PWD allows bamboo as mainstream construction material

Bamboo will soon become mainstream construction material on the lines of concrete, thanks to public works department (PWD), which has included 12 new items in the state schedule rates (SSR) 2020-21.

SSR is a manual and guide on the use of material in PWD projects.
“Till now, bamboo was seen as a cosmetic material and was used for furniture and small canopy or sheds only, but now we have included new items which will promote use of bamboo even in construction of buildings and complexes. Not only PWD, but other departments will be able to promote it in construction activities,” said Ulhas Debadwar, principal secretary, PWD.

“These items were included in the SSR taking a cue from Bamboo Research Training Centre (BRTC) in Chichpalli in Chandrapur. Entire BRTC is made out of bamboo. For the first time, RCC columns and beams of bamboo were put to use as non-scheduled items. We documented them and now have put in the SSR,” Debadwar told TOI.

“Bamboo has a long and well-established tradition of being used as a construction material throughout the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. Bamboo is a critical resource as it is very efficient in sequestering carbon and also helps in combating climate change,” says PWD superintending engineer Sushma Sakharwade.

The PWD move has been hailed by bamboo industry. “Round bamboo has failed to live up to the social urban image. This can be dealt with by modern bamboo construction and aesthetical architectural design using global innovations and best practices. Cost reduction by using prefabricated components, increasing speed of construction, availability of finance and insurance facilities will go a long way in social acceptance of bamboo buildings,” says bamboo expert Sanjeev Karpe.

Karpe adds, “Maharashtra government has taken a revolutionary step in the field of bamboo construction in the country by including 12
new items related to modern bamboo construction.”

“In India, bamboo had been a well-established building material. But, this has drastically changed in the last 20 years because bamboo buildings are being generally very poorly implemented most of the time. The implementation of bamboo structures seem to be generally quite poor, with poor planning and design, and specifications being abandoned in favour of other building techniques. We need to form superior guidelines and frameworks for building bamboo structures,” says Krunal Negandhi, who was involved in the construction of BRTC.

“In the modern context, when forest cover is fast depleting and availability of wood is increasingly becoming scarce, research and development undertaken in the past few decades has established and amply demonstrated that bamboo could be a viable substitute for wood and several other traditional materials for housing/building construction sector and several infrastructure works,” said another bamboo expert Sunil Joshi.