By Ma. Cristina Arayata

(Photo courtesy orlf Bamboo Warriors Philippines)

MANILA – The Forest Products Research and Development Institute (FPRDI), an attached agency of the Department of Science and Technology, is continuously experimenting on an improved connecting technique to promote the use of bamboo in construction, Secretary Renato Solidum Jr. said Friday.

Among the challenges in using bamboo in construction is the connecting technique.

Solidum said the FPRDI recently developed a technique that allows the bamboo joints to carry a maximum load capacity of 1,700 kilos.

The technique uses common construction materials such as cement, steel bars and plates, bolts and nuts to connect bamboo poles. 

“We promote the use of bamboo for construction because of the current housing backlog in the country. Bamboo is one of the best alternatives for timber for construction,” FPRDI Director Romulo Aggangan told the Philippine News Agency.

He added that because of the logging prohibition in primary and secondary forests by virtue of EO 23, a shortage in the use of timber for construction was seen.

Also, there is an initiative to include bamboo in the National Structural Code of the Philippines, he said.

“If we use bamboo, we can limit or don’t have to import timber for our construction sector. Bamboo is known to be an environment-friendly and sustainable material that can sequester carbon dioxide while it is growing, and offers a myriad of uses including construction,” Aggangan said.

Because bamboo is a natural material, each pole is unique in shape and geometry.

“Traditional joints which usually rely on tying or splicing are prone to slippage and deformation which can weaken the poles and destabilize the entire bamboo structure. As such, we need jointing methods that take into account the unique features of the material to ensure the durability of bamboo-based constructions,” Camacho said.

FPRDI’s research team discovered that using cement mortar as in-fill at the bamboo ends provides rigidity to the connection. 

Solidum, meanwhile, said a prototype space frame showed that the connector can be used in an open-type bamboo structure such as a temporary tent, carport, waiting shed, among others.

“DOST-FPRDI plans to conduct more experiments to improve the new connector and ensure that it can be used in more complex bamboo housing and building projects,” Solidum said. (PNA)