Build it with Bamboo: The future of socialized housing and construction

If it can’t be done with bamboo, it probably shouldn’t be done .” – Fred Hornaday, poet and bamboo ambassador

True to its commitment to create sustainable and resilient housing solutions, socialized housing non-profit group Base Bahay Foundation Inc. is leading an initiative that builds structures through a humble species of grass—bamboo, especially for low-income, disaster-stricken communities in the Philippines.

The Base Bahay Foundation works with a network of construction partners in utilizing bamboo to produce typhoon-resistant, earthquake-resistant, fire-resistant, and insect-resistant structures that can last for more than 50 years.

The group has already built a thousand homes sheltering over 4,000 individuals across 12 self-sustaining, income-generating communities in the country.

Permanent, durable

Speaking at the “Let’s Do Bamboo: An Investment and Market Opportunities Forum” hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Region VII, Pablo Jorillo, general manager of Base Bahay, said the group uses Cement-Bamboo Frame technology—a combination of bamboo housing and conventional technology—in building a “more permanent, durable, and affordable structure.”

Jorillo said the technology is accredited by the National Housing Authority (NHA) through the Accreditation of Innovative Technologies for Housing (AITECH).

Base Bahay’s works include bamboo research and education, and efforts toward the recognition of bamboo as sustainable building material in the Philippines.

“Bamboo has yet to become a mainstream construction material and the infrastructure industry has recently begun to create standards for its use,” Jorillo added.

Design standards for Bamboo

Last December, the DTI adopted ISO 22156:2021 or the Bamboo Structural Design international standard for use in one- to two-storey house structures, which references bamboo’s mechanical resistance, serviceability, durability, load-bearing capacity design, and allowable stress design.

“After the release of the PNS 22156 last year, the next step would be for these standards to be included in the National Structural Code of the Philippines,” Jorillo said.

Such development, Jorillo said, would then eventually “spark a revolution” not just in housing, but for sustainability of the environment at large.