a. Goal: to provide a structure for storage of materials or use bamboo within the main housing structure as a roofing material, as reinforcement or in the creation of exterior walls
b. Benefits of the specific technology to the community
  • high strength to weight ration, especially in tension
  • its supply can be easily replenished due to its fast growth, it is a rapidly renewable material
  • when dried and treated, it can be used as a flooring material -it is compared to a very rigid wood.
  • it can be durable, resilient and long lasting
  • bamboo exceeds the strength of construction wood by several times, it has twice the compressive strength of concrete, and roughly the same strength to weight ratio of steel in tension
  • bamboo generates 30% more oxygen than trees: it helps reduce carbon dioxide gases
  • it can be maintained regularly by replacing deteriorated parts
  • very short time to assemble
  • quality to resist earthquake pressure very good
  • good for structural roofing applications due to its flexibility
c. Local Availability: should be available locally with the possibility of even growing it on site. Bamboo generally takes two to five years before it can be used as a construction material.
d. Regulatory or Industry Standards for Implementation of Technology
i. International Standards
The structure should comply with the International Building Code (IBC), Uniform Building Code (UBC) and International Residential Code (IRC). Amodel nondescriptive code written by Jules Janssen for the International Network of Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR)
ii. Local code enforcement: no local code has been found
e. Description of Product (s) or Process (es) and its Functionality (Succinct but Detailed Enough)
Bamboo can be cultivated on a large scale. Factors that influence the mechanical properties of bamboo are the species, age, moisture content and position along the culm. The exterior of bamboo is hard and tough. Bamboo is made up of two fibrous layers. The outer layer contains twice as much fiber as the inner layer so it is stronger.
f. Design parameters
With proper preservative treatment bamboo can be used as beams and columns in low cost construction. Bamboo can also be used as reinforcement in concrete. Bamboo has a high water absorbtion capacity and also durability and bond properties which make it an appropriate material to be used instead of steel in slabs and wall panels.
The main issues associated with bamboo used as a construction material is its durability. If the structure is away from moisture and insects it can last longer. Bomboo structures not treated only last 1 to 3 years. If properly treated the structure can last for more than 10 years.
With proper treatment bamboo provides service life of up to 30 years. Durability can be increased with careful choice of bamboo species, preservation, use of complementary construction materials and replacement of outdated or deteriorated parts in a regular basis. Corrugated and pre-fabricated bamboo are also widely used to increase durability and to increase resistance from damaging factors.
i. Sizing
The bamboo grass can reach heights of 60 to 150 feet in a few months.Use the bottom 5 feet of the bamboo for other purposes because it is usually crooked, the nodes are too close together and its density characteristics are different from the rest of the pole.
Some features to consider:
  • age 3 to 5 year old culms are best depending on the species
  • starch content, harvested at the right time of the year to minimize beetle/ fungus attacks.
  • sufficiently adapted to local humidity - especially for interior use.
  • stored out in direct sun
  • treated for insects and fungus if outside use
ii. Materials needed for Fabrication/ Construction of Technology
Steel reinforced brace panels can be used or steel straps at the joints (joints are critical). modern bolt and mortar joinery system possible with 6 inch diameter bamboo, or very-simple low cost housing with the use of smaller diameter bamboo as a lath and cement as a plaster.
Bamboo is widely used in many Asian countries with joinery systems with intricate pin systems that uses no material other than the bamboo itself, and lashing systems that use locally growing fibers. These systems, based on pegging and tying, have evolved to take advantage of the strong outside fibers of the hollow bamboo.
Bamboo culms split lengthwise very easily, they are usually not joined by nailing. Recent innovation by Simon Velez of the bolt and cement method allows for 26-foot cantilevers and 60 foot spans.
Mortar can provide shear on both the bamboo-lathed walls and the roof - good for withstanding lateral forces.
1. Various Options
iii.Other resources Needed for Implementation/ Use
  1. Construction Equipment: very little equipment to none necessary, bamboo is lightweight so manpower can be used for transportation.
  2. Labor: poles should be harvested 6 weeks before use by local laborers, as they shrink to their expected size during the waiting time.
  3. Technical Consultation: need to contact experts in this area who can possibly provide step-by-step instruction on construction aspects.
  4. Transportation Requirements
  5. Energy Requirements: it does not require much energy. it is a very sustainable material! Bamboo has such a quality to meet all the sustainability criteria: social, economical and environmental. It can be regenerated within 2-3 years, while that with timber could take longer than 25 years. It is the fastest growing plant of the world and replacement doesn't take longer time. Most of the locally available materials and tools can be sufficient enough to build simple low cost bamboo house.
  6. Space: the house can be assembled on site, not much space is needed
  7. Spare Parts: the spare parts could be used for various purposes and possibly furniture construction. We could use the spare parts to build tools, and utensils, fences, gates, decoratively for walls - there are more than 1000 different uses for bamboo.
  8. Time for Construction: Bamboo house takes very short time for assembling. Such efficiency makes it very important for disaster management and quick relief to victims or affected population to rehabilitate their family life. According to Viviendas del Hogar de Cristo (VHC), Equador, one bamboo house can be assembled in 4-5 hours.
iv. Technical Skills Required to Operate or Utilize
  1. Training Requirements: basics of the bolted bamboo joinery can be taught by somebody who knows it already.
g. Associated Costs
i. Capital
ii. Operations & Maintenance
: deteriorated pieces might have to be replaced every 5-10 years.

  1. Is there any research at JKUAT in regards to bamboo construction?
  2. Where do we harvest the bamboo from?
  3. Are there experts in the area or people who have worked with bamboo before and know the properties of the species there?

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