Shop-fabricated Foldaway Shelters

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Philippines Institute has developed foldaway shelters. The "F" shelters or houses are specifically designed to be easily transportable, lightweight enough to be set up by four medium built unskilled workers using only simple carpenters' tools, folded, packed, stored and used repeatedly. An F house has a floor that can be elevated above the ground by mounting on specially designed prefabricated footings. Alternatively, the floor can rest directly on the ground in cases where the ground surface is considerably flat and dry. It can be delivered to the site in a rigid case which can be placed at the back of a trailer or if many units are required, in a low-bed truck. From the trailer or truck, it is mounted on prefabricated footings that are placed and leveled on predetermined locations. The rigid case is then gradually unfolded.

The wide faces of the rigid case are raised to become the roof and then temporarily supported by poles. next the floor is swung to the horizontal position and leveled and then the walls are drawn out. Locks are then placed to fix and anchor the walls to the floor and roof. Using only simple carpenter's tools and gadgets, the doors, windows, ground achorages and other accessories are intalled. In less than one hour or less, thean F house is erected by four medium built unskilled workers. The walls, floor and roof are sheathed with weather, termite, fungi and fire resistant wood wool cement board panels. Specially designed light weight metal sections fix and fasten the anels to the structural frames. The prototype shelter can comfortably house a family of five perhaps a couple with three children. When the shelter is no longer needed, it can easily be folded back and packed into the rigid case, and hen stored in a space approximatly 5 times smaller than its actual size in service. hence, several units an be stored in sa small warehouse.


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Compared to low-cost permanent houses An F house can be acquired instantly. Low-cost houses using traditional and recently emerging technologies usually take 3-4 months from planning to construction. hence, buying an F house is like buying time when a comfortable and safe refuge is needed most. Monitoring the mass construction of houses at the plant requires less time and manpower compared to monitoring individual houses being constructed at the site. Shop fabrication allows more adequate supervision such that only quality-tested materials and specialized labor skills are used, in contrast to site-built houses where workers are exposed to the weather and supervision/monitoring is lacking. End-users are assured that the F house technology as well planned and engineered. It has been shown that damages to houses during typhoons are due mainly to poor workmanship and not due to the lack of durability of materials. Despite the national structural code, as well as the building code of the Philippines, some builders devise a way to circumvent these in order to save in costs, resulting in substandard houses that fail during disasters, and aggravating the enormous housing backlog in the Philippines. Compared to tents The F house has an elevated floor.

The height of the footings can be adjusted when the terrain is not flat. Tents rest directly on the ground and can be difficult to put up on slopes. Doors and windows, similar to those in site-built houses, render an F house more secure and with more privacy compared to the tent. Indoors, an F house is comfortable and cozy just like permanent houses.

The temperature inside tents cannot be controlled in extreme weather conditions. An F house is structurally designed to resist weathering, extreme temperatures, winds and other harmful natural forces. The roof and walls of tents are not permeable enough to resist the ingress of rain and wind during prolonged extreme conditions. Compared to other emerging prefabricated houses On-site erection of the F-shelter takes only an hour at the most. Other prefabricated houes entail a few days to a few weeks. An F house required four unskilled medium-built workers using only simple tools and gadgets; whereas, other prefab houses cannot be built on site without semi-skilled to skilled workers. Compared to other emergency shelters An F house can be packed and stored when not in use. When packed, it occupies only one-fifth of its total floor area in service. Other emergency shelters cannot be folded and thus, will occupy a considerably wider area for storage when not in use. There is no need for a covered warehouse to store several units of F-houses. The casing of an F house is integrally the roof and portions of the exterior wall which can withstand weathering. Hence, several F houses can be tored in a limited open space.

For further information please contact

Asian and Pacific Centre for Transfer of Technology
APCTT Building
C-2 Qutab Institutional Area
P.O.Box - 4575
New Delhi - 110 016
Tel : 91-11-26966509
Fax : 91-11-26856274