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Bamboo Not Included In Building Code: Borg

"Grow Your Own Home is a campaign the association will embark on, where people in villages can grow bamboo for their own residences," he said.
14 Sep 2022 17:00
Bamboo Not Included In Building Code: Borg
Mark-Borg.

Bamboo, a tropical grass that would serve as a green economy component in the construction industry, is stronger than steel, organic, versatile, and yields faster than pine and hardwood.

It would serve Fiji’s need for affordable housing, the Fiji Bamboo Association said, adding that the National Building Code made no mention of its use.

“The high natural silica content in bamboo, and boric acid which it is treated in, make it more fire-resistant than timber in temperatures of around 400 degrees Celsius, association spokesman,” Mark Borg said.

 

“You may not want to completely build a house out of bamboo, but you may want to use parts of it,” he said.

“It’s a product that is more sustainable than any other product we have around. Make more use of it.”

But while Fiji’s bamboo industry had some catching up to do, the appropriate species needed to be introduced locally, construction industry has been told.

 

“We are eager to work with the construction industry,” Mr Borg said.

“There was quite a learning curve that Fiji and the Pacific had to master when it came to using the ideal bamboo infrastructure for the construction industry,” Mr Borg said.

“This is an area that universities have to look into, to see how engineers and architects could use bamboo,” he said at the Construction Industry Council’s 2022 annual conference at Warwick Fiji.

 

Advocacy, propagation, and application were areas the association were working on, Mr Borg.

In his presentation at the 2022 Construction Industry Council annual conference at Warwick Fiji, Coral Coast, he said the association was building partnerships with communities, the Government, and non-government organisations.

 

Green Economy

“It’s easy to grow, and regrow, solving the replanting question,” Mr Borg said.

“It’s good for farmers who don’t really want to work hard, because once it takes roots, it keeps harvesting every three years.”

“Pine takes 15 years to harvest, while hardwood takes an estimated 30 years to harvest. Bamboo was a product that allowed farmers to make an earning while waiting for pine or hardwood to mature,” Mr Borg said.

 

“It is ideal as a carbon-capture with its density, and was a great resource for degraded land,” he said.

“It is used to regenerate mining areas; and has been quite successful,” Mr Borg said.

“Often referred to as poor man’s timber, bamboo has been used in higher-end housing,” he said.

“It is very good for affordable housing,” Mr Borg said.

“With about $20,000, you can build a decent bamboo house.”

 

Grow Your Own Home is a campaign the association will embark on, where people in villages can grow bamboo for their own residences, he said.

“It is an attractive way for people to start using bamboo,” he said.

“If properly treated, bamboo can last a lifetime,” he said.

 

A plus point for bamboo was its durability to natural disasters such as cyclones and earthquakes, and its obvious role as a solution in climate challenging times, Mr Borg said.

“Apart from Asian countries, Europe used a lot of bamboo,” he said.

“Fiji intends to stop logging by 2030, so what will take timber’s place?” Mr Borg said.

 

“If we import timber, it will be expensive. Since we won’t be logging locally, we will be logging someone else’s backyard, which is not good.”

Fiji lacks the appropriate type of bamboo.

“As an association, we will import seedlings and tissue cultures for nurseries that would later serve plantations,” Mr Borg said.

“We are careful to avoid importing invasive species to protect the ecology of this country.”

In the meantime, tests are being carried out at the Fiji National University.

 

Feedback: frederica.elbourne@fijisun.com.fj



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