One of the only places on earth where bamboo is still used to construct buildings is Hong Kong.
Hong Kong is a concrete and steel jungle. But if you look closely, you’ll notice an organic substance that creeps up walls and through fissures, totally encasing entire structures.
One of the only places on earth where bamboo is still often utilised in construction is Hong Kong, where it is mostly used for scaffolding and seasonally operating Cantonese opera theatres.
Unlike our scaffolding firm in Swansea, the Chinese culture has a long history with bamboo. Paper, musical instruments, furniture, and even entire structures have all been constructed using it. Forty per cent of the known bamboo species in the world, or 500 species, are found in China.
However, due to worries about safety, bamboo has largely been abandoned as a construction material throughout most of China. Considering them to be of greater quality, builders prefer aluminium and steel.
The bamboo building is still a thriving but vulnerable sector in Hong Kong. There aren’t many businesses that focus on the craft and those that do have problems replacing their employees.
Bamboo is a plant, which makes it considerably more unpredictable than steel, which can be cut into precise pieces. The components must be painstakingly tied together, which takes a lot of skill because not all of them are of the same calibre.
There are particular specifications for acquiring bamboo because of the risks. A three to a five-year-old piece that has been air-dried indoors for at least three months is considered suitable.
The preferred length is about 20 feet, which is not much when you realise that some constructions can be 600 feet tall. The best bamboo for Hong Kong comes from Guangxi and Wuzhou.
Advantages of bamboo
Why is bamboo still utilised in Hong Kong since it’s such a challenge to work with?
For starters, bamboo is more affordable and ecological to procure. With a growth rate of up to three feet per day, bamboo is the fastest-growing plant on the planet. Rhizomes, which are underground roots that aid in self-multiplication, are what allow bamboo to grow so quickly.
This indicates that a bamboo grove can last up to 100 years.
Bamboo is also a significantly lighter material when compared to steel so it works out better for the overall scaffolding cost. It takes six times less to erect and it’s twelve times quicker to take down. Bamboo can be far more flexible and robust than steel when built properly.
Construction in China uses two different kinds of bamboo. One is known as gaozhu and is derived from the species Bambusa pervariabilis, while the other, maozhu, is thicker and longer and is derived from Phyllostachys edulis.
More frequently, the base of bamboo constructions is constructed using gaozhu. The majority of scaffolding is composed of gaozhu.