Indigenous Housing Systems

Pakistani villages have two basic shelter types: Pukka cement structures and Katcha (mud and thatch). Families choose their dwelling type based upon income level. The current methods and materials employed in these shelters have a number of drawbacks in terms of climate suitability, proper ventilation, long-term durability, and cost.

Unexpected weather patterns and extreme precipitation due to climate change have destroyed shelters for humans and animals. There is a need to adapt current construction techniques and types taking all these factors into account. By designing shelters that are made using local materials and training communities in proper construction methods, IET can equip villagers with tools for long term sustainable shelters. IET sees protecting the key assets of family and income like animals and poultry, as a necessary component of successful development intervention and poverty alleviation.

IET has considerable experience in building using earth, stone and bamboo as materials to build secure houses. The structures built have survived 3 years of heavy rain and strong winds. IET has also trained 20 masons and carpenters. These trained masons have built their own houses and are earning a good living by providing their building acumen to others.

Adobe shelters

Adobe structures are extremely durable, and account for some of the oldest existing buildings in the world and are used extensively throughout the Middle East and Asia. The technique of sustainable use relies on the proper specification in the mixture of sand, clay and silt. In hot climates, compared with wooden buildings, adobe buildings offer significant advantages due to their greater thermal mass, providing a cool environment in the summer and warmth in the winter.

Compressed Earth Block – CEB Shelters

Compressed Earth Block – CEB, is a type of manufactured construction material formed in a mechanical press that makes an appropriate mix of dirt, non-expansive clay, and an aggregate into a compressed block.


CEB construction-prototype at the MHIDC Gharo

Bamboo Shelters

Bamboo is one of the most underestimated materials, especially in Pakistan. It is used extensively in Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and nearly all the far east countries, culminating in an extremely artistic format in Japan and China.

Bamboo is an excellent replacement for the use of timber which is a depleting source in our country. It has a tensile strength greater than steel and is used from making simple baskets to major construction.

IET is convinced that in combination with earth building techniques this is a perfectly sustainable system for house building. And to that end IET has built 20 houses in Sujawal which have survived the extensive rains of 2011 without a single drop penetrating the interior of the dwelling.

Bamboo and adobe shelter

Cob Shelters

Cob is an indigenous building material consisting of clay, sand, straw, water and earth, similar to adobe. Cob is fireproof, resistant to seismic activity, and inexpensive. It has been revived in recent years by the natural building and sustainability movements.

Cob shelter prototype at MHIDC Gharo

Rammed Earth

This is a specific technique in using earth as a building material. It is becoming popular world wide owing to its ability to with stand the unpredictable weather conditions and extreme climate changes that are occurring owing to Global Warming. To authenticate this building concept IET are using the same system to build a Prayer place at the MHIDC.

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