Viability of whole-culm bamboo construction in South Africa – a preliminary assessment




bamboo construction, materials technology, sustainability


We describe literature-based research on the viability of whole-culm bamboo as a construction technology for South Africa. South Africa has one bamboo species considered suitable for construction, namely Bambusa balcooa, found in various parts of the country. Quantitative production figures are not currently available; however, local reports indicate that South Africa can expand its bamboo growth industry to meet any possible expected demand. Although the South African bamboo plant has not yet been evaluated in terms of its material properties, engineering design approaches and material properties from the literature indicate that this species is a viable construction material. The limitations for bamboo design and construction are not unique to South Africa but are common to countries involved in bamboo construction. Their experience in overcoming these limitations can be transferred to the use of bamboo in South Africa, making bamboo construction a potentially viable construction technology in South Africa.


  • Whole-culm bamboo can be used as a structural material in buildings and other specialised structures such as bridges, assembly halls, and the like.
  • South Africa has a bamboo species that should potentially be suitable for the construction of structures that lend themselves to this type of construction.
  • The information given here should allow designers, engineers and technologists to assess the viability of bamboo construction in South African situations.


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How to Cite

Ross, S., & Alexander, M. (2022). Viability of whole-culm bamboo construction in South Africa – a preliminary assessment. South African Journal of Science, 118(7/8).



Research Article