Barriers and enablers for scaled-up adoption of compressed earth blocks in Egypt

Document Type


Publication Date



Compressed earth blocks (CEBs) are a low-cost, low-carbon construction product, which are well-suited for masonry infill in the Global South. A knowledge gap remains around the technical and socio-economic barriers to CEB adoption. A combined survey and interview study was carried out among architects, CEB manufacturers, and academics within Egypt: firstly, to explore technical and socio-economic barriers to greater adoption of CEBs for masonry infill, and secondly, to identify potential enablers. Many technical challenges still exist, despite the fact that building codes for CEB in Egypt were introduced in 2019. The majority of respondents agreed that socio-economic barriers are more significant than technical barriers. These included CEBs being unfamiliar to most architects and builders, and that most clients perceive CEBs as ‘low-quality’ or ‘inaesthetic’. Most respondents believed that CEBs can achieve ≥25% market share for masonry in Egypt. However, CEB press supply is likely to be a major barrier to scale-up. Suggested enablers included tailored marketing suggestions for low-/middle-income and high-income clients, and deciding at the earliest possible design stage whether to manufacture CEBs on-site or off-site. Mapping the enablers across stakeholders showed that more research is needed to understand the views of CEB press manufacturers and government officials.