Bamboo Reciprocal Frame Shelter Workshop. RedR UK "hands on weekend" 19th & 20th Sepember 2015.

This weekend of refugee camp planning, construction and logistics included an opportunity for participants to build bamboo reciprocal frame shelters.

Three different types of shelter were built;
basic emergency, single elevated and double elevated shelter.

With only 5 minutes introduction and some simple diagrams, the idea was to encourage participants to use their own skills for shelter construction when provided with only bamboo poles for the first time.

Working in groups of 8, within the first hour bamboo recipocal frame roof shelter frames were erected and after the allocated two and a quarter hours the tarpaulins were attached.

The success of the exercise is reflected in the the following photos.

As this was only the third time ( following Nepal and Myanmar workshops) that the shelters have been built, the information we gathered will be invaluable. I will publish this shortly on this website in the reference section.

Participants may be interested to see the similarities and differences between their shelter group results and those achieved at the Nepal and Myanmar workshops on the links below. There is also a short video of the Nepal workshop where we also used fresh cut green bamboo.

[ Nepal workshop link ] [Myanmar workshop link]


3 shelters at various stages of construction


The second team's basic 7 pole shelter kit nears completion.
The elevated shelter frame is in the foreground.


Basic 7 pole shelter kit


Attaching the roof tarp to the elevated shelter


End wall tarp attachment to the elevated shelter


Double elevated shelter frame, 2nd team. Higher frame height.


Double elevated shelter frame


Testing the strength and flexibility of the bamboo reciprocal frame roof.
Note the addition of two extended roof frame poles.
These are being assessed for situations where only thinner more flexible bamboo is available.

Lightweight plastic sheeting for demonstration.
Note the addition of a singular extended roof frame pole.


Practice attaching plastic sheeting


Everyone used their own cross lashing method; all worked well


Demonstrating the self- supporting strength of the reciprocal frame roof.
Note that this central frame is much smaller than the actual shelter roof as we only had a small central platform. This meant the radial poles were longer than recommended but even this frame still could still support the weight.....


75kg volunteer.This was the first opportunity to assess the reciprocal frame raised sleeping platform; note that the frame would normally be only 6 inches from the ground. Its purpose is for use in a cold climate to reduce heat loss to the ground and lower the risk of hypothermia. It is to be used inside the shelter for the most vulnerable ie children and the elderly. Read more about this in Syria refugee proposals.


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