place award for building innovations at the 2024 JEC Composites Innovation Awards in Paris, France.

Renco build in Florida. A RENCO USA build in Palm Springs, Florida, US. (Image: Renco)

The company said it’s the second international award in a matter of months they have been awarded, following on from the Best Construction Product Design of 2023 at the BLT Built Design Awards in Lucerne, Switzerland, last November.

Both awards were for Renco’s first US build, which was erected in the state of Florida.

Renco manufactures concrete blocks with interlocking knobs, much like toy construction blocks, and has structured the process for builders and contractors.

“This award recognizes how the Renco system is ushering in a new era of construction, with the power to lower housing costs, address the skilled labour shortage, and reduce the industry’s impact on the environment,” said Renco co-founder Thomas P. Murphy, Jr.

The blocks are made of recycled glass fibres, resin, and stone, and the company said its composite material is stronger than concrete and is certified to withstand Category 5 hurricanes.

“Following more than 12 years of research and development, Renco successfully completed its inaugural apartment complex in Palm Springs, Florida, last November, having passed more than 400 safety tests for US building approval,” stated the company.

Known as Lakewood Village, the Palm Springs 96-unit residential dwelling was referred to as the ‘Lego Project’ throughout the construction process, which was first announced in 2020.

Eleven unskilled workers assembled each three-story building in about eight weeks, following color-coded plans, said Renco

“This [product] addresses the affordable housing crisis by using renewable materials, eliminating construction waste, and reducing labour costs,” said Renco. “No specialised workers or heavy machinery are required to build with the blocks, which are stronger but 75% percent lighter than concrete.”

Murphy said he hopes his product and accompanying construction process help move construction further toward adopting more modular-build practices.

“We’ve created user-friendly, connectable bricks and color-coded plans, so communities can construct more affordable buildings, more quickly,” he said.

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