During the pandemic, people are looking more than ever to expand their living space— whether to earn rental income, add home office space, or house family members. For many, adding an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) to their property could be the answer. But ADUs can be difficult to move and time-consuming to build.
Kurt Overmeyer, the founder of Barrier Structures 360 and former Economic Development Director of Seaside, CA, has a solution— create kits to build ADUs, homes, and other structures using lightweight, energy-efficient Structured Insulation Panels (SIPs).
Overmeyer discovered SIPs while attending to a sick family member in Phoenix, AZ. During his stay, he met with a friend who used the material to work on automobiles. Later that night, the two brainstormed on how SIPs could be used to build energy-efficient ADUs.
SIPs are composed of expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam insulation sandwiched between two structural skins of steel. Panels snap and lock together using a unique system that provides a waterproof, energy-efficient continuous surface. The resulting strong, energy-efficient, affordable material can be used to build panels for floors, walls, and roofs in residential and commercial buildings.
According to Overmeyer, using SIPs to construct ADUs reduces the weight of structures by nearly 75% and shortens the building time by a couple of weeks. Barrier Structures 360 has currently developed several kits to build ADUs and is working on kits to build actual houses and townhouses from the same material.
Currently, the company’s largest hurdle is meeting California Code shake table testing standards. “The material has not been used the way we are using it. We are not worried about the test, but it is expensive.”
Overmeyer recently participated in the 2021 Startup Investment & Community Capital (SICC) Expo. “From [attending] I have been able to meet now with seven people who are interested in investing in this company, and am in the process of working with Sail Community Capital to potentially do a crowdfunded seed round,” he said.
Since then, potential investors have started asking when they can make the investment.
“Our hope is we can meet our goal or exceed goal from the seed round to do the shake test which is $250,,000, to get a full set of plans and engineering for all of the kits that we already designed, and leave us some money left over that we can work on the townhouse and the real house, the formal building plans for that.”
Overmeyer has also been involved in Startup Monterey Bay events since the beginning and even participated as a panelist and judge during events.
“It was great because it helped me prepare to pitch,” he said. “I knew what people were looking for and it made it a little bit easier to build an effective slide deck and make sure I had somewhat answered all the questions I had anticipated inside the presentation itself.”