NGO promotes bamboo tech for PH housing

SOCIALIZED housing solutions provider Base believes that sustainable housing technologies can help augment the needs of the industry towards addressing the country’s 5.8M housing backlog.

“Roughly just three years after introducing this technology here, we’ve already seen how it’s improved the lives of every farmer, family and partner who make up Base’s value chain, particularly of those whose main problem is something as basic as shelter,” says Maricen Jalandoni, General Manager of Base Bahay, as she talks about the group’s proprietary Cement Bamboo Frame (CBF) technology.

Base is known for their use of CBF to build sustainable and resilient homes, particularly for communities and families living in disaster-prone and high density urban areas.

Since 2014, Base has been sharing the CBF technology with partner agencies in the socialized housing sector. Together, they build homes for vulnerable communities, particularly those living along danger zones and families with limited access to housing loans.

To date, Base has built close to 400CBF-reinforced homes across the country with more in the pipeline with help from its existing and prospective partners.

While relatively new in the Philippines, CBF traces its roots in bamboo light frame systems which originated from Latin America and dates back to the 19th century. The load bearing structure is made from round bamboo, while connections are made from steel and mortar and the cladding is a conventional plaster finish.

An improved construction solutions technology of an older construction technique called Bahareque Cementado, CBF is still widely used for housing and city structures all over Latin America to this day for its durability and resiliency to natural disasters like earthquakes. In the Philippines, Base invested heavily on how the technology can be tailored to current housing requirements, given the country’s own climate vulnerabilities.

“Much like Colombia, the Philippines also sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire. However, it is also located along a typhoon belt which makes homes and communities here even more vulnerable. The light and yet very strong Base house has been rigorously tested to resist the impact of earthquakes and typhoons for the respective location in the Philippines. Base houses therefore provide a new level of safety when it comes to bamboo housing, which is critical for the disaster prone Philippines,” says Engr. Luis Lopez Head of Product Development and Quality Control for Base.

From grass to resilient eco-friendly housing

CBF technology employs a multi-step quality process which involves strict guidelines from harvesting, all the way to the construction of the houses. Every Base house is also designed to provide protection from moisture, accelerated decay, pest infestation, sunshine and fire impact, and earthquakes.

Results of the CBF life cycle assessment also showed an environmental impact reduction of 80 percent compared to the conventional hollow block construction. Base homes also allow a more comfortable indoor climate and possible energy savings for its inhabitants.

Equally important, Base ensures that the performance of its houses is in line with the legally recommended duration for house warranties and safety and quality requirements for housing in the Philippines.

Building safer and stronger communities, one bamboo pole at a time

Base houses respect gender sensitivities, security, and safety in an otherwise unsecure environment, which is not uncommon in disaster-stricken areas. A holistic provision of basic services such as sanitation, water, energy, roads and transport, and livelihood is ensured through their partnerships.

“This technology is slowly gaining ground in the socialized housing sector as our beneficiaries begin to experience and appreciate its benefits. We welcome other organizations to join in providing empowered, resilient communities the infrastructure, inclusive basic services, value creating livelihood, land tenure and housing finance, to help build their future,” says[DL1] Jalandoni.

[DL2]Base is determined to harness more partnerships in the future to reach more areas in the country that require housing and reinforce the use of CBF technology for construction in the country.

Initiated in 2014 by the Hilti Foundation, Base is a socially-oriented organization that utilizes local, renewable raw materials for creating sustainable and resilient housing solutions. Apart from using local resources used in innovative ways and customized to local needs, Base also provides training, planning, supervision, and quality control across the value chain in an effort to improve local economies, and foster a cleaner environment through the use of renewable materials, to create long term impact for people and economies in their communities of practices. (PR)