Steel frame and sugarcane pulp houses

Steel frame and sugarcane pulp houses
Published: 08 March 2005

The Scottsdale steel frame housing technology, which can complete a house in just five days, was originally developed in New Zealand and combines the power of computer-aided design with modern roll-forming technology. Introduced by the social housing foundation of the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders Association to make cheap but "livable shells" for urban poor communities in the Philippines, the Scottsdale steel frame uses fire-proof, termite-proof and water-resistant sugarcane bagasse for its walling and cladding. The bagasse is processed by Cebu-based Enviroboard Manufacturing Corp. and was initially used as a substitute for plywood. Demetrio L. Posadas, president of the Creba social housing foundation, said thousands of housing units would be built in various parts of the Philippines from Luzon to Mindanao.

Each 20-sq.-m unit will stand on a 75sqm lot. The project, with the aid of the Community Mortgage Program of the government, will be partly paid by the "sweat equity" of the families who will be required to help build their own houses. The total house and lot package is estimated to cost 80,000 pesos.

The same technology, but using thicker enviroboards and well-selected paints, would also be utilized in affluent luxury country houses. Morcilla said that there are plans for the steel frame technology in first-class cottage country houses in Tagaytay City and the Lexber Home in Baguio City.

When Creba brought the portable Scottsdale to the Philippines, it also decided to use sugarcane bagasse (sugarcane pulp), which Posadas said doesn’t crack, peel or chip off when nailed through even with common wire nail or cut with an ordinary saw, and is said to require less paint. It was also an effective heat insulator. Providing added income for sugarcane farmers, using sugarcane bagasse also helps preserve trees, as claimed by manufacturing firm Enviroboard.