Construction practices#

Arabian Peninsula#


Similar to other countries in the region, concrete is prevalent.


According to 2011 national statistics, the majority of dwellings are considered villas (62%). Concrete construction is prevalent.


Similar to other countries in the region, concrete is prevalent.


According to the 2020 census, about 53% of dwellings are apartments whereas 31% are considered villas. Concrete construction is the prevalent.

Saudi Arabia#

According to the 2010 census, dwellings are primarily constructed using concrete (94% in Riyadh and 67% in Najaran). Construction using block/brick is also common. Although used in minority of dwellings, materials such as stone and mud are also used.

United Arab Emirates#


Dwellings are primarily seprate houses (87% in rural areas, 68% in urban areas). Urban areas also have a notable number of apartments (24%), whereas rural areas have a notable number of huts (9%). Similar to other countries in the region, concrete construction is prevalent. However, there is also a more notable use of earthen construction as compared with other neighborhind countries.


The Caucasus consists of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. All three countries were formerly part of the Soviet Union until its disintegration in the early 1990s. As such, all three countries feature Soviet-style prefabricated buildings (known as khrushchevki) in urban areas. These structure types are known to be vulnerable to earthquakes and are often in a state of disrepair. In rural areas, stone masonry single-family dwellings are more common.


Acording to the census in 2011, the primary wall material of housing is stone in both urban and rural settlements. However, concrete structures (either panel or monolith buildings) are also common in urban settlements. The breakdown of primary wall material is shown in the table below.






















Not stated




According to the most recent figures available from the Azerbaijan Statistical Information Service (ASIS), as of 2019, Azerbaijan has 1.5 million buildings in total, of which 655,200 are in urban areas and 845,300 are in rural areas. In terms of residential housing, the total number of dwellings in 2019 was 2.15 million, of which 1.29 million are in urban areas and 858,700 are in rural areas. The majority of the urban inhabitants live in multi-family apartment buildings, whereas most families in rural areas inhabit individual houses.

Historical districts of cities in Azerbaijan contain dwellings constructed before the 1920s, many of which are in poor condition and in need of repair. The period of the 1960s and 1970s witnessed substantial construction activity and much of the multi-family apartment building stock was built during this period. These prefabricated multi-family apartment buildings — sometimes referred to as khrushchevki — are particularly vulnerable, as construction standards were often lowered in order to operationalize as many housing units as possible in a short period of time, and their design life was not expected to be more than twenty-five years.

After a lull in construction during the 1990s, construction activity has increased again after 2000, with several co-operative multi-family apartment complexes coming up in the larger cities.

Reinforced concrete moment-frame buildings, along with prefabricated precast concrete buildings make up most of the building stock in urban areas, with unreinforced masonry comprising some of the older housing stock in historical parts of the cities. Rural construction tends to comprise adobe and wood houses, along with unreinforced masonry. Unreinforced masonry and adobe structures are particularly vulnerable to earthquake damage, as they exhibit non-ductile behaviour under seismic loads. The mid-rise concrete multi-family apartment buildings constructed in the post-war period of the 1950s-70s are also highly vulnerable to earthquake damage given that many of them were constructed without proper attention towards seismic design principles and have not been kept in good maintenance.


According to the most recent available figures, from the 2014 national population and housing census, Georgia has 1,083,795 dwellings in total, of which 632,078 are in urban areas and 451,717 are in rural areas. Over 90% of the dwellings in the rural areas are individual houses, whereas just over a quarter of the urban dwellings are individual houses. 70% of urban inhabitants live in apartment buildings.

Around 47% of Georgia’s housing stock was built before 1970, i.e., over 50 years ago. In rural areas, adobe and unreinforced masonry structures are the most commonly observed building types. Most residential buildings in the urban areas are of Soviet-era construction, ranging from 6 to 12 floors. Commercial buildings tend to be smaller, up to 5 floors. Multi-family apartment blocks in the urban areas, constructed in the 1930-1950 period, are commonly known as “Stalin style” buildings, which are typically constructed using concrete blocks and fired clay bricks. Many of the Stalin style buildings appear to be of solid construction. Multi-family apartment blocks constructed in the succeeding era, in the 1960s, are commonly referred to as Khrushchevka housing blocks, and these are most often prefabricated concrete structures. Modern high-rise reinforced concrete structures are more common in Tbilisi and other big cities in the post-Soviet era, with a construction boom starting around the year 2000.



Multi-family housing is prevalent in Israel, commonly constructed using reinforced concrete. Although there are few single-family dwellings nationally (29% in 2010), the proportion varies considerably district to district (e.g., 9% in Tel Aviv and 52% in Northern). Across all dwellings constructed between 1985 and 2010, the distribution of heights was:

  • 43% 1-2 storeys

  • 22% 2-4 storeys

  • 18% 5-7 storeys

  • 17% 8+ storeys The percentage of buildings constructed with 8 or more storeys has increased over time. The distribution of heights also varies considerably by district (e.g., 48% of dwellings constructed in 2010 in Tel Aviv are 8+ storeys, versus 1% in Northern).


REF: Palestine project


According to the 2015 census, urban dwellings are commonly constructed of cement bricks (38%), concrete (25%), or cut stone (23%). Rural dwellings are most commonly constructed of cement bricks (53%), followed by concrete (31%).


According to national statistics, housing in Lebanon is primarily constructed using plastered block (81%), followed by stone (11%), block (3%), and block with stone (3%).


According to the 2004 census, common construction materials in Damascus include cement block with columns (56%) and reinforced concrete (21%). In Al-Hasakah, mud brick/clay construction is more common (48%). In Aleppo, stone construction is prevalent (41%).

Rest of the Middle East#


According to national statistics (2011), urban dwellings in Iraq are primarily constructed of bricks (49%) or blocks/prefabricated materials (38%). Rural dwellings are more diverse, including conventional dwellings made of block/prefabricated materials (28%), tents (19%), barracks/huts made of mud (13%), and conventional dwellings made of mud (13%), bricks (13%), or stone (4%).