About Compressed Earth Bricks

Compressed earth bricks (CEB) or compressed stabilised earth bricks (CSEB), also known as compressed earth blocks are solid earth bricks made from the subsoils, which is processed and pressed at optimum moisture content and at high pressure in a specialised machine. CEB rely on this high pressure to create a permanent tight bond of the soil particles, therefore, we end up with a very solid, dense brick that can be handled and stacked immediately. The density achieved is highly desirable when building with earth and has many advantages in the overall performance. Modern technologies and science have taken this ancient building material to a whole new level in performance and accessibility whilst being very affordable.

CEB and CSEB are an alternative to mud bricks and in single to double story buildings, an alternative to clay fired bricks also. CEB share all the same benefits of the classic mud brick, whilst our CSEB can be made as durable as medium quality fired bricks in terms of durability and weatherability. CEB are not baked like regular bricks and it is said they use just 10% of the energy needed to manufacture in comparison to fired bricks. 

Full pallet of freshly pressed 'Sandstone' bricks ready to be wrapped and set aside for curing. Pressed at 150mm thick, our biggest brick, which we feel resemble sandstone blocks.

Availability of raw material

There is reported to be billions of tonnes of suitable overburden subsoil costing quarry companies millions of dollars and an unimaginable amount of energy to deal with, it literally is a “burden” to them. In many quarries, it is said that this overburden gets handled multiple times to access the rock benefit and costs them on average $2.50 per cubic meter to move each time. There is literally enough to build cities made from this overburden. Potentially, earth can become a serious contender amongst mainstream masonry construction in Australia. 

Our current supply of earth comes from a quarry as mentioned above and would appear infinite in supply as there is a whole mountain of this sandstone coloured subsoil needing to be moved to access the rock beneath. The raw material costs for producing a brick are basically the cost of trucking the soil to the factory, hence our low cost per unit price. 

About our bricks

Dimensions

Our Earth Bricks are 345mm Long by 250mm Wide (Wall thickness) and 80mm-150mm High. The height of the brick can be altered to suit the preference of the customer, however, we recommend 105mmH with 15mm mortar joins as this fits in well with other standard sizes found in the building industry and keeps the brick weight down to approximately 16kg. CEBA’s bricks are pressed with two 50mm holes, these holes are used to run services, tie the top-plate down, help with handling and allow the mortar to ‘squish up’ and ‘key-in’. We can press bricks without holes if requested. Tolerances of +/- 3mm are achieved in the Height and +/- 1mm in the Length and Width.

Engineered Bricks

 

CEBA’s earth masonry units are engineered and intended to be used to construct load-bearing walls (Full Masonry construction). Designing houses or any structure with load-bearing CEB has significant advantages, one of which is it cuts out a lot of the material and labour costs.  For example, current buildings require a wooden frame, external cladding, insulation, plastering, and painting. Whereas a CEB walling system includes all these steps in one whilst being simple, low cost, non-toxic, DIY and environmentally friendly.

In terms of engineering and design, a lot of the standards for CSEB are adopted from mainstream masonry construction and are recommended to be treated as Full Masonry construction. 

 

Affordability

In terms of bang for ya buck, our bricks sit very well in comparison to other masonry products. For example, in comparison to the cheapest fired face brick ‘Everyday Life’ offered by Austral Bricks. AB-Bricks Price List NSW PDF

  • Austral Bricks per m2 of wall (face wall) $86.88
  • Austral Bricks per m3 (volume) $785.20
  • Austral Bricks unit price $1.51 

There are 4.7 standard fired bricks to one CEB by volume 

  • CEBAs CSEB per m2 of wall  (face wall) $89.60
  • CEBAs CSEB per m3 (volume) $353.34
  • CEBAs CSEB unit price by volume comparison $0.32

Labour costs have many variables on both sides, however, consider a brick veneer still needs stick framing, insulation, plastering, and painting. In terms of material costs alone with our earth bricks, you are basically getting a triple brick home cheaper than the cheapest brick veneer home. Minus the above-mentioned materials associated with brick veneer and still, we haven’t yet considered the saving in the running costs that a well-designed earth home naturally inherits.

 

Quality control

CEBA takes the quality of their bricks very seriously and believes there is a place for CEB & CSEB commercially amongst the high expectations of today’s building industry.
Every batch of CEBA’s bricks is tested for erosion resistance and compressive strength, furthermore, all soil types and test specimens are put through a myriad of tests including all those mentioned, but not limited to those set out in The Australian Earth Building Handbook (Australian Standards HB 195-2002).  Please see our brick data page for more details.
 

Stabilisation 

Stabilised or unstabilised bricks?  Stabilisation (Cement)  is added to the bricks to increase durability. Durability in terms of compressive strength, wear resistance and weatherability. This choice must be made before designing your home as it will dictate many aspects of design.
Currently, our stabilised earth bricks are comparable to medium quality fired bricks and are completely weatherproof.  Please see our brick data page for more detail.
CEBA has tested and continues to test stabilisation alternatives, as the manufacturing of cement creates large amounts of C02 emissions. It is worth noting, however, that in a properly designed passive home, the thermal mass effects of bricks offset the CO2 generated during the manufacturing of cement over the life of the home.
 

Availability

We supply bricks all year round with a current capacity to produce up to 1200 bricks a day. We keep a stock of our standard size (105mmH)  ‘Sandstone’  bricks in stock usually available immediately. However to avoid delays we recommend ordering 28 days in advance. Custom sizes please allow 6 weeks for your bricks to arrive on site from date of order.

 

Freight

Freight cost must not be overlooked when calculating your budget. Please contact us for freight quotes to your area or state. On average quotes have been between 50c-$2 extra per brick.
Freight is our biggest drawback at the moment. In the future, we hope to establish or help establish factories in multiple regions. 
 

Samples

We understand your investment and are happy to provide you with adequate samples at no cost for the product or handling, we just ask that you cover the postage costs. If you require a sample please contact us with your name, address and contact details and we will send you a sample with the postage invoice to be paid enclosed. Postage for a whole brick in NSW is approx $30, Interstate allow up to $50 through Aust post.

Our 'Sandstone' bricks pressed at 105mm thick