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Finishing Works



The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) along with the Philippine Council for Industry and Energy Research and Development (PCIERD) coordinated with the University of the Philippines Building Research Service (UP BRS) for the project entitled "Compendium of Indigenous Building Materials and Technologies" or "CIBMAT" for short. This project was accomplished by the UP BRS CIBMAT project team with the guidance of DOST and PCIERD, and the cooperation of countless private companies, government agencies, and institutions. DOST and PCIERD provided the financial requirements of the project as well as beneficial advice on data gathering strategies. The companies, agencies, and institutions provided the necessary technical data and practical information on a certain material or technology by giving the project team access to various forms of reference such as books, brochures, manuals, research papers, and related literature. In return for their assistance, a certain section of this compendium was allotted for the advertisement and recognition of these groups.

The CIBMAT project output consists of two parts, a resource book on indigenous building materials and technologies and an electronic database that could be accessed on the Internet, which also provided the same information as the resource book. Information such as general background, technical information, and other relevant facts on specific materials and technologies are mentioned. This material or technology entry may either be commercially available or a product of research. Sample housing schemes are presented in the resource book using the same materials enumerated in the compendium. The purpose of these schemes is to promote the use of indigenous building materials and technologies in the construction of low cost houses. The schemes include description, drawings, and costing. Also, the resource book includes a study on the perception of various sectors on the performance of locally available or manufactured building materials based on their experience. Survey questionnaires were passed to individuals who are members of these sectors. The respondents were classified into two main sectors: 1) the professionals and people from the academe particularly civil engineers and architects, 2) the marketing sector which includes the material manufacturers, consumers, and contractors. This study helps assess the performance of indigenous building materials.

The principal goal of the CIBMAT project is to increase the awareness on the existence of indigenous building materials and technologies. A lot of these have already been existing for years but lack exposure. These can be used as an alternative for the conventional materials and technologies used in construction, which can lead to significant savings in the cost of a project. Through the availability of CIBMAT on the Internet, exchange and dissemination of information is done easily. This contributes to the worldwide exchange of information on building materials and technologies.


For thousands of years, man has inhabited all regions of the earth, from the most favorable terrain to places with the harshest of climates. Man has made great strides to master his natural environment instead of migrating to a more congenial and comfortable climate. His choice of building materials was dictated by what was locally available; ice in polar regions, sand and stone in dessert regions, timber and stone in temperate regions, timber and bamboo in tropical regions, and mud in warmer regions. The choice and improvement of these materials coincide with the development of human ingenuity. Materials available today evolved from simple materials through experience, scientific experimentation, evaluation, and technology development.

In modern times, building materials account to over two-thirds of the total building cost of a structure. The constant increase in the cost of building housing units and the continuous growth of urban and rural poor are among the problems that plague the housing industry at the present. This has put strain on the capability of the Philippine government and private sectors in addressing the problem on housing backlog.

Indigenous building materials can be generally defined as materials that are locally produced and manufactured, naturally occurring, and abundant on a certain region. On the other hand, indigenous building technologies are knowledge, skills, or methods in building construction that are local in origin. These materials and technologies evolved from generation to generation, promoting continuity in the life of a family or community. In the case of the compendium, slight modifications have been made in these definitions in order to provide a more practical and complete collection of building materials and technologies. A material whose base material is supplied by another country, such as steel, is also included in this compendium given that the material is manufactured locally, such as steel-based roof sheets. Foreign building technologies that are already practiced here by Filipinos are also included.

The advantage of indigenous building materials is that it is within the reach of the masses. The cost does not go as fast as those of energy, transportation, and skilled labor do. Also, since it is locally produced, cost is much less than imported building materials because of less transportation costs. Most indigenous building materials and technologies may possess some or all of the following characteristics: uses renewable resources, uses materials that causes minimal contribution to pollution, permits recycling of materials, and does not lead to large scale exploitation of natural resources because of decentralized mode of application. The use of indigenous building materials and technologies is recommended because it is environmentally friendly, accessible, and costs less. The large housing backlog can be blamed on limited material and financial resources. The utilization of indigenous building materials and technologies may provide the solution to this problem.

Different building materials and technologies have been developed and tested, and in fact are being promoted by researchers, contractors, manufacturers, technologists, architects, and developers. These include building materials such as interlocking hollow blocks, compressed earth blocks, and wood wool cement boards. Sadly, there is a lack in awareness of these materials and technologies due to inadequate promotion. Inaccessibility to sources of appropriate technical assistance and the perception of additional costs involved have also contributed to the hindrance of appreciation and application of these materials and technologies. It is the aim of this compendium to eliminate misconceptions regarding indigenous building materials and technologies by presenting facts and figures obtained from the actual manufacturers and researchers. The publishing of the resource book and the posting of the electronic database on the Internet will help increase the awareness of people on indigenous building materials and technologies, and help promote its usage.


A Project of DOST-PCIERD and UP-Building Research Services