Bricks to Blocks: An Exploratory Study of Policy and Practices in the Construction Sector of Bangladesh

Research Note
Published on 27 April 2023


In a move to promote more sustainable technologies in the construction sector, in 2019 the Government of Bangladesh introduced a shift from fired clay bricks to blocks in public construction. This policy was motivated by the low carbon emissions in making blocks, and to reduce the soil degradation and air pollution caused by bricks production. However, the policy has gained little traction and the implementation has been slow. A central information system to monitor the progress is yet to be operational. While the COVID-19 pandemic is partly responsible, there are major concerns among government officials as well as private sector contractors regarding the quality and costs of blocks. These perceptions are in sharp contrast to what we found in the literature and to what the technical experts involved in civil construction and housing research have to say. This bias is potentially reflective of people’s lack of experience with the materials. This exploratory research demonstrated a possible status quo bias whereby people are more fearful of the unknown, especially for any construction work that is expected to last for decades. We identified a few intervention and research opportunities to explore for improving the policy implementation as well as speeding the uptake of this technology.


Syeda Salina Aziz

BRAC Institute of Governance and Development

Anindya Barai

Development Research Initiative (dRi)

Rohini Kamal

BRAC Institute of Governance and Development

Munshi Sulaiman

Save the Children