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close this bookAppropriate Building Materials: a Catalogue of Potential Solutions (SKAT; 1988; 430 pages)
View the documentPreface
Open this folder and view contentsIntroduction
Open this folder and view contentsFundamental information on building materials
Open this folder and view contentsFundamental information on building elements
Open this folder and view contentsFundamental information on protective measures
Open this folder and view contentsExamples of foundation materials
Open this folder and view contentsExamples of floor materials
Open this folder and view contentsExamples of wall materials
close this folderExamples of roof materials
View the documentEarth reel roofs
View the documentSoil brick roof
View the documentClay tile roofs
View the documentGypsum-sisal conoid
View the documentPrecast concrete channel roof
View the documentFerrocement roofs
View the documentCorrugated fibre concrete roofing sheets
View the documentFibre and micro concrete tiles
View the documentDurable thatch with stiff-stem grasses
View the documentBamboo roof structure
View the documentPole timber roof structures
View the documentBamboo and wood shingles
View the documentCorrugated metal sheet roofiing
Open this folder and view contentsExamples of building systems
Open this folder and view contentsAnnexes

Soil brick roof


Special properties

Simple self-help prefabrication system

Economical aspects

Low to medium costs



Skills required

Average construction skills

Equipment required

CINVA-Ram block press, formwork for beams

Resistance to earthquake


Resistance to hurricane


Resistance to rain

Depends on finishing coat

Resistance to insects


Climatic stability

Hot climates, highland climates

Stage of experience

Experimental, numerous houses built in Tunisia


• This roof construction method was developed by the Swedish Association for Development of Low-Cost Housing, Lund University, Sweden, for a pilot project in Rohia, Tunisia, based on "organized do-it-yourself building".

• Apart from the self-help aspect, the aim was to design a strong roof (that could be walked on), using local materials other than timber, which is in short supply and expensive.

• The principal material chosen was the local soil, called Torba, a finely grained soil, containing 60 % CaO (lime). This was used to make soil-cement blocks with a CINVA-Ram block press.

• The slightly sloped roofs were constructed with precast concrete beams placed very accurately in parallel, at a distance just sufficient to place two soil-cement blocks such that they lean against each other (for which the blocks were made with one short end slanting). The block pairs were bonded with a lime-cement mortar. The completed roof received a coat of cement slurry and later a roughly 5 cm thick layer of compacted soil-cement, which was finally whitewashed.

Further information: SADEL, Arkitekrur 1, P.O. Box 118, 221 00 Lund, Sweden, Bibl. 00.01.

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