Rafters going up...
~ owner builder cost effective
~ virtually maintenance free
beautiful natural aesthetic
~ planet earth friendly
~ fire proof
~ termite proof
~ in-situ construction.
~ low carbon footprint
~ highly cyclone resistant
~ healthy living environment
My home construction.
Construction of the
two storey, 45 cm. thick walls
took place part time over a leisurely 18
The walls were hand rammed
within light-weight and easy to handle
wooden forms made of 19mm or
3/4in flooring ply and pine studs.
Comprising a corner form and a
Hand ramming has given the
walls a high grade of compaction.
Disappointingly some commercial
builders of R.E. with financial,
time & bank pressures are not
good grades of earth compaction.
Often adding much more than the
correct standard benchmark of
100mm (4 inches) of loose earth
layers to forms before each compaction.
This errant sub-standard practice
is devaluing Rammed Earths reputation!
were used for door and window jambs/ lintels.
The rail sleepers were
incorporated into the earth forms and
mechanically attached to the earth
Sleepers also assisted the follow-on
upward forms to be set.
The earth I used is a low grade
light yellow in colour & was
trucked to my site.
Light coloured Earth was
intentionally chosen to keep
a light reflective ambience inside
Deformed reinforcing rod is
incorporated vertically through the
The steel rio-rod is anchored to the cement slab foundation.
This gives good earthquake resistance & structural cohesion.
The rio-rod is then tied off at
the roof plate
making the walls
and roof of the house highly
Stable second hand massive
hardwood beams were
used for the roof plates and
Ground floor facing south.
passive solar design in building is
important in the climate of
We are all individually
responsible for minimalising energy consumption, where
better to begin but in our
homes where the majority of our time is spent.
It is also to our longer term
financial advantage to lessen energy costs.
Orientation AWARENESS of your
building block is essential to your plans.
The North and solar
facing front of this building is fitted
solar guard glass. This eliminates 85% ingress
of solar heat
during the day but
retains warmth at night.
Ground Floor photo
above shows the south facing windows when opened,
allow cooling south winds
to flow through to the upper floor,
where they exit via north facing french doors during summer,
In Australia &
southern hemisphere sunlight & warmth come from
the north, this needs
to be the first consideration when planning
and orientating your
Air and light well
air and light well ensures warming of the whole house
in winter and permits a
cooling airflow in summer.
As well the 45cm thick
walls keep an even temperature moderation
inside the home compared to the rise and fall of the exterior
This conscious passive
solar design makes the building energy
verandahs are incorporated around the second floor.
To allow verandah joists through
the rammed earth walls
corbled brick work was used.
Over 80% of the building work was
completed by myself.
I had help to lay the concrete
slab and to raise the roof.
The challenge of lifting large beams into place was basically performed
by Tirfor Winch, bamboo tripods
& brain cells.
Standing the two five metre 22cm x
45cm hardwood beams
at the north glassed face was
My home is situated on an exposed ridge top in
west Byron Shire
Northern NSW with a view of the Border
Ranges and Queensland.
Here the wind and horizontal rain,
can reach extreme levels.
June 2005, over 20 inches (500 millimetres) of rain recorded here in
forest around the house's perimeter presents an extra hazard.
A tropical low pressure cell in
1984 felled a tree top
on a temporary dwelling,
admittedly this particular
tree had previously been hit by
Living here requires a certain mountain man
Thus the over engineering of the
structure, especially the rammed walls,
provide a protective comfort zone
and safety in both serene and
building has now been withstanding the
elements for over twenty five years!
As maintenance goes, little has been done.
Some repainting to the exterior
The earth walls are showing no
weathering and I can only conclude that this
structure will be here long after
I shuffle off.
The promotion of sustainable, low
cost & energy effecient housing is
a most important cause in the use
of finite natural recources
on over populated planet EARTH.
am available to consult with any
owner builder intending
to create a rammed earth home.
Please contact me at
the email address below
assistance in your Rammed Earth project.
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