Compressed earth bricks, a cool choice for quality homes | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

Compressed earth bricks, a cool choice for quality homes

3 December, 2017
Two young men  demonstrate the strength of  the brick.
Two young men demonstrate the strength of the brick.

Strong, easy to build with, eco-friendly, cool and affordable would be the best way to describe the compressed stabilised earth bricks (CSEB) manufactured by Projects For Youth (PFY) in Kithulewela, Matara.

Entrepreneur Fred Kumarapperuma

The bricks are manufactured by mixing 10 parts of sieved earth with one part of cement and compressed into an attractive 12” x 6” x 4” interlocking block by a modern, fully automatic, hydraulic press at the rate of 900 bricks per hour.

The compressed brick is cured for ten days and does not require kiln drying. Building with PFY’s compressed earth brick is fast as it does not require any bonding material or plastering.

The bricks being pressed

Soil has been used for construction of shelters for thousands of years, while Compressed Earth Blocks (CEB) or Compressed Stabilized Earth Blocks (CSEB) has been in use in South America since the 1950s and later on in the United States and other developing countries.

It was in 1970 that entrepreneur Fred Kumarapperuma ventured into the manufacture of CSEB by setting up Projects For Youth. It was after the 2004 tsunami that CARITAS came to his assistance. As the demand for the bricks grew and needed more funding, Fred was joined by five retired professionals, Sarath Keerthi, Piyasena Samarathunga, Upul Kodippilli and J. K. Padmasiri after which the project was set up at its present location.

A few years ago a Dutch couple gifted the PFY with a high performance CESB press, capable of producing 900 bricks per hour.

“The government should come forward to assist youth who master the manufacturing process to set up their own manufacturing plants as Compressed Stabilized Earth Blocks are gaining popularity over kiln dried bricks or cement blocks and even the raw materials and manufacture is more eco friendly,” said Kumarapperuma who may be considered a pioneer manufacturer of CSEB’s in Sri Lanka. 

The management team of  Projects for Youth