Practical Action helps poor communities to make the best use of their own labour and to use locally produced building materials and techniques that they can afford and manage.



Building Design

Appropriate design and construction of low-cost buildings can provide affordable and comfortable homes as well as...

Cements and Binders

Although Portland cement is the most widely used construction material, other materials such as lime and pozzolanas...

Clay Bricks

Fired clay bricks and tiles are a resilient material to build with, but their production requires large amounts of...

Earth Construction

Earth provides good low-cost construction materials that helps to regulate temperatures in buildings.

Roofing and Flooring

Practical Action has been involved in micro-concrete roofing tile production in many different locations. However,...

Stone Construction

A traditional building material that is used in many applications. Stone can be obtained locally and worked with...

General Resources

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A Simple Height and Depth Measuring Instrument

  • fact sheet
  • English

The brief shows a cheap alternative expensive equipment available commercially for height and depth measurement.

Brian Padgett, Published by Appropriate Technology Journal on 06/22/12

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Publications from Practical Action Publishing

Appropriate Building Materials
Summarizes technical data and practical information and identifies appropriate solutions to any given problem in low-cost construction.

Building Maintenance
This book describes the management and administration of building maintenance and the methods or basic technologies.

Communicating Building For Safety
Presents the principles of communicating the information needed for building improvement.

Developing Building for Safety Programmes
Summarizes the basic principles to be considered in the planning and implementation of community-based building improvement programmes for small dwellings in disaster-prone areas.

Financial Planning for the Small Building Contractor
Topics covered in this volume include planning the year's work, job programmes, cash flow, investment decisions, billing procedures and work study techniques.

Manual of Building Construction
This is a practical, illustrated handbook on the construction of small buildings using local materials, suitable for a great variety of ground and climate conditions.

Rural Building Course
Contains information on tools, maintenance of tools, rural building materials, rural building products, basic masonry techniques, basic carpentry techniques and preparation for on-the-job training.

Standards and Specifications for Local Building Materials
Report on the deliberations from a regional workshop on standards and specifications for local building materials, dealing with regional co-operation, methodologies for establishing standards and procedures and quality control.

Technical Principles of Building for Safety
This book describes principles and construction techniques for builders, householders and communities who are building in hazard-prone areas.

Lund University

Building Issues
The studies are conduced by HDM or by researchers engaged by HDM. The purpose is to highlight current problems in the developing countries. The results of the studies carried out are published in this series, and it is hoped that these experiences will serve as guidelines and recommendations within each respective subject field. Since 1989, 31 reports have been published in English and Spanish. For access to the Building Issues homepage, please click here!
Volume 15    2005
1    Housing Design for Lower Domestic Energy Use, exemplified by multi-storey buildings in Beijing.
      Hans Rosenlund, He Jianquing and Sun Guofeng. 2006, 24 p. Eng. 30
Volume 14    2004
1    Planning for Good Indoor Lighting.
      Küller, Rikard. 2005, 24 p. Eng. 30
Volume 13    2003
1    Innovative Financing for Low-income Housing. Lessons from Central America.
      Stein, Alfredo and Luis Castillo. 2004, 24 p. Eng. 30
Volume 12    2002
2    Urban Traffic and Transport.
      Örn, Hans. 2003, 28 p. Eng. 30
1    Tendering of New Small and Medium-sized Institutional Buildings.
      Forsman, Tor. 2003, 16 p. Eng. 30
      Processo de Concorrência para Novos Edifícios Institucionais de Pequeno e 
      Médio Portes.

      2004, 16 p. Port.
Volume 11    2001
2    A Practical Approach to Water Supply and Sanitation in Asian Cities.
      Chattopadhyay, Subrata. XXXX, 19 p. Eng.
1    Gender Perspectives in Housing and Planning.
      Larsson, Anita. 2002, 20 p. Eng. 30
Volume 10    2000
2    Construction and Environment. Improving Energy Efficiency.
      Der-Petrossian, Baris and Erik Johansson. 2001, 24 p. Eng. 30
1    Climatic Design of Buildings using Passive Techniques.
      Rosenlund, Hans. 2001, 28 p. Eng. 30
Volume 9     1997
2    Woodless Construction - Unstabilised Earth Bric Vault and Dome Roofing without Formwork.
      Norton, John. 1998, 24 p. Eng. 30
1    Maintenance of Institutional Buildings - A Management Perspective.
      Carlqvist, Björn. 1998, 24 p. Eng. 30
Volume 8     1996
4    Organized Small-scale Self-help Housing.
      Rodriguez, Mario and Johnny Åstrand. 1996, 28 p. Eng. 30
      La autoconstrucción organizada de viviendas a pequeña escala.
      1997, 28 p. Spa. 30
3    Density in Urban Development.
      Acioly Jr., Claudio and Forbes Davidson. 1996, 28 p. Eng. 30
2    Regularization of Spontaneous Settlements.
      Mercado, Rodolfo and Ricardo Uzín. 1996, 28 p. Eng. 30
      Regularización de asentamientos espontáneos.
      1997, 28 p. Spa. 30
1    Services for the Urban Poor. A People-centred Approach.
      McRobie, George. 1996, 24 p. Eng. 30
      Servicios para los pobres en las áreas urbanas. Un enfoque centrado en las

      1997, 24 p. Spa. 30
Volume 7     1995
4    Design for Easy Access to Buildings by Physically Disabled Persons.
      Reuterswärd, Lars. 1995, 16 p. Eng. 30
3    Mortars for Masonry and Rendering. Choice and Application.
      Sandin, Kenneth. 1995, 20 p. Eng. 30
 2    Furniture in Warm and Humid Climates.
      Wadsö, Lars. 1995, 28 p. Eng. 30
1    Health Hazards of Building Materials.
      Berry, Roger, John Boxall and Derrick Crump. 1995, 20 p. Eng. 30
Volume 6     1994
3    Woodwool Slabs - Manufacture, Properties and Use.
      Johansson, Erik. 1995, 28 p. Eng. 30
2    Economical Use of Cement in Concrete.
      Fagerlund, Göran. 1995, 24 p. Eng. 30
1    Methods for Assessing Traffic Safety in Developing Countries.
      Almqvist, Sverker and Christer Hydén. 1994, 24 p. Eng. 30
      Métodos para valorar la sequridad del tráfico en países en desarrollo.
     1995, 24 p. Spa. 30
Volume 5    1993
3    Cement-bonded Straw Slabs - A Feasibility Study.
      Hermansson, Lars-Anders. 1993, 20 p. Eng. 30
2    Faults and Failures of Prefabricated Housing.
      Iwansson, Per. 1994, 24 p. Eng. 30
1    Design for Climatization; Houses in Warm-Humid Areas.
      Adamson, Bo and Olle Åberg. 1993, 20 p. Eng. 30
Volume 4     1992
2    Concrete Roofing Tiles.
      Johansson, Bo. 1993, 16 p. Eng. 30
1    Non-Sewered Sanitation for Housing and Institutional Buildings.
      Carroll, Ron and John Britten. 1993, 16 p.
Volume 3     1991
2    Energy Efficient Stoves for Institutional Kitchens.
      Micuta, Waclaw and Annette Wong Jere. 1992, 20 p. Eng. 30
1    Institutional Kitchens for Training Centres.
      Thede, Inger. 1992, 16 p. Eng. 30
Volume 2     1990
3    Low-Cost Paving.
      Carlsson, Ulf and R. Johansson. 1990, 16 p. Eng. 30
2    Small Scale Production of Roofing Tiles.
      Petersson, Jan and Kenneth Sandin. 1991, 16 p. Eng. 30
      Producción de tejas en pequeña escala. 
      1993, 16 p. Spa. 30
1    Termites and Construction.
      Mossberg, Björn. 1991, 20 p. Eng. 30
Volume 1     1989
2    Watertightness of Heavy Flat Roofs in Semi-Arid Climates.
      Johansson, Erik. 1990, 16 p. (Reprinted 1992) Eng. 30
1    Moisture and Mould in Dwellings in a Tropical Coastal Climate.
      Åberg, Olle. 1990, 16 p. (reprinted 1992) Eng. 30


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