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Elon Musk Files Permits for CA Brick Store

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

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Billionaire Elon Musk is officially moving forward with his plans to sell bricks made from tunnel waste, a byproduct of one of his other ventures, The Boring Company, which will be celebrating its first completed test tunnel next month.

Musk reportedly filed planning documents for the storefront to The Brick Store LLC late last month. The store will be set in Hawthorne, California, just a short distance from SpaceX and The Boring Company headquarters.

Brick by Boring Brick

Musk initially announced plans for the bricks in May, noting that the material would come from “excavated muck,” and that there will be an “insane” number of bricks. (An actual total has still not otherwise been specified.)

The Boring Company

Billionaire Elon Musk is officially moving forward with his plans to sell bricks made from tunnel waste, a byproduct of one of his other ventures, The Boring Company, which will be celebrating its first completed test tunnel next month.

Musk said he plans to sell the bricks and use them to build future Boring Company offices. Paired with his focus on low-cost housing, Musk’s intentions are constructive, but according to Juan Matute, a lecturer at the University of California, Los Angeles, and associate director of UCLA's Institute of Transportation Studies, who commented on Musk’s plans last spring, the billionaire assumes that housing costs are driven by construction materials, and that construction materials that can be replaced with bricks. (In short, he says, neither of those things are the case.)

The cost of labor and land are among the primary forces that determine the cost of housing construction. Bricks also tend to be expensive and are not the most useful material in earthquake-prone areas such as California, which usually requires buttresses such as reinforced steel and rebar when brick is used.

Musk has maintained, though, that the bricks are rated for California seismic loads and will be strong but bored in the center, to make them both light and earthquake-proof.

Another factor that has yet to be publicly addressed by Musk is the chemicals that have seeped into the ground under Los Angeles, which could prove to be problematic for the Boring bricks—these same materials would show up again in the completed construction material.

Additionally, though, The Boring Company has noted that the dirt bricks may be used to replace concrete in some of its tunnel linings.

Musk has also previously gone on record to say that the bricks will cost 10 cents per piece, but would be free if they are used for affordable housing projects.

   

Tagged categories: Brick; Building Envelope; North America; Residential Construction

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