What are foldable houses for?
MANILA - What makes a perfect emergency shelter? For experts at the Department of Science and Technology, it should be sturdy and secure, versatile and mobile, and affordable. It should be easily and quickly assembled as a tent and its materials should be locally available.
Given these parameters, DOST’s Forest Products Research and Development Institute designed the F-House, describing it as “fast-build, firm, and foldaway shelter that can be highly useful in times of emergency,” as in disasters similar to the super typhoon Yolanda.
Dr. Florence Soriano, project leader and former DPST-FPRDI director, details its disaster-perfect characteristics:
- Like tents, it can be folded, packed, stored, and used repeatedly. In contrast to site-built low-cost houses that typically takes 3 to 4 months to build from planning to construction, the F-House can be acquired and erected instantly. The rigid case can be unfolded and erected into a house in one hour or less. Four medium-built unskilled workers, using only simple carpenter's tools and gadgets, can erect it.
- Built to comfortably house a family of five, the prototype shelter can easily be stored when not in use. It can be stored in a space approximately five times smaller than its actual service size. Because it is highly compact when not in use, several units can be stored in a small warehouse.
- Unlike tents, it has a floor that can be mounted on specially designed prefabricated footings.
- The height of its footings can be adjusted when the terrain is not flat.
- Like a regular house, the F-House can be well-secured, offering the same indoor comfort and amenities of a permanent house as its structural design allows it to be resistant to weathering, extreme temperatures, winds, and other harmful natural forces. The walls, floor, and roof are sheathed with weather-, termite-, fungi-, and fire-resistant wood wool cement board panels that are fixed and fastened using specially designed light-weight metal sections. The prototype F-House is already integrated with provisions for power supply.
- It is stable during storms as tension cables tied to ground anchors secure the roof.
- It can be easily transported. It can be put in a rigid case and placed at the back of a trailer or in a low-bed truck in case of multiple deliveries. When dismounted from the trailer or truck, the F-House can be wheeled to its destined location through prefabricated footings previously positioned and leveled.
Aside from being used as shelter, the F-House can also serve as a depot for emergency supplies or distribution center for food, medicine, and other supplies.
Soriano said the cost of fabricating one prototype with double walls was P75,000 or roughly P6,500 per square meter. The cost can still be lowered when mass-produced or when the walls are singly sheathed.
From Interaction TV 5