High cost of iron rods: Engineers now build with bamboo

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That Nigeria’s economy is in bad shape, is no longer news. Food and other necessities are hard to come by.

However, no matter what turn the economy takes, Nigerians, by their unique nature, will always find survival alternatives.

That is why although it sounds unthinkable to see, anywhere in the world, where bamboos are used in place of irons to cast pillars and decking of building constructions, Nigeria has found in convenient.

The high cost of building materials is making many homeowners go for cheap alternatives for construction.

While many Nigerians whose buildings are under construction are abandoning them, waiting for when prices of materials will go down, most frustrated ones are selling off their uncompleted properties to interested buyers.
But others have decided to invent conventional means by replacing iron rods with bamboo.

Economy&Lifestyle discovered that home construction engineers now use bamboo, laced with construction wires to cast decking and pillars of buildings.

Usually, for such buildings, Iron rods are used in these areas to create rigidity and firmness.
Bamboo, a woody plant with hollow stems is in the grass family. It is always used for scaffolding in tall buildings replacing steel irons merged together with screws.

According to Mr. Andrew Asaga, a building engineer, 12mm, 16mm, 20mm, 25mm, 10mm, or 8mm iron rods are recommended for building apartments depending on the strength of the material and the designs specified.

He added: “Bamboo can also do the job of an iron rods to an extent.
“Some persons now use only bamboo for the pillars.
“Some mix bamboo with iron rods for the decking to save cost.
“Others now use only bamboo for decking.

“An iron rod costs between N10,000 to N30,000 depending on the size.
“This was twice the price it was sold for last year.

Few weeks ago, a client who wanted to build a bungalow asked that I use bamboo mixed with iron rods to build the pillars because the cost of iron rods has increased.

“He wanted me to construct 8 pillars for the building and would need four 12 mm iron rods for a pillar.
“A ton of 12mm (93 pieces) is now over N1.3 million .

“I don’t know where this country is heading to.”

Mr. Atanaza Godbless, an engineer said: ” Building developers are no longer making profits in the business.
” This is because the cost of building materials are increasing daily.

“When you make a quotation for clients today and they respond next week, you get to the market and discover that the prices of the materials you quoted have increased tremendously.

“You are left with nothing to settle with your workers.
“At the end you see engineers running away leaving workers unpaid.
“And such a person is being labelled bad.
“People are now settling for less alternatives of building materials.
“The cost of iron rods for instance, is making people use bamboo.

“The government is seeing all these and nothing is being done to reduce the cost of building materials.
“The result of these alternatives is having inferior buildings and increased building collapse.”

The strong bonds between concrete and the iron rods ensure stronger constructions as external forces cannot easily break these bonds and the concrete will not slip away from these rods as they are tied together during construction.

Mrs. Fatimetu Momoh, a bamboo seller said the price of a piece of bamboo has also increased from N400 per bamboo to N1500.

She added: “Even used ones now go for N900 which was sold for N200.

“Those supplying the bamboo are complaining of logistics and levies paid on the road.

“This is not something we import. Or do we start importing bamboo? Something we have in our country.
“There is no business that is not frustrated in today’s economy. I pray God will save us from this horrible situation.”

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