How We Started
Back in 1994 Peter Collier was a struggling family man who wanted to devise a way of building a family home with almost zero resources. As a successful professional Potter, Ceramic Technician, and Artist, of some 25 years experience, Peter was familiar with clays and other related materials, and was a man gifted with the ability to think outside the square.
His dream was to create a building material that would provide his family’s need for a home at an affordable cost, as well as helping others (including the underprivileged) to also achieve this dream. Frustrated by being unable to acquire bank assistance, Peter started experimenting with various raw materials with a view to devising a cost effective material to build his house with.
After what he believed to be Divine inspiration, his attention was directed to specific experiments that finally developed a formula that blended cellulose, cement, sand and binders, and other materials into a building block with unique qualities - today's Timbercrete®.
When independent laboratories tested Timbercrete’s characteristics in accordance with the Australian Building Standards, they were surprised at its performance compared with traditional building materials, and suggested that Peter and Judi apply for a patent to protect the unique nature of the invention. Patent applications were subsequently lodged in 28 countries, some of which have since been approved, with the balance pending.
As soon as Timbercrete® appeared on the market, the Colliers were presented with a variety of business propositions from people & organisations wanting to purchase rights to the product for large sums of money. They resisted the temptation to sell out until such time as the product had further development, research and proven worth in the marketplace. They decided to offer the opportunity to individuals through a franchise, thus multiplying the opportunity and allowing customers to deal with a local representative who can provide personal service and advice.
The objectives were:
- To offer a business opportunity to suitable applicants who shared our environmental and social values.
- To provide cost effective environmentally friendly and uniquely attractive building products to 1st and 3rd world countries.
- To provide micro-enterprise opportunities and humanitarian aide through a “self-help” approach rather than just a “hand-out” approach. Using the vehicle of a franchise, to provide a “fishing line” not just “a fish” and a “leg up” not just a “hand out”.
- To build a network of franchisees providing friendship, support, cooperation, and assistance, encouraging each one to reach their full potential.
Some of the projects in which Timbercrete has been able to be a blessing include:
- Building homes for underprivileged families via Habitat for Humanity (Australia)
- Training Indigenous Australians and Canadians to manufacture blocks for their own
housing needs (Perth, Dubbo, Canada)
- Training people from Third World or developing countries to use Timbercrete in micro-enterprises (including India, Africa, South Africa and Fiji)
- Providing training for Nationals to build low cost orphanages and schools (Sri Lanka, Argentina, Romania, Pakistan)
After thousands of houses have been built from Timbercretes unique formula and after being pleasantly surprised by the discovery of many other positive qualities and attributes of the product the Colliers have reached a point where they are desiring to on sell the unique Intellectual Property and grant licences to larger corporations throughout the world. This will increase product availability and brand awareness and also help the Colliers to achieve their ongoing goals and values.