Supply chain actors predominantly regard the commonly built latrine as being a model that is unaffordable for poor households. Total material costs vary considerably (depending on size and quality as well as location), but can be 3 million LAK (US$375) for a latrine consisting of the following:
The cost varies by province (Table 23). The average national cost is about 2.8 million LAK (US$353). These costs are for materials only. They do not include labor, or any additional transport costs (though some transport cost is already embedded in materials prices). The latrine costs are overwhelmingly driven by the cost of the superstructure. The superstructure accounts for around 70% of the total costs (Table 23).
Table 23: Latrine core and superstructure costs for a commonly-built latrine (LAK)
Region – Province
Total materials cost (LAK)
Total materials cost (US$)
Superstructure % of total cost
Note: excludes labor. Core defined here as pan, rings, lid, slab, PVC piping, and 20% of the total cement, sand and gravel used.
Although regional differences in costs in the above table have been standardised as much as possible, some differences in costs may be due to the quality of the materials used.
These numbers are not inconsistent with the WSP - Sanitation Consumer Behavior Study, where more than 58% of rural households who purchased their own latrine spent more than 700,000 LAK.16
It should be noted that the latrine core costs (that is, underground and ground level components) in the table above are the pan, slab, rings, lid and PVC piping and an assumption about how much of the cement, aggregate and bricks is used for the ground level structure and how much is for the superstructure. In addition, some of the bricks may be for ground level structure but here all bricks are included in the superstructure costs.
These prices are higher than those found by some other studies. For example, Plan International provided data that the materials for an offset pour-flush latrine in Bokeo would cost around 1.7 million LAK (US$210)17 – though this may be only the cost in Houay Xai, not more remote areas.
On average, throughout the country, the total material costs for a commonly-built latrine is 2,823,621 LAK (US$350). These costs are driven by cement (23% of the total material costs). Among the other items, concrete bricks to build the superstructure (13%), wood door (11%), wood pieces (10%), concrete rings (9%), gravel (8%), and PVC pipes (7%) are the most expensive items. The remaining items such as sand and zinc sheeting (5%), pan, lid and slab (3% each) have a smaller role in the total cost structure.
Figure 12: Cost drivers for commonly-built latrine (LAK and cumulative % of total costs)
As the superstructure accounts for about 70% of the total material costs, it’s possible to look only at the key cost drivers of the core structure (Figure 13). The core structure alone costs on average 889,285 LAK (US$110). As shown in the figure below, concrete rings amount for about 30% of the total core structure costs, followed by PVC pipes (22%) and cement (14%). These three items alone cover more than 65% of the costs for building the core structure.
Figure 13: Cost drivers for core structure (LAK and cumulative % of total costs)