Habitat for Humanity


Increasing Resilience to Earthquakes and Typhoons for Homes with No Foundations

Seeking innovative methods to retrofit houses to make the structure stronger to survive high magnitude earthquakes & typhoon force winds
Project Advisor


Tens, or perhaps hundreds, of millions of people in low-income areas throughout the world live in homes that do not have an adequate foundation. This puts the people and their home at extreme risk in the event of a natural disaster such as an earthquake or typhoon. Habitat for Humanity, supported by SeaFreight Labs, is seeking innovative, cost effective methods to retrofit such houses to make the structure stronger to enable them to survive high magnitude earthquakes and typhoon force winds. An innovation in this area could potentially improve the lives and safety of countless people around the globe.

This is a Reduction-to-Practice Challenge that requires written documentation and proof-of-concept demonstration data if available.



The foundation of a house serves many vital purposes with one of the most important being to anchor and strengthen the structure against outside forces such as the movement of the ground and wind pressure. While important for any house worldwide, this aspect becomes even more important in areas prone to earthquakes and typhoons or hurricanes. Unfortunately, constructing a foundation adds significantly to the cost and the time to build a house and so many houses in low income areas throughout the world have been and are built without them. The Philippines, the focus area for this Habitat for Humanity Challenge, sits right on the Pacific Ring of Fire and thus is subject to major earthquakes as well as typhoons and it is estimated that more than 1.6 million houses exist without foundations in the country. Retrofitting foundations for these existing houses using traditional means is far too expensive for the low-income homeowners and therefore Habitat for Humanity is seeking innovative new methods to add foundations or otherwise anchor and strengthen houses in a cost-effective manner. An innovation in this area could potentially help tens, if not hundreds, of millions of people worldwide live in safer, more durable housing. While the primary focus of this Challenge is on retrofitting existing structures there is also a need to develop less expensive methods for adding foundations during the initial construction phase and ideal solutions would encompass both aspects of adding foundations to low-income housing.

The submission to the Challenge should include the following:

  1. A detailed description of the proposed Solution addressing specific Technical Requirements presented in the Detailed Description of the Challenge. This description should be accompanied by a well-articulated rationale supported by literature and/or patent precedents if available.
  2. Proof-of-concept demonstration data, if available, as outlined in the Detailed Description of the Challenge.

The Challenge award is contingent upon theoretical evaluation and field demonstration or validation of the submitted Solutions by the Seeker. Note that due to the need to field test potential solutions the evaluation period for this Challenge has been extended to 120 days.

To receive an award, Solvers will not have to transfer their exclusive Intellectual Property (IP) rights to the Seeker. Instead, Solvers will grant to Habitat for Humanity a non-exclusive license to practice their solutions and the right to share awarded solutions with other nonprofit organizations worldwide. Habitat for Humanity will make awarded solutions freely available to other nonprofit organizations to help improve the state of low-income housing worldwide.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on 04-Jan-2021. Late submissions will not be considered.



Employees and interns of Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI), as well as their immediate family members (spouse, parent, child, sibling, and their respective spouses) or persons living in the same household, whether related or not, are eligible to enter the Challenge; provided that they will not be eligible to receive an award if their Solution is chosen.  In addition, the Solutions of employees and interns of HFHI will fall under HFHI’s employment policies and be considered work product of HFHI. Please note, employees and interns of Habitat for Humanity Affiliates and independent National Organizations are eligible to enter and receive an award if their Solution is chosen.