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Modern Rammed Earth Activity
 
Despite the excellent publications and numerous example buildings by Easton in the USA and CRATerre in France, earth building has grown slowly in America and Europe. There are now about a dozen SRE builders in the southern states of the USA, whereas Europe does not appear to have any dedicated SRE builders.

However, in Australia, the popularity of SRE houses in WA created a demand for builders able to offer this new, attractive building form. Numerous contractors set up in business to offer this new technique, but not all had the required skills. Giles Hohnen thought that some cooperation amongst them would be beneficial, so in the mid 1980ís he set up asEg.
asEg - The Affiliated Stabilised Earth Group
For an initial joining fee and a continuing small percentage of sales, this industry group offered initial training, technical advice, cooperation on large jobs and the establishment of a database of all members work. asEg members are now in all Australian states and have built more than two thousand buildings of many different types and applications. A standardised formwork system (Stabilform) which can withstand the stresses of ramming and yet is fast and easy to erect, has been developed specifically for building SRE. A water-repellent admix (Plasticure) has been developed which is now used by all members. This repels water from the finished walls whilst also improving their strength. This allows the specified strengths to be achieved with lower percentages of stabiliser. The improving technical ability and assurance of quality offered by members has attracted leading architects to use this new material in modern architecture. In 1997, NATSPEC, the Australian national building specification system released its first Monolithic Stabilised Earth Walling Specification. This was largely based on the work carried out by asEg. Since then many governmental and semi-governmental bodies have become interested in this building medium and significant numbers of public buildings have been completed.
 
Earth Structures has been a member of asEg since 1992 and has made its own contributions to the development of this new technology. Recent innovations include:
  • Preferential use of cement that includes 30 to 35% GGBS, which is a cementatious industrial waste product from the steel industry that often otherwise has to go to land fill. This effectively reduces the cement used by the same percentage.

  • Development of SRE walls which incorporate insulation. These walls can meet UK Building Regulations for heat transfer and yet maintain a high thermal mass within the building, which aids thermal levelling.

  • Developed the technology for building SRE walls from Recycled Demolition Waste. Effectively this provides the means of recycling old buildings on brownfield sites to provide the materials for new recycled buildings.

  • Developed techniques for building and installing prefabricated panels of SRE. This appears to have exciting possibilities for production efficiencies and providing solutions in tight or difficult to reach sites.
Visit our Image Gallery to see photographs of some of the buildings incorporating these developments.


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T:+44 (0)1858 565436  F: +44 (0)1858 565536  E: info@earthstructures.co.uk
Company No: 5104506