Trends and opportunities of using local sustainable building materials in the Middle East and North Africa region


  • Mohammed Sonebi Civil Engineering School of Natural and Built Environment, Queen's University Belfast
  • Ahmed Abdalqader
  • Sofiane Amziane
  • Leonid Dvorkin
  • Elhem Ghorbel
  • Said Kenai
  • Jamal Khatib
  • Natalia Lushnikova
  • Arnaud Perrot



Bio-based Construction, Gypsum, Construction and Demolition Waste, 3D Earth Printing, Rammed Earth, Solid Waste Incineration Ash


In recent decades, most of construction activities have been taking place in developing countries such as the Middle East and North Africa region. The expansion in infrastructure has great impact in the technological, social, economic and environmental transformation of this region. Construction sector contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) varies throughout the region and ranges between 2-10%. Currently, sustainable construction requires integrated and comprehensive sustainable design including careful choice of materials and methods. Materials that are locally available and require less energy to produce and transport would pave the way to more sustainable practices. Many countries in the region have realised the benefits of using local building materials on the economy, society and environment. This paper outlines the key trends and opportunities of using sustainable and affordable local building materials in the region to respond to the global climate change crisis and to promote more sustainable and environmentally friendly practices. The current practice of using various building materials such as bio-based materials, treated municipal solid waste incineration bottom ash (MSWI-BA), construction and demolition waste, gypsum-containing by-products (phosphorgypsum, FGD gypsum, borogypsum and others) and rammed earth will be reviewed. It is concluded that the use of these local building materials in construction activities would foster the development of the society. However, some of these materials are already developed and reached the implementation stage while most of them are still at R&D stage. Therefore, there is an urgent need for a comprehensive local and regional strategies to enhance the utilization of these materials.

Author Biography

Mohammed Sonebi, Civil Engineering School of Natural and Built Environment, Queen's University Belfast

Example of an earthen construction




How to Cite

Sonebi, M.; Abdalqader, A.; Amziane, S.; Dvorkin, L.; Ghorbel, E.; Kenai, S.; Khatib, J. .; Lushnikova, N.; Perrot, A. Trends and Opportunities of Using Local Sustainable Building Materials in the Middle East and North Africa Region. RILEM Tech Lett 2022, 7, 127-138.




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