Durabric: a low-carbon earth & cement solution for affordable homes

3 October 2014

Durabric was born in 2013 in response to a request the Malawi Government made to LafargeHolcim. Made out of a compressed earth and cement mix which does not require firing, it offers a perfect solution for affordable and climate-friendly housing in cities and rural areas. As such, Durabric materializes one of our contributions to addressing the housing needs and climate challenges of our times.


Durabric, building low-carbon more affordable housing

Durabric was developed to meet the request from the Malawi Government for a brick that would be locally made, affordable for all and prevent deforestation caused by traditional wood-fired brick kilns. It is more climate-friendly than traditional clay bricks in that it does not require firing, a practice that has harmed the local environment through deforestation and soil degradation (it is estimated that traditional wood-fired kilns consume an average of 14 trees per house built). Instead, it is left to cure for 2 to 3 weeks to allow the cement content to set, the finished product being three times stronger than traditional bricks. This allows a tenfold reduction in CO2 emissions compared to traditional clay bricks. Cost-wise, Durabric comes about 20% cheaper per square meter of wall.

Durabric was developed by our corporate Research & Development Center in Lyon, France, working with our local teams to meet the specific needs of the Malawi construction market.

Beyond the brick itself, customers have access to a comprehensive offer including the following:

  • guidance on soil analysis and mix design,
  • brick-making machines,
  • masons training on brick making.

The guidance and training we provide have been specifically designed with the working environment at local construction sites in mind. For instance, quality checks for the mix design have been made simple and handy to perform to ensure the delivery of a quality finished product at any construction site, the first step to the building of a robust and durable house.

To date, more than 3 million of these bricks have been produced and used in about 500 buildings in Malawi; the Durabric offer is being extended to other countries such as Rwanda, Tanzania, Cameroon and Zambia.

Visit the Durabric website to learn more

Expanding production through key partnerships

Building on the experience gained thus far, we are now looking to take Durabric to the next level and make it available as an alternative to traditional burnt clay brick everywhere these are used. To that end, we are joining forces with CDC Group plc - the UK development finance institution - to set up a company tasked with expanding the production of Durabric and promoting it. The first Durabric production plant will start operation in the first half of 2016 in Malawi with an output equivalent to two houses per day.