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Brick-Making Workshop Builds New Hope In Danang, Vietnam

July 5, 2004

DANANG, 5th July 2004 – A brick-making workshop held in Danang, Vietnam, in mid-June brought together representatives from Habitat for Humanity Vietnam, Que Son Red Cross, World Vision, Clear Path International, and other local NGOs to learn how to make Interlocking Compressed Earth Blocks.

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Vaughn Thomas, HFH Vietnam new country director, checks the quality of a compresses earth block

Geoffrey Wheeler, Director Center for Vocational Building Technology based in Udon Thani, Thailand, provided the training using a block-making machine he had designed. Habitat’s Udon Thani affiliate has used the machine to build nearly a dozen homes.

The blocks lock together, needing no mortar between courses, only a vertical mortar grout.

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The Danang workshop participants.
Geoffrey Wheeler, left back row

The bricks are made from local natural soil with a 10% mix of PCB 40 cement. The bricks cost under 700 dong each, the equivalent of less than 50 US cents. A 35 sq. m. house needs approximately 3,000 blocks – in hot, tropical Vietnam, external walls rise to about \four meters to allow air to circulate.

Interlocking bricks cost about the same as kiln bricks, but as they are nearly 50 per cent larger, they are better value – some 1,500 fewer bricks are needed than for a house made of kiln bricks. Kiln bricks are also very porous, so houses require external plastering, as well as mortar between brick courses.

House construction using the interlocking compressed earth block design will begin in Vietnam in the spring of 2005.