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Local Matters (25 July 2022):

Engineer Thibaud (T-Bo) Lastennet spent the first 25 years of his career drilling into the earth’s surface looking for oil and gas. What makes this unusual is that he went to university in his native France to become a rocket engineer.

“Instead of going up, I went down,” he says with a smile.

Lastennet, wife Polly and their three teenage boys are now resident on the Hibiscus Coast, after emigrating to NZ four years ago. Earlier this year, they started GroundedNZ, which sees Lastennet once again drilling holes in the ground.

However, this time it is not in the seas, swamps and deserts of the world, but more than likely in someone’s backyard.

GroundedNZ installs novel foundations for lightweight structures such as tiny homes, cabins, decks, fences, pergolas and solar panel installations. However, instead of using conventional foundation materials such as concrete and wooden posts, the structures are fixed in place using galvanised, structural steel screws called ground screws.

“Digging holes and filling them with concrete takes time and money, and you are left with soil to dispose of,” Lastennet says. “Twenty ground screws can be installed in half a day with no concrete, damage to the garden or waste material. It is immediately ready to build on and a much more environmentally friendly alternative.”

Lastennet says that while the system is relatively new in NZ, it is already being used widely overseas. He hopes to interest both property owners and builders in the idea of using the ground screws.

“They can be used on all terrain with the right geotechnical advice and give builders an alternative when it comes to putting foundations in.”

Read on Local Matters website

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