We Now Have a Bamboo Research Facility to Help Build the Most Affordable Houses in the Philippines
Base Bahay is a pioneering foundation that provides alternative building technologies for socialized housing. It has recently launched the Base Innovation Center (BIC), the Philippines' first bamboo research and testing facility for sustainable and disaster-resilient construction technologies in the country.
BIC houses a Universal Testing Machine, a Bamboo Wall Panel Reaction Frame, fabrication tables, and a model house, wherein new materials and building techniques are tested.
With the launch of the center, the foundation is targeting to build 10,000 cement bamboo houses by 2024, in response to the growing need for socialized homes in various disaster-prone areas within the Luzon and Visayas regions.
“A key part of our commitment to promoting sustainable housing technologies is constant innovation,” said Luis Felipe Lopez Munoz, Base Bahay head of technology, in a statement released to Esquire Philippines.
“With the launch of this innovation center, we aim to further our research on bamboo construction technology, that we may continue to provide Filipinos with more affordable and resistant solutions to housing.”
Base Bahay partnered with Habitat for Humanity Philippines and the Hilti Foundation. They are hoping to further optimize bamboo construction technology and promote its widespread use in the country.
Base Bahay engineers with head of technology Luis Felipe Lopez Munoz assemble the wall panel of a cement bamboo house for testing.
As of 2020, Base has built over 800 houses, 10 communities, five supply facilities, and housed over 4,000 individuals across the Luzon and Visayas areas. They’ve also trained over 100 TESDA-certified workers on masonry, carpentry, and in the application of cement bamboo technology in the country.
Currently, Base has ongoing research projects with the De La Salle University that focus on determining the strength and mechanical properties of various bamboo species.
Bamboo Code of the Philippines
Base Bahay general manager Dr. Pablo Jorillo said that these studies are being conducted to guide the development of a local structural code for bamboo, aligned with the Philippine National Standard (PNS) 22157 and the proposed International Organization for Standardization’s ISO 22156. The former determines the specific testing procedures for obtained bamboo culms, while the latter is meant to institutionalize the use of bamboo in structural design.
Dr. Jorillo shared, “As leaders in the field of sustainable housing technologies, we recognize that we play a pivotal role in ensuring that every Filipino has access to a home.”
He added, “Through the Base Innovation Center, we are looking to open more doors with our partners, that we may continue to provide Filipino families strong cement bamboo structures for their homes, intensive research that will encourage innovation, and comprehensive technical training.”