It’s called the “F-House” – a fast-build, firm,and fold-away shelter that can be highly useful in times of emergency. It can be assembled as quickly as a tent to house people during disasters, and can also serve as a depot for emergency supplies or distribution center for food, medicine and other supplies.

It’s very versatile, and it is locally available because it is made by Filipino experts.

Developed at the Department of Science and Technology - Forest Products Research and Development Institute (DOST-FPRDI), the F-House comes very handy in times of emergency.

“Like tents, the F-house can be folded, packed, stored and used repeatedly,” said Dr. Rico Cabangon, chief of FPRDI's Engineered Products and Development Section. “Unlike tents, however, the F-house has a floor that can be mounted on specially designed prefabricated footings.”

According to Dr. Cabangon, the height of the footings of the F-House can be adjusted when the terrain is not flat.

With regard to security, the F-House can be well-secured just like the regular house. It also offers the same indoor comfort and amenity of a permanent house because its structural design allows it to be resistant to weathering, extreme temperatures, winds, and other harmful natural forces.

The F-House is also stable during storms as tension cables tied to ground anchors secure the roof.

The shelter can also be easily transported. It can be put in a rigid case and placed at the back of a trailer
or in a low-bed truck, in case of multiple deliveries. When dismounted from the trailer or truck, the F-House can be wheeled to destined location through prefabricated footings previously positioned and leveled.

“The rigid case can be unfolded and erected into a house in just one hour or less,” assured Dr. Cabangon. “This can be easily done by four medium-built unskilled workers, using only simple carpenter's tools and gadgets.”

Built to comfortably house a family of five, the prototype shelter can be very handy when not in use.

“It can be stored in a space approximately five times smaller than its actual service size,” informed Cabangon.

Because it is highly compact when not in use, several units can be stored in a small warehouse.

The walls, floor, and roof are sheathed with weather-, termite-, fungi-, and fire-resistant wood wool cement board panels that are fixed and fastened using specially designed light-weight metal sections.

The prototype F-House is already integrated with provisions for power supply.

Cabangon also revealed that that the cost of fabricating one prototype with double walls was PhP 75,000 or roughly PhP 6,500 per square meter. The cost can still be lowered when mass-produced or when the walls are singly sheated.

In contrast to site-built low-cost houses that typically takes three to four months to build from planning to construction, the F-House can be acquired and erected instantly.

“We assure end-users that the fabrication of the F-House was adequately supervised in the shop using only quality-tested materials,” said Cabangon. “The method of erecting the shelter was well planned and engineered. Hence, buying the F-house is like buying time when a safe and comfortable refuge is needed most.”

Currently, Cabangon and her team as working on for more improvements on the F-House, including its size, features, materials, and transportability, among others.

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House built for emergency. It’s called the” F-House” -- fast-build, firm, and fold-away – a shelter that can be a secure refuge for families and disaster workers. Developed by experts from the Department of Science and Technology - Forest Products Research and Development Institute, the F-House is packed with emergency features yet it is handy, transportable, and low-priced compared with commercial emergency shelters.

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