Course Overview

Through the INVEST Africa partnership of the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), representatives of four Kenyan institutes, namely Rift Valley Technical Training Institute, Coast Institute of Technology, Masai Technical Training Institute and Mombasa Technical Training Institute, developed a course on brick making for non-formal community training. Soil is one of the main materials used for the construction of traditional low-cost houses in rural areas because it is cheap and locally available. Some houses are constructed entirely or partially with soil depending on the local traditions, climate, available skills and cost. One disadvantage of traditional soil-based construction is that they require regular maintenance and protection. This has led to the development of new methods or technologies that improve the quality and durability of soil construction methods. One such method is brick making. This course explains how to produce interlocking stabilized soil blocks (ISSB), which is a type of unfired brick. The course covers the tools and equipment used to make the soil blocks and how to select and test the soil used for making them. In addition, the production of blocks and how to use them for construction will also be explained.

Learning Outcomes

• Discuss the advantages and limitations of using ISSB;
• List the tools and equipment used in the production of ISSB;
• Select suitable soil for the production of ISSB;
• Conduct soil tests to establish whether it is suitable for block making
• Describe the steps used in the production of ISSB;
• Describe the areas that require special attention when building with ISSB.


1. Introduction to Interlocking Stabilised Soil Blocks
2. Tools and Equipment used in ISSB Production
3. What is Soil?
4. Soil Testing
5.Production of ISSB