'Folding house' invented for calamity-hit areas

By Rudy Fernandez, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 24 2014 03:59 AM | Updated as of Jan 24 2014 11:59 AM

LAGUNA – Researchers and engineers of the Los Banos-based Department of Science and Technology-Forest Products Research and Development Institute (DOST-FPRDI) have crafted a "folding" house model for calamity-hit areas.

Officially called “Collapsible Shelter,” the invention has been patented as stipulated in a letter given to FPRDI by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines.

Also called the “F-House” because it is a fast-build, firm and foldaway emergency shelter, the sanctuary was a collaborative work of former FPRDI researchers Florence Soriano, engineer Thomas Rolan Rondero and Claro Cariño in response to the need for temporary refuge by families displaced during calamities.

“It can be easily constructed and transferred from one place to another, and built with minimal tools and a few laborers,” said FPRDI head Romulo Aggangan.

Another FPRDI report stated that unlike the tent, the F-House has a floor that can be mounted on specially designed prefabricated footings. The height of the footings can be adjusted when the terrain is not flat.

The report added that indoors, the F-House offers the comfort and amenities of a permanent shelter because it was structurally designed to be resistant to weathering, extreme temperatures, wind and other harmful natural forces.

Tension cables tied to ground anchors are attached to the roof to counter extreme wind during storms.

The prototype shelter can comfortably house a family of five.

When the shelter is no longer needed, it can be folded and packed into the rigid case, and then stored in a space approximately five times smaller than its actual size in service.

Though ready for commercialization, the prototype house is continually being improved, particularly with regard the floor area, sanitary and water supply lines, and alternative materials or components to reduce its weight, the report said.