Masonry: How to properly lay Concrete Hollow Blocks (CHB)


Archian Design Architect Studio Bacolod City

Masonry: Concrete Hollow Block Laying

Concrete Hollow Blocks

Concrete Hollow Blocks

One of the most common building material used is Concrete Hollow Blocks. Most construction systems in the Philippines lay out the structural “skeleton” of the building, usually reinforced concrete columns and beams, and then layout the rest of the building in CHB, as it is abbreviated. The popularity of hollow blocks or CHB comes from its modular use and portability. It is easy to transport, is standard like a lego block that can create all kinds of walls – even curves and cylinders!

CHB - materials should be organized in the delivery area

CHB – materials should be organized in the delivery area

There are different materials having modular use such as sand bags, bricks, stone and adobe blocks. But CHB wins over because of its simple composition – sand, fly ash and cement. Stones and adobe must be quarried from special location (its sources) and transported to thousands of kilometers to the site while CHB can be cast in all kinds of location on Earth.

Construction - CHB and Stiffener Column

Construction – CHB and Stiffener Column

There are many kinds of concrete blocks because molding them allows one to customize what one needs. But concrete hollow blocks evolved to mean the most commonly used ones: 4″ (100mm), 6″ (150mm) and 8″ (rarely used 200mm) which come in the same height and width 8″x 16″ (0.1×0.2x.4). Different structural strengths can also be produced by varying the amount of cement in the mold. Standard strength for CHB is 500 psi for Bungalow up to 4 Storeys and 700 psi for High Rise Construction. Walls in 700 psi CHB is considered as load bearing.

Philippine Building Construction - CHB laying materials

Philippine Building Construction – CHB laying materials

Because hollow blocks are a common material, non-professional people take them for granted in the site. As construction sites require large areas to be programmed for CHB, Sand and Gravel, careful planning for location on site ensures that masons working will have enough space to mix the mortar and install CHB.

Read Constructing a House in Iloilo City.

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