photo of an housing development

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1, Mix earth with cement and water.
2, Compress in a block press.
3, Cure moist in the shade for 7 days.
The blocks are now ready to use.

Further information on the technology is available from UN-HABITAT


Interlocking Compressed Stabilised Earth Block Technology uses earth, mixed with a small amount of cement and water that is then compressed in a block press. The press may be operated manually or mechanically. After forming, the blocks are kept moist so they "cure" to develop their full strength.

The blocks may be rectangular or curved in shape, and have an interlocking feature on top and bottom and both ends. This interlock means they can be “dry-stacked”, simplifying construction and greatly reducing the amount of cement needed for mortar and render.

The blocks are suitable for building housing, schools, clinics, water-tanks and latrines. They are being used in upmarket housing developments in urban South Africa as well as in lower cost rural housing in other parts of Africa.

Block making machines are made by a number of companies, including
Hydraform in South Africa, who specialise in mechanically operated presses
Makiga Engineering in Nairobi, who specialise in a hand-operated press.