JIS News

The National Housing Trust (NHT) is funding a $54-million bamboo research project, which will facilitate research on bamboo as a possible housing material.

The project, which is a collaborative endeavour with the Bamboo Industry Association of Jamaica (BIAJ), Bureau of Standards Jamaica, and the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), is scheduled to start mid-2019.

Senior General Manager of Construction and Development at NHT, Donald Moore, told JIS News in a recent interview that the first phase of research will look at testing local strains of bamboo, and the second phase will concentrate on the construction of bamboo prototypes.

“The NHT has recently been focusing on research and development in housing, generally the use of different materials and approaches, because we want to reduce cost,” he noted.

He said that bamboo is used worldwide as a building product, and the NHT wants to join in on this global construction trend.

Mr. Moore shared that bamboo, which has high tensile strength, is stronger than steel and could be used in some construction by the NHT.

“We expect bamboo to be widely used. Persons can use bamboo to build their own homes once we are able to establish all the standards,” he pointed out.

Mr. Moore said that the use of local bamboo in housing construction will not only reduce the NHT’s construction costs but contribute to sustainable development.

“Most of our building products are imported, and if we can get some local resources being put in, it should benefit the economy,” he pointed out.

Mr. Moore told JIS News that if the project produces favourable results, the NHT is hoping to apply bamboo in all aspects of construction, including the production of building materials such as tile and dry wall.