Adobe is a traditional masonry made of sundried earthen bricks and mud mortar. Despite a millennial history of buildings of architectural value, adobe still connotes a so called ‘not engineered’ construction type. Namely, the material and structural properties of adobe are still not entirely addressed, resulting in an equally uncertain normative framework for adobe buildings design. However, over the last ten years, a large research program has been conducted in the Netherlands to qualify the material and structural properties of this sustainable building technology. In this paper, a critical analysis of the current normative body for the material characterization of adobe is addressed. Guidelines, prescriptions and requirements related to test methods, materials selection and properties contained in the available building codes for adobe around the world are assessed. A critical normative review is performed using the most recent literature produced on adobe, with particular regards to the results of experimental tests and numerical simulations performed by the authors. On the basis of these findings, some issues have been identified in relation to the knowledge currently condensed in the norms for adobe. A series of programmatic guidelines is aimed at orienting future research on adobe as well as fostering the process of updating its current normative body.

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