Research and Innovation
Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh is committed to building a portfolio of construction options through innovative research in order to better serve low-income families. Habitat focuses on using locally available materials and providing practical designs whilst remaining cost-effective. Construction technologies currently being researched and piloted include using compressed interlocking earth blocks, building bamboo houses with cement-rendered walls, making handmade clay tiles and improving traditional mud houses.
Compressed Interlocking Earth Blocks
HFH Bangladesh pioneered research on compressed interlocking earth block technology in 2009. This environmentally friendly and innovative solution, first seen in Thailand, substitutes blocks made from a mixture of mud and cement for conventional fire-baked clay bricks. The blocks can be made at home using a manual block-making compression machine. When sufficient blocks are available, construction of a home can be as short as seven days. HFH Bangladesh has completed a comprehensive feasibility assessment study, developed a skills training program to promote the technology and built prototype houses.
The project is currently located in Durgapur in far north Bangladesh, where the abundance of suitable local materials (high-quality soil and sand) and a lack of low-cost alternative options (such as brick) due to the area’s remoteness made this choice appropriate. Hence, Habitat has established a research and production center at our Durgapur Satellite Office and supplied block-making machines there so the blocks can be made locally by the community. In the coming years, Habitat intends to introduce compressed interlocking earth block technology more widely across Bangladesh and to promote the approach as a timesaving, eco-friendly and cost-effective way of building homes.