Click on image . . . and lateron on the circles and ovals

BAMBOO offers an ecologically viable alternative to timber for construction. Bamboo is an extremely fast growing plant. Construction grade material is available in three years as opposed to ten to twenty  years for timber. Unlike trees, harvesting does not kill the bamboo plant so an erosion problem is not created. Bamboo can grow in soil damaged by erosion, overgrazing or commercial agriculture and has been used for centuries for erosion control for that reason.. In tensile strength bamboo is the equivalent of a mild steel (15,000psi). Bamboo fibers are approximately ten times as strong as the wood fibers currently used in construction.  Therefore, much smaller and lighter weight members of bamboo or engineered bamboo products can be used in place of timber and engineered timber products thereby reducing the amount of material being transported and used in construction.

Bamboo offers an opportunity for greater personal sovereignty. Individuals can literally grow their own home. An area the size of the building to be built can grow enough bamboo to build that building in five years, in the sixth year two buildings that size can be built from the same grove, in the seventh, three and so on.

Structural bamboo is now being treated with borates to create a long lasting insect and fungus resistant building material. In Costa Rica seventeen hundred homes a year are being built with bamboo  under a government sponsored program using a borate treatment process. the wastes from the process are used to feed the bamboo plantations since boron is a necessary nutrient for plant growth. In Colombia, structural bamboo is being used to create large public buildings with arches spanning ninety feet. Our team has designed and constructed a number of smaller structures in bamboo in the Hawaiian islands. Obtaining a building permit has typically been a lengthy and tedious process since there is as yet no code standard to which the building officials can be referred.

The University of Hawaii is currently putting in an ICBO approved lab to test the primary species of bamboo used for construction so standards for the Uniform Building Code are not far off.

The Association for Bamboo in Construction

The Association of Bamboo for Construction is formed of individuals, companies and NGO’s whose primary concern is the responsible stewardship of the environment, second, the appropriate development and promotion of bamboo as a construction material, and to reduce pressure on timber and tropical forests.

The main purpose of the ABC is to uphold standards set by the ICBO and other responsible authorities i.e. ISO, ASTM, and provide certification of quality assurance to the bamboo flooring, furniture and panel  standards will comply with ICBO building code standards for bamboo used in construction { for each species tested }. The Wood Sciences Institute, an accredited Center for testing Timber and Timber products, will do the testing.

The ABC will also develop Standards and Criteria for environmentally responsible agroforestry practices, i.e. propagation and harvesting practices and the treatment of bamboo by environmentally safe i.e."green" methods. Quality Assurance Certificates will be provided to the manufacturers, importers, government agencies and the general public on methods of preservative treatment such as the Boucherie or smoked process against insect attack, and adhesives being used for bamboo flooring and panel products. Quality assurance will naturally extend beyond housing into panel products, flooring and furniture industries as well, wherever treatment or environmental concerns are represented."

ARCHITECTS  have been building with bamboo for centuries. The wealth of design and innovative techniques used in bamboo architecture is a world unto itself.

  What is strong as steel, more sturdy than than concrete and grows to timber size in a year? The answer is Bamboo . Traditionally bamboo has been grown inefficiently and its real potential has been overlooked until recently. See the report on the bending strength  by clicking Guadua.

Bamboo was used to build homes in many parts of Asia and continues to be used that way today. Posts, beams, rafters, flooring, walls and roofing were all made from bamboo poles and from weavings made from bamboo splits Click here to see a table on the Comparative Strengths of Bamboo

The five main species for building with bamboo are Dendrocalamus Asper, Atter,  Strictus, Gigantalochia Apus and  Guadua Agustifolia.