Low-cost construction interlocking soil cement blocks & bricks — 17 Comments

    • It’s hard to comment on the details without knowing the over all design. Talk to local builders to find out what’s best for your project.

  1. We are are a Nepali / Australian project looking for business opportunities for marginalised communities during the earthquake recovery. We are supporting some of our Gandharba community by paying for them to attend training workshops with the intention that they can create small building businesses in their local areas. Do you have a workshop soon in the soil cement technique? Thanks, Sandra

    • See today’s blog post. My earthbag workshops will be in Sept. and Oct.

      You don’t need a workshop for soil cement blocks because it’s so simple. Just read the literature and experiment a bit. If necessary, talk to people who are experienced with this method.

      And in case you didn’t know, Thailand has thousands of small CEB shops that make and sell these blocks. They’re near every city and town. One option is to take a short vacation and learn from these small business owners. You’ll need a translator.

    • You’ll have to contact the manufacturer. I imagine it’s around $2,500. That’s way less than the one from Auroville (wow, the price blow me away).

  2. Jerry good point. Third world is a bit different. I really like the device that makes the blocks and just like Owen pointed out it’s giant corporations and, MY guess is they’ve paid for the government regulations to trump America of knowing of this alternative to their building materials. Thanks to the internet, things are opening up for the world to see. I’m a believer of the earthbag but, I really like this block making device. Simple but genius in design and results.

  3. I see widespread acceptance of homes built with these. The world is familiar with blocks. Earthbag is great in so many ways, but often may require “educating” various populations on their value–earthbag is unfamiliar in many places. Using block will take much less “educating”, so if I have a chance to suggest one or the other in a Third World setting, I would go with these blocks–the acceptance issue will be almost non-existent. Great post!

    • Earth block technology is very popular and widespread. Like you say, cultural/social issues play a big role in acceptance of new ideas. Earth block building is a nice middle ground for many people. It’s easy to grasp.

  4. I wonder if I used poles to match the holes diameter if I could use that to build an easily reconfigurable space. Kind of like building a house with full size Legos. Of course, I’d also have to stamp sheet metal with a matching pattern to make the big sheet pieces.

    • The holes are not large. Only big enough for rebar and grout. You could set posts on the inside or the outside of the walls, or even set blocks between posts.

  5. Thanks Owen for posting this along with all the other information. I can NOT believe this hasn’t taken off big time here in the U.S. The use of these alone plus, in combination with other building methods is amazing. I see all kinds of uses. It does seem after watching the videos of people still waiting for help, that governments other than ours are slow as snails too.

    • Construction in the US is almost totally dominated by giant corporations and government regulations and so alternative ideas get drowned out. In certain parts of the world such as Africa and Asia earth block construction is very popular.

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