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The Significance of Indigenous Materials Essay

Introduction

Man, for a thousand of years, has inhabited all regions of the earth, from the most favorable terrain to places with the harshest of climates. Man has made great strides to master his natural environment instead of migrating to a more congenial and comfortable climate. His choice of building materials was dictated by what was locally available; ice in polar regions, sand and stone in dessert regions, timber and stone in temperate regions, timber and bamboo in tropical regions, and mud in warmer regions. The choice and improvement of these materials coincide with the development of human ingenuity. Materials available today evolved from simple materials through experience, scientific experimentation, evaluation, and technology development. In modern times, building materials account to over two-thirds of the total building cost of a structure. The constant increase in the cost of building housing units and the continuous growth of urban and rural poor are among the problems that plague the housing industry at the present. This has put strain on the capability of the Philippine government and private sectors in addressing the problem on housing backlog.

Same problem goes with construction of other building structures. There’s also a great issue concerning the impact of buildings with the environment which makes this study interrelated with sustainable design. Moreover, most of the structures in the Philippines become signifiers of continuing cultural hegemony by the West. Our building in this framed aesthetic has the effect of further orienting ourselves in occidental towers rising physically and ideologically above the surrounding unequal social landscape. Indigenous building materials can be generally defined as materials that are locally produced and manufactured, naturally occurring, and abundant on a certain region. On the other hand, indigenous building technologies are knowledge, skills, or methods in building construction that are local in origin.

These materials and technologies evolved from generation to generation, promoting continuity in the life of a family or community. In the case of the compendium, slight modifications have been made in these definitions in order to provide a more practical and complete collection of building materials and technologies. A material whose base material is supplied by another country, such as steel, is also included in this compendium given that the material is manufactured locally, such as steel-based roof sheets. This study was undertaken to establish the significance of indigenous building materials in the Philippines by stressing out its advantages. Apparently, it is within the reach of the masses. The cost does not go as fast as those of energy, transportation, and skilled labor do.

Also, since it is locally produced, cost is much less than imported building materials because of less transportation costs. Most indigenous building materials and technologies may possess some or all of the following characteristics: uses renewable resources, uses materials that causes minimal contribution to pollution, permits recycling of materials, and does not lead to large scale exploitation of natural resources because of decentralized mode of application. The use of indigenous building materials and technologies is recommended because it is environmentally friendly, accessible, and costs less. The utilization of indigenous building materials and technologies may provide the solution to a number of current environmental and financial resource problems.

Statement of the Problem

This study was undertaken to establish the significance of indigenous materials for building construction in the Philippines. Thus, there are five important questions to be answered:

1. What is the demographic profile of the respondents in terms of:
a.) Profession / Designation in field of construction
b.) Years of practice
c.) Skills in terms of building construction and the like
2. What are the advantages of adapting indigenous building materials over imported materials for building construction in terms of:
a.) materials’ strength and durability
b.) economy of the materials
c.) time or duration of construction
d.) aesthetic of the design
e.) availability of the materials
3. What is the importance of practicing indigenous building technology in the Philippines? 4. What is the relation of sustainable building design with indigenous building design in terms of building construction?

Significance of the Study

This study sought to establish the difference and advantage of using indigenous building materials over imported building materials in construction in the Philippines. Construction industry must be aware of the great potential of using locally available materials in providing a more efficient building structure. The government must also consider and support our local materials for construction so as to address issues concerning the environment and economy. The origin, destination and use of materials themselves is probably the first step not only of the creation of stabilized local economies, but also in the reduction of much of the environmental impact .

Results of this study have particular significance to the Construction Industry, primarily the contractors, architects, developers and builders of low-cost buildings as well as the government. Professionals, experts, manufacturers, consumers and all the leaders in construction industry can be a tool in promoting sustainability by patronizing our own local materials. All who seek ways to be environmentally and socially responsible must support the use of indigenous building materials in the Philippines.

Scope and Limitation

This study focused on the significance of using indigenous building materials in the Philippines. Further, this study emphasized the advantages of using indigenous building materials and its technology in terms of the following aspects: economy of the materials, time or duration of construction, aesthetic of the building, strength of the materials and the availability of the materials. The researcher also determined the marketing sector which includes the material manufacturers, consumers, and contractors’ reaction as well as the professionals’ particularly civil engineers and architects’ preference regarding the use of indigenous building materials in the Philippines.

Definition of Terms

The following terms are defined based on how they are used in the study: Backlog – refers to unfinished work or to customer orders that have been received but are either incomplete or in the process of completion. Building Technology – the system of constructing buildings. Compendium – is a concise or summarize yet comprehensive compilation of ideas or knowledge.

Construction budget – financial allotment for constructing a building. Energy Conservation – building systems that reduce the consumption of electricity. Environmental Technology – the application of environmental science to conserve natural environment and resources.

Indigenous Architecture – a style of architecture specific to a particular region. Indigenous materials- materials that are occurring naturally within the locality. Sustainable design – it is an environmentally conscious design which seeks to alleviate the negative environmental impact of buildings. Vernacular Architecture – is a term used to categorize methods of construction which use locally available resources and traditions to address local needs and circumstances.

CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
Conceptual literature

A number of conceptual literature highlighted the importance of indigenous materials for building construction. One states that because of the rather sad plight of the environmental and socio-economic conditions of the people within the forest lands, utilization of resources must be sustainably reached. Among the resources found within these forest lands are the famous indigenous materials bamboo and rattan. Bamboo and rattan have proven to be vital resources in terms of its contribution to the national economy and ecological stability of the Philippines. Bamboo as well is used extensively as building material for tropical construction. (Rivera,2008). Furthermore, Salvan (2005) expressed indigenous materials in the Philippines as those which are the direct product of nature, such as wood and stone. These come to the hands of man as a gift from the forests and the quarries and require only the shaping and minor conditioning for the place they are to occupy in the building. Some authors have also defined building construction.

According to Kirbert (2007) Building Construction is the art, the work, job, or business of combining, forming, or putting together materials to make a structure. Construct means to make or build something. People who construct or build things are sometimes called builders. Structures such as a house, store, office, barn, church, skyscraper, and a school are called buildings. Other structures built or constructed by people are cars, railways, ships, bridges, and highways. Furthermore, Chudley&Greeno (2010) defined Building Construction as the techniques and industries for the assembly, joining together, or erection of various structures. Constructed shelters, workplaces, storage facilities, and other structures are the means by which humans adapt to their environment. Structures such as streets, subways, highways, tunnels, and bridges are completed to facilitate travel. Dams and reservoirs are created in an attempt to control river flooding, provide ample water supplies, generate power, and expand water recreation areas. Canals, railroads, and airports are built for transportation.

People also build intricate infrastructures including systems for telecommunications, electrical power, freshwater, and sewage disposal. In addition to this, Montoya(2010) stated that constructing buildings with wooden structures would also lower the primary energy demand and could be almost carbon neutral, or even carbon negative if the wood was recycled and reused at the end-of-life. Other construction materials, such as steel, aluminium, copper, glass and PVC should be reused and recycled where possible to reduce the primary production of these materials. For example, producing secondary steel (e.g. using scrap steel) could reduce emissions by 74 per cent, compared with producing the same amount of primary steel.

Companies should be encouraged to construct buildings that can be disassembled rather than demolished at end-oflife, to make it easier to separate materials for reuse and recycling. For example, bolts can be used instead of adhesives to fix joints between materials. Upgrading technologies (e.g. in kilns) and techniques (capturing and reusing heat) and using local resources where possible can also reduce environmental impacts. In addition, manufacturers are urged to use EPDs (Environmental Product Declarations – ISO type III ecolabels) that provide standardised information based on the LCA of the real impact of each product.

Furthermore, Pagbilao et.al.(2000) stressed the importance of some indigenous materials for building construction. He said that cement is the most important material in Portland cement used for making concrete since it binds the aggregates together to be able to stand and serve its purpose. Portland cements when used as binders for principal constituents of a structure must possess desirable properties.

Moreover, Marasigan (2004) said that different building materials and technologies have been developed and tested, and in fact are being promoted by researchers, contractors, manufacturers, technologists, architects, and developers. These include building materials such as interlocking hollow blocks, compressed earth blocks, and wood wool cement boards.

Research Literature

According to Radovic (2010) there must be a four-year process of consultation on cultural concepts in the design of buildings intended for native families in urban communities. Participatory design activities drew out numerous themes that, if incorporated into buildings, might help Indigenous families retain or recover their cultural values and lifeways. A number of these Indigenous themes have been incorporated in buildings that have already been constructed. The themes relate not just to the decorative features of the buildings but to conceptual assumptions underlying their design. The article concludes with some public policy recommendations. Moreover, Lacuna-Richman and Celeste (2006) stressed the danger of not having enough knowledge about our local materials by describing that migrants are often constrained by a lack of knowledge regarding their new environment and require new skills for their livelihood.

In Palawan, some of these necessary skills and knowledge are related to the collection and use of non-wood forest products (NWFPs), many of which the migrants were previously not familiar with. The predominantly Visayan migrants have been successful in familiarizing themselves with the NWFPs in the surrounding forests, with assistance from some of the local indigenous people, in this case the Tagbanua, and from previous migrant settlers. The NWFPs they know about and the extent of use are presented. Currently, except for almaciga (Agathis philippinensis Warb.) resin and house-building materials, NWFPs are considered as supplements to agricultural products, not as main source of either subsistence or income. In addition to this, (Pollard, 2009) expresses Building Construction and its preliminary stages include a number of decisions which have a strong influence on the performance of the building throughout the rest of the process.

It is therefore important that designers are aware of the consequences of these design decisions. This paper presents a method for making informed decisions in the early stages of building design to fulfill performance requirements with regard to energy consumption and indoor environment. The method is operationalised in a program that utilizes a simple simulation program to make performance predictions of user-defined parameter variations. The program then presents the output in a way that enables designers to make informed decisions. The method and the program reduce the need for design iterations, reducing time consumption and construction costs, to obtain the intended energy performance and indoor environment.

Furthermore, Jorillo & Shimizu (2000) stated that the effects of varying depths (d), cross-section (b,d) and shear-span (a/d) ratio to the flexural properties of a natural fiber cement composite with mortar as the matrix phase parameters to the modulus of elasticity, stress and corresponding strain at the onset of first crack, ultimate strength and post-cracking stages were tested and was proven that coir fiber reinforced cement based composite is an efficient alternative for other commercially available building materials in terms of strength against flexural stress.

CHAPTER 3
METHODOLOGY

Research Design

This study used non-experimental research, particularly descriptive research. Descriptive research is defined as a method used to obtain information concerning the current status of the phenomena to describe what exists with respect to variables or conditions in a situation. The methods involved range from the survey which describes the status quo, the correlation study which investigates the relationship between variables, to developmental studies which seek to determine changes over time (Key,1997).

Sampling Technique

This study used non-probability sampling. Non-probability sampling is defined as an approach in which some units of the population have no chance of being selected or where the probability of selection cannot be accurately determined. (Meier&Burke,1947). Furthermore, Non-probability sampling is also defined as a sampling technique where the samples are gathered in a process that does not give all the individuals in the population equal chances of being selected (Castillo,2009).

Instrumentation

This study used survey and interview questionnaire. Survey and interview questionnaire is defined as the process of describing some aspect of a population based on a sample utilizing an interview questionnaire as an instrument used to accomplish this mean (Howard,2007).

CHAPTER IV
PRESENTATION OF DATA

This chapter discusses and presents data gathered from 30 survey forms completed by architects, civil engineers, manufacturers, contractors and consumers.

The above figure shows the age of the respondents. 0 out of 30 or 0% of the respondents is 20 years old & below, 1 out of 30 or 3.33% of the respondents is 21-25 years old, 6 out of 30 or 20% of the respondents are 26-30 years old, 3 out of 30 or 10% of the respondents are 31-35 years old, 13 out of 30 or 43.44% of the respondents are 36-40 years old, 1 out of 30 or 3.33 % of the respondents is 41-45 years old, 1 out of 30 or 3.33% of the respondents is 46-50 years old, 5 out of 30 or 16.67% are 51-55 years old, and lastly 0 out of 30 or 0% of the respondents is 56 years old & above.

The above figure illustrates the gender of the respondents. 20 out of 30 or 66.67% of the respondents are male while 10 out of 30 or 33.33% of the respondents are female.

The above figure projects the profession / work of the respondents. 8 out of 30 or 26.67% of the respondents are architects, 10 out of 30 or 33.33% of the respondents are civil engineers, 2 out of 30 or 6.67% of the respondents are manufacturers, 6 out of 30 or 20% of the respondents are contractors, and lastly 4 out of 30 or 13.33% of the respondents are consumers.

The above figure portrays the skills in building construction of the respondents. 9 out of 30 or 30% of the respondents are engaged in designing the interior and exterior features of the building, 4 out of 30 or 13.33% of the respondents are engaged in specifying appropriate building materials, 10 out of 30 or 33.33% of the respondents engaged in field construction management, 4 out of 30 or 13.33% of the respondents are engaged in furniture and fixture making, 1 out of 30 or 3.33% of the respondents is engaged in construction management, 1 out of 30 or 3.33% of the respondents is engaged in building management, and lastly 1 out of 30 or 3.33% of the respondents is engaged in manufacturing.

Figure 5 projects the significance of indigenous materials for building construction in the Philippines in terms of strength and durability. 25 out of 30 or 83.33% believe that indigenous materials for building construction are strong and durable while 5 out of 30 or 16.67% believe otherwise.

Therefore, indigenous materials for building construction in the Philippines are strong and durable.

Figure 6 shows the significance of indigenous materials for building construction in the Philippines in terms of economy of materials. 26 out of 30 or 86.67% believe that indigenous materials for building construction are economical while 4 out of 30 or 13.33% believe otherwise.

In conclusion, indigenous materials for building construction in the Philippines are economical and save construction costs.

Figure 7 illustrates the significance of indigenous materials for building construction in the Philippines in terms of duration of building construction. 15 out of 30 or 50% believe that indigenous materials for building construction lessen the time or duration of building construction while 15 out of 30 or 50% believe otherwise.

Henceforth, indigenous materials for building construction in the Philippines lessen time or duration of building construction.

Figure 8 portrays the significance of indigenous materials for building construction in the Philippines in terms of aesthetic of building design. 24 out of 30 or 80% believe that indigenous materials for building construction contribute to the aesthetic of building design while 6 out of 30 or 20% believe otherwise. Thus, indigenous materials for building construction in the Philippines contribute to the aesthetic of building design.

Figure 9 projects the significance of indigenous materials for building construction in the Philippines in terms of availability. 27 out of 30 or 90% believe that indigenous materials for building construction are highly available in the Philippines while 3 out of 30 or 10% believe otherwise. Therefore, indigenous materials for building construction in the Philippines are highly available.

Figure 10 projects the significance of indigenous materials for building construction in the Philippines in terms of its positive impact towards the environment. 23 out of 30 or 76.67% believe that indigenous materials for building construction have positive impact towards the environment while 7 out of 30 or 23.33% believe otherwise. Therefore, indigenous materials for building construction in the Philippines have positive impact towards the environment.

Figure 11 projects the significance of indigenous materials for building construction in the Philippines in terms of energy efficiency. 27 out of 30 or 90% believe that indigenous materials for building construction in the Philippines are energy efficient while 3 out of 30 or 10% believe otherwise. In conclusion, indigenous materials for building construction in the Philippines are energy efficient.

Figure 12 projects the significance of indigenous materials for building construction in the Philippines as a tool for developing indigenous technologies. 25 out of 30 or 83.33% believe that developing technologies utilizing indigenous materials are significant while 5 out of 30 or 16.67% believe otherwise. Henceforth, developing technologies utilizing indigenous materials are significant.

Figure 13 projects the significance of indigenous materials for building construction in the Philippines as a solution to Government’s Housing backlog. 26 out of 30 or 86.67% believe that indigenous materials for construction in the Philippines can be a solution to Government’s Housing backlog while 4 out of 30 or 13.33% believe otherwise. Thus, indigenous materials can be a solution to the Government’s Housing backlog.

Figure 14 projects the significance of indigenous materials for building construction in the Philippines as a building material competent enough for construction of commercial buildings. 24 out of 30 or 80% believe that indigenous materials for construction in the Philippines are competent enough for the construction of commercial buildings while 6 out of 30 or 30% believe otherwise. Therefore, indigenous materials are competent enough for construction of commercial buildings.

CHAPTER V
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

This chapter presents the conclusions and recommendations based from the study.
Conclusions:
Based from the study, the following findings are derived:
1. Indigenous materials for building construction in the Philippines are strong and durable.
2. Indigenous materials for building construction in the Philippines are economical and save construction costs.
3. Indigenous materials for building construction in the Philippines do or don’t lessen time or duration of building construction.
4. Indigenous materials for building construction in the Philippines contribute to the aesthetic of building design.
5. Indigenous materials for building construction in the Philippines are highly available.
6. Indigenous materials for building construction in the Philippines have positive impact towards the environment.
7. Indigenous materials for building construction in the Philippines are energy efficient.
8. Developing technologies utilizing indigenous materials are significant.
9. Indigenous materials can be a solution to the Government’s Housing backlog.
10. Indigenous materials are competent enough for construction of commercial buildings.

Recommendations:

Based from the findings, the following are hereby recommended: 1. Indigenous materials for building construction in the Philippines should be considered as a structural element of a building due to its strength and durability. 2. Indigenous materials should be use for building construction in the Philippines because it’s economical and save construction costs. 3. Indigenous materials should be considered for building construction in the Philippines because these have the potential to cut or lessen time or duration of building construction. 4. Indigenous materials for building construction in the Philippines should be utilized as a design element for exterior and interior of a building because these contribute to the aesthetic of building design. 5. Indigenous materials for building construction in the Philippines must be a primary building material or a major acquisition for these are highly available and thus save transportation cost.

6. Contractors, architects, engineers and those who are in the field of construction must employ the utilization of indigenous building materials for it is a step towards green revolution or environmental protection. 7. To save energy consumption of the building, construction professionals and builders must use indigenous materials in the Philippines as a building envelope. 8. Designers and builders must practice indigenous building technology for it can fuse strength or stability and beauty or aesthetics into a single building system. 9. Government must reconsider using indigenous building materials in the Philippines for the construction of socialized housing projects to avoid housing backlog which was a result of insufficient fund. 10. Indigenous materials in the Philippines should also be a primary construction material not only for residential projects but also for commercial ones mainly for these are cost-efficient, strong and highly available.

References
Castillo, J.J.(2009). Non-probability sampling. The Research Methodology, 56.
Chudley, R., & Greeno, R.(2010). Building systems. Building Construction Handbook, 98. Coinan, H., & Smith, P.(1983). Vernacular architecture. Environmental Systems, 14-17. Howard, K.(2007). Instruments for basic research. Writing your Winning Dissertation, 78. Joriillo, P.A., & Shimizu, G. (2000). Coir fiber reinforced cement based composite: Size effect of flexural properties of fiber-mortar. Compendium, 8, 21. Key, J.P.(1997). Descriptive research. Research Design in Occupational Education, 22. Kirbert, C.(2007). Passive design strategy. Sustainable Construction, 2, 167. Marasigan. D.C.(2004). Development of vernacular construction system. Philippine Vernacular Architecture, 189. Meier, N.C.,& Burke,C.J.(1947). Laboratory tests of sampling techniques. Public Opinion Quarterly, 11(4), 586. Montoya, M.(2010). Building materials that are made from Rapidly Renewable Resouces. Green Building Fundamentals, 96-97. Pagbilao,D.S., Macam, V.R.,& Lejano, B.A.(2000). Basic properties of the Philippine portland cement. Compendium of Building Materials, 35.


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