Following the catastrophic 2006 tsunami in Sumatra, Indonesia, a friend (who John built a timber frame with) contacted John with the idea of sending pre-fab timber frame homes to Banda Aceh for housing relief. Donations were obtained and Algonquin Timber Frames committed to building 20 pre- fab frames for homes in a community about 15 km inland from Banda Aceh, at the northwestern tip of Sumatra.

The unique structures utilized tenon and mortice joinery, which allows them to be easily and manually assembled in the absence of electrical services.

John and his wife Kim were assisted in the construction work by daughter Caitlin, Brian Burke and his son Eamon.