Thevia Roof Tiles
Lighter, cheaper, faster, greener. A South African startup has developed roof-tiles made of 99.4% waste material. Made from recycled High-density Poly Ethylene (HDPE), one of the most commonly used plastics, these green roof tiles are twice as strong as traditional concrete tiles and 70% lighter. Thevia’s selling price yields an 8–15% saving on the total roof installation cost. These roof tiles are especially suited to low-cost housing and offers a green solution for roof building and construction.
The South African roof tile market is worth an estimated R1.4 billion per year and is comprised of 7 key manufacturing players, who produce an estimated 110 – 130 million units per year. About 45% of concrete tiles are supplied directly to end-users (builders, roofing contractors, and project developers) with about 55% routed through merchants. However, this market has remained stagnant since the 2005 – 2007 boom. Thevia aims to claim market share by offering a superior quality product at about a10% cheaper price point.
Thevia’s tiles are engineered products which look like normal concrete/clay/slate roof tiles, however, they are twice as strong at only 30% of the weight. Furthermore, they are not brittle, and will not break when, for example, they are being transported or when falling off the roof during construction. The Thevia tiles interlock, side by side, and top to bottom in such a manner that the roof becomes a single impregnable unit. For this reason, the tiles provide superior water run-off and water protection properties.
While Thevia’s tiles are comparable to normal tiles in terms of cost, the properties of the tiles enables the customer to take advantage of other savings, such as: - Transport (at only 30% of the weight of normal tiles, trucks can carry almost double the number of tiles before being restricted by the volume) - Structural design (reduced roof weight allows for wider spacing on roof trusses, and less obligatory supporting wall strength, the tiles inherently provide the construction with water resistance) - Labour (double the number of tiles can be delivered in one load, and the significantly lighter weight shortens construction timelines and reduce safety risks) - Tiles (customers won’t need to procure 5% extra tiles to compensate for breakage). Thevia’s tiles are also green/environmentally friendly, as they are produced from 99.4% recycled waste material, which saves an estimated 1.9kg CO2 per tile in comparison to the traditional cement tiles. The patent (application no. 2016/00338) protects both the product design and material.
The inventors wanted to solve a need they saw in the market from their collective experiences in product design and property development. They wanted to produce a superior quality roof tile that provided opportunities for the user to save, and wanted to design an environmentally friendly product.
Thevia currently has three equal shareholders: Bill Bowman (70) – Director of operations: Bill is the product and process designer. He is qualified as a toolmaker and started his career in production and plastics engineering in the United Kingdom (UK). In 1982 he immigrated to South Africa. He joined the automotive industry, first Toyota and then a series of production companies supplying the automotive industry. Bill is married to Athlene, a property developer. It is the combination of Bill’s automotive experience, and Athlene’s property development which gave rise to the Thevia concept. Ralph Brucher (42) – Managing director: Ralph is the founder of Scavenger Manufacturing, a company consisting of 70 staff members, achieving a R25 to R30 million turnover annually. Ralph built this group out of a group of companies with a 19-year history. Ralph grew Scavenger from the ground up, starting in his garage. Today Scavenger is an ISO9001:2008 certified exporting company. Martin Ackermann (32) – Financial director: Martin holds a BSc Actuarial Science and Financial Mathematics, and a BCom Business Management from the University of Pretoria (UP), South Africa and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) (Cum Laude) from Institut Européen d'Administration des Affaires (INSEAD) in France. After having consulted with McKinsey & Company, mainly on operations and transformation for 5 years, Martin joined Ralph in the Scavenger group in 2014.