The CBA represents the clay brick and paver manufacturers of Southern Africa.

We inspire sustainable, contemporary brick architecture and building design in all areas of the built environment: commercial, residential and landscape.

SF#06 Unfired clay bricks: Structure, Applications and Developments


Unfired clay bricks were first used in Mesopotamia around the third millennium BC. Almost a third of the world's inhabitants live in houses made of earth.

Earth masonry is not “fired” like conventional clay bricks, eliminating the use of fossil fuels during production.  Unfired masonry units are air-dried after manufacture, to reduce shrinkage and improve strength. Unfired clay bricks offer a cost-effective form of construction with very low environmental impact.

Unfired clay materials generally have excellent sustainability characteristics: low carbon emissions, very low waste, high recyclability and no detrimental health impacts. In the building envelope, they can inhibit condensation, give thermal mass and acoustic insulation. By regulating the relative humidity of internal air, they can significantly reduce the risk of respiratory diseases and asthma triggers (BRE, 2011). 

Technical Contributors

Lodewijk Nell

Technical Consultant - EcoMetrix Africa


CBA Technical Committee