Review on the Suitability of Bamboo as a Building Material in Nigeria

Ignatius Chigozie Onyechere*1, Collins Uchechukwu Anya2, Lewechi Anyaogu3 and Luvia Ezeamaku4
1,2,3Department of Civil Engineering, Federal University of Technology, Owerri.
4Department of Polymer and Textile Engineering, Federal University of Technology, Owerri.
Received: 22 June 2023; Revised: 18 July 2023; Accepted: 22 July 2023; Published: 26 August 2023


Abstract: – Bamboo is adjudged to be a very good sustainable, versatile and eco-friendly building material. It grows naturally in most of the world’s forests especially in tropics and sub-tropical regions. Bamboo is the fastest growing grass in the world and matures within three to five years. It consumes carbon (iv) oxide (the major greenhouse gas) in the environment through photosynthesis and releases oxygen to the environment thereby drastically reducing the greenhouse gases and making the environment safe. Throughout the entire globe, there is increase in human population. As the number of humans in the world increases, there is proportional increase in the need for shelter and other civil infrastructures. This increase in need for shelter and other civil infrastructures has resulted in over-consumption of traditional building materials and has created serious burden on the depleting world’s natural resources. Continuous use of the traditional building materials like steel, timber, cement, has also led to increase in the burning of fossil fuels which releases greenhouse gases to the environment during their production. Nevertheless, traditional building materials are very expensive and their continuous use leads to increase in the overall cost of buildings and other civil infrastructures. The use of bamboo as a material for construction of buildings and other civil infrastructures presents a very huge relief to the aforementioned problems encountered in the construction industry. This paper x-rays the viability of bamboo as construction material in Nigeria. Increase in the use of bamboo in the construction industry will lead to reduction in the overall construction cost, growing bamboo in commercial quantity and reduction of greenhouse gases in the environment.

Keywords: Bamboo, Culm, Eco-friendly, Sustainable, Grass, Shelter, Infrastructures, Building materials.

I. Introduction

The continuous use of traditional construction materials has led to a sharp increase in global warming. There is thus, a global search for construction materials that are friendly to the environment [15]. Bamboo is adjudged to be the fasted growing grass on planet earth, thus, making it to have great potentials for a sustainable and renewable raw material [21]. It is the largest of all grasses, and has a woody stem that looks like a tree ([21], [18]). Bamboo is a tree-like grass plant that can grow as tall as 24m. It has a very high growth rate, with the highest growth rate of 1.2m in 24 hours recorded in Japan [7]. A Bamboo stem contains the following; The culm, the nodes, Internodes, and Branches.
Bamboo is a member of the Bambusoideae subfamily of the perennial grasses family Poaceae, that remains green throughout the year. It is the largest of all the grasses and also, the only grass that can diversify into a forest [18]. According to [18], the following features of bamboo makes it to be classified as a grass instead of a tree;

• As found in all grasses, the intermodal stems of Bamboo also known as culm is hollow, having a wall thickness that varies from thin to nearly solid depending on the species, growth condition and age.
• In Bamboos, there is no increase in height or stem as the Bamboo gets older. This is as a result of the lack of the vascular cambium layer which causes trees to continually increase in diameter over the years, and the meristem cell which makes trees to grow taller each year. A bamboo culm reaches its maximum height and diameter in one growing year.
• Bamboos do not have bark but rather, have leaves around the culms in their early stage of development which serve as protective cover to the culms.
Each Bamboo stem can grow up to 40m in height and up to 30cm stem (culm) diameter. Bamboo plant can remain green for up to 75 years, and is ready for harvest within 3 – 5 years thus, making it more viable than normal wood which takes up to 15 to 20 years to mature ([10], [3]). Bamboo has very high chances of surviving in harsh environment, it can grow very well in most of the lands in Nigeria that are not good for crop production like borrow pits, rocky areas, gully erosion sites, etc.