A secure future - constructing with bamboo

Manila, Philippines

With frequent natural disasters and a population growing by two million people in size annually, the Philippines is experiencing an alarming housing shortage. The bamboo construction technology developed by the Hilti Foundation is able to provide the affected families with a secure and affordable roof over their heads. At the same time, the environmentally-friendly project promotes the local building and farming industry.


Bamboo has some remarkable properties. Not only does it grow quickly and in huge quantities, it is also stable enough to resist storms and flexible enough to withstand earthquakes. In short: it is the optimal building material suitable to make the dreams of the sorely afflicted people in the Philippines come true. This dream was also shared by Corinna Salzer who, on behalf of the Hilti Foundation in 2013 following a devastating typhoon, began developing a construction method using bamboo - which is available in such abundant amounts - as a supporting structure.

Together with a local carpenter, the first bamboo house was built by the engineer herself. Today, thanks to many locally trained specialists, several hundred bamboo houses have been constructed. These simple housing units - which are comprised of just two rooms, one bathroom and a roofed outdoor kitchen - make the decisive difference between living with no roof over one’s head and having a secure home.

Bamboo provides yet another essential advantage: from its harvesting to its transport through to the actual processing of the material, the entire value-added chain remains in the responsibility of the local population – thereby ensuring new jobs and income sources to the country.


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What began in 2013 as a pilot project has now become a remarkable success story. Together with the globally active charity organization “Habitat for Humanity”, 10,000 bamboo houses will be built over the next three to five years – among them, some large communal buildings and extensions to already existing complexes.

Owing to this project’s huge scale, the main focus of the Hilti Foundation’s commitment has changed. Today, the Foundation concentrates on further developing the bamboo building technology and training local specialists. Furthermore, the expertise of the Hilti Foundation helps to secure and improve the long-term quality standards and to standardize and simplify the workflow.

The plan for the future is clear: to look towards regions faced with similar difficult housing situations, and where bamboo is an abundant natural resource. Together with partner organizations and local authorities, the Hilti Foundation aims to make a breakthrough with this technology. Not only in more Asian countries but also on other continents such as South America.


Man of the hour
Hazem Fadrigo is the carpenter who, together with the Hilti Foundation, built the very first house in the Philippines in 2013 using the new bamboo technology. What initially seemed to be just an odd job for Hazem Fadrigo soon turned out to also be a huge success story for him. Since then, the 45-year old foreman has become a sought-after expert who has helped construct more than 100 houses and passes his valuable knowledge on to local co-workers.

From saleswoman to construction worker
The advantages of building with bamboo range from ensuring that the entire value-added chain remains in the country through to the building material’s lightness - the latter offering new job opportunities also to women, among them Cheridee Makalalad. The 28-year old single parent made the leap from an ordinary saleswoman to an experienced construction worker. The new job not only significantly reduced Cheridee Makalalad’s commute but also helped her earn enough money to send her children to school.


Building with Bamboo
Promoting and further developing a novel building technology using bamboo. Bamboo is a locally grown, affordable and quickly available material which ensures that the entire value-added chain remains in the country. The Hilti Foundation focuses on the research and continued development of the building material, as well as on educating and training local specialists, on technical support, improving workflow and on ensuring quality standards.

Active since: 2013

Region: Southeast Asia; expansion to further parts of Asia and to South America planned


  • Base Bahay Foundation
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Gawad Kalinga
  • Local authorities and governments