With the expansion of housing construction activities, particularly in the rural sector, the need for research and development into materials and technology locally available was felt. In order to provide this service centrally, the National Building Research Organization (NBRO) was established under the Ministry of Local Government, Housing and Construction in March 1984 by the merger of former Building Research Institute (BRI) of the State Engineering Corporation and the Soil testing Laboratory of the Department of Buildings.
In May 1988, the NBRO was brought under the Urban Development Authority (UDA), by a Cabinet decision. The activities of the NBRO expanded considerably and covered the areas of Human Settlements Development, Environmental Development and Structural Engineering Research and Project Management. Research and Development work on disaster mitigation related to landslides was also planned and carried out from 1988 onwards. Thus research and development activities of the total shelter sector were undertaken by the NBRO.
Following the assignment of functions under the new Ministries in 1989, the NBRO was brought under the Ministry of Policy Planning & Implementation and continued to function as a unit of the UDA.
In September 1993 the NBRO was designated as a separate Organization under the Institute for Construction Training and Development (ICTAD) which has been assigned under the Ministry of Housing and Construction.
In January 2007, recognizing her long term contribution to the landslide disaster management, NBRO was brought under the Ministry of Disaster Management & Human Rights. Since April, 2010 NBRO serves under the Ministry of Disaster Management.