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1.  The shelters use 33% less bamboo than any equivalent span shelter.

This is due to the high efficiency of span of their reciprocal frame roof and by not using any bamboo lattices. The result is that a complete RSK emergency shelter ( one tarpaulin) costs less than USD $25 and a standard RSK (two tarpaulins) costs less than  USD $40.


Emergency RSK shelter 

Standard RSK shelter 

2. Transportation costs are  greatly reduced.

Up to one third less bamboo needs to be transported by truck to the site of a disaster.

3. Labour costs are reduced.

Aid agencies can erect RSK shelters in less than half the time it takes to erect traditional temporary shelters.


Emergency RSK shelter kit


Standard RSK shelter kit

4.  Costs are reduced by using local materials

All the materials, or their equivalents, in RSK shelter kits can be sourced locally in countries with bamboo resources.

5.  Recycling  and reduced wastage costs.

 Unlike split bamboo used in conventional shelters the large bamboo poles and posts used for RSKs can be recycled for other practical purposes.

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6.  Environment damage costs are reduced.

There is considerably less demand on existing limited resources of bamboo and timber.

Carrying the complete roof frame to final build site.

Jajarkot Nepal 2024


7 . No special tools are required to make the kits.

 Only a saw or a machete is needed for cutting the bamboo poles for the emergency RSK kit. In addition, a chisel is helpful but not essential for making the standard RSK shelter kit.

 8.  The RSK kits are easy to handle, store and transport 

The bamboo poles and lashings can be wrapped in the tarpaulins and lashed together with the ropes or transported separately.


Cutting the slots in top of posts.

Jajarkot Nepal 2024


 9.  Only the reciprocal overlapping of the 4 central roof frame poles needs to be demonstrated to people who have not seen this method before.

All the other building steps for these shelters use traditional methods of shelter construction that communities in countries with bamboo will be familiar with.

10 .  Shelter building is simple and requires minimal skills.

RSK roof frames are lashed together ON THE GROUND before being lifted onto support posts. This is important as it avoids the difficulties that families face when having to build the roof of their traditional shelter overhead .

11 . Shelters can be built very rapidly.

Families can erect and be inside their emergency RSK shelter in less than 1 hour. They can build the standard RSK shelter in 2 to 3 hours


Building the RSK roof frame on the ground

Jajarkot Nepal  2024

12 . Because the RSK roof is only supported at its 4 corners this greatly facilitates the construction of features that are important to recipients.

Ventilation openings, the addition of modular units  and solid side walls are all much easier to build.

13. Shelters can be mass assembled at the disaster site.

The complete roof frames can be pre-assembled and stacked in a piles for collection by families. This pre- assembled 8 pole roof frame can be then carried by one person to its final build site.


14.  All the RSK kits are highly versatile.

Recipients can easily adapt this shelter for their own personal needs. Roof height, ventilation flaps, awnings and partitions are all easy to change as required.

15 .  Shelter upgrading is straightforward

The emergency RSK shelter can be easily upgraded, using the same roof frame, to the standard or double RSK when further bamboo becomes available.

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Adapting ventilation openings of standard RSK. Nepal 2023

 16.  Modular shelters.

The standard RSK is a truly modular shelter and additional units can be added on for larger families. Much larger areas of covered space for wash areas, temporary classrooms, reception rooms  and auxiliary medical units can also be easily assembled.

17.  Maintenance and repair is easier.

Frame members are interchangeable and damaged bamboo poles can easily be replaced without having to disassemble the roof frame.


 18.  Health benefits.

The facility to adjust and improve ventilation of the standard RSK shelter will reduce the incidence of respiratory diseases and potentially save lives. Secondary health benefits include reducing mould growth by the facilitating of cleaning of inner shelter surfaces;  particularly the ceiling where condensation is highest.

 19.  Storm shelter safety option.

In very severe storms the roof of all  RSK shelters can be lowered within minutes  to the low wind profile or " storm shelter“. This unique feature provides an opportunity to save the shelter when other temporary shelters are often devastated by very high winds.

 20.  Fire  safety improved.

The more combustible split bamboo and cane lattice roofs of conventional shelters are replaced in this shelter with less combustible complete bamboo poles. 



 21.  The shelter is designed to meet

Sphere standards. 

From initial development right through to deploying, monitoring and evaluating the humanitarian benefits of the RSK shelter.

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