RECOGNIZED more for his stint in the reality show Pinoy Big Brother, Slater Young considers himself more of an entrepreneur than a local celebrity, although he cannot help it if he gets recognized every now and then. On top of developing a messaging app called Klik, he kept himself busy for two years developing a walling system made of lightweight concrete.

Two weeks ago, he made available liteblocks, sold by his company LiteCrete Phils., a greener and cheaper alternative to hollow blocks.

Young explained that liteblocks still have the same elements of concrete but used technology to infuse micro air bubbles, making it lighter and provide six times more insulation than regular hollow blocks.

He also said using liteblocks lessens the cost of building because the size of each block is twice that of the regular hollow block, thus taking less time to install.

Using regular hollow blocks, he said, would cost P1,100 per square meter, including steel reinforcements and labor. He said that it would cost between P850 and P900 per square meter using liteblocks.

Though there are slight differences in the way his blocks are installed, Young assured that masons and contractors will not find it difficult to learn. His company also offers installation services.

Although the technology was available abroad before he began developing it, Young said he had to restudy everything because the raw materials and water here have different qualities from what was being produced in other countries like China. A licensed civil engineer, Young traveled to other places to understand the technology and develop it for Cebu.

He makes his blocks in a 2,000 square meter facility on AS Fortuna St. in Mandaue City with a staff of 15. They can produce 1,000 to 1,500 blocks a day, but he feels that they can scale up to double that if he adds more shifts.

Young is no stranger to the construction business, as his father established Hi Speed Construction Corp. It allowed him to test out his product before making it available commercially. Currently, a few warehouses being built at an economic zone are using liteblocks.

While the use of lightweight concrete is not new to developers in Cebu, he said they have mostly been using imported material. He hopes they will see how much easier and cheaper it is to use liteblocks and no longer have to go through the rigors of importation.

He hopes to promote it to contractors, developers, architects and those planning to build their homes. He does not see much difficulty in convincing those familiar with construction, saying it is easy to explain how liteblocks work. He also hopes to introduce the technology to Habitat for Humanity, of which he is an ambassador. He said lightweight concrete was used in most rehabilitation efforts for those affected in the tsunami that hit most of Southeast Asia.

Liteblocks will also become the main material for a six-house project he is developing with two friends. YKC Realty is building six high-end, modern zen homes in Busay Highland.

He likes the challenge of designing a house to fit Busay’s terrain, which he assures, is solid rock and not prone to erosion. He also feels their designs won’t work in the urban areas.