Most alternative building materials have insufficient strength to resist the forces of nature or carry the roof. Here’s the strength comparison:
Historically, the low strength of alternate building materials has restricted their acceptance by engineers and building officials. SIREWALL has seriously addressed that concern, leaving no doubts.
There are 3 different grades of rammed earth and the most significant differences between them lies in their strengths:
This is not practical for the residential scale of building and seldom practical at commercial scale.
We have always been able to deliver a mix design of 20 MPa or higher, wherever we’ve built. We have heard the concern about poor soil from locations like Maui (volcanic), Shanghai (silt), Winnipeg (expansive clay), France (limestone), etc. With excellent results from dozens of locations, we are now very confident in SIREWALL’s proprietary mix design technology.
If you want to have your SIREWALLs built for you, then you should seek pricing from us or another SIREWALL Licensee, based on a specific project you have in mind. It is impossible to provide a cost estimate without a specific project on which potential costs could be based. Contact us to discuss your project.
If you want to build SIREWALLs yourself (and labour is typically around 2/3 of the build cost in N. America), here’s the best way we can recommend to go about it:
Again, cost will remain undetermined until the scope and scale of your project has been discussed with us.
The Builder’s Package in N. America costs $7,000.00 USD + $40 per yard of compacted material. Note: travel and accommodation to bring the Master Earth Mason to your site is not part of the Builder’s Package and needs to be provided.
Unfortunately it is not possible to give a standard cost for a SIREWALL. There are many variables such as:
It is also difficult to compare costs with other systems as most are incomplete or have many variables that don’t correlate to our system.
It is hard to find an alternative durable wall system with R50+ dynamic Rvalue that provides abundant thermal mass, structure, health, environmental sensitivity, acoustic attenuation, hygrothermic performance, and of course beauty from every angle.
Having said all that, we know of a competitor who is quoting $100/face foot (square foot on the face) for uninsulated, 5MPa (750psi) stabilized rammed earth (SRE).
Mix design is the process of determining the optimal mix of ingredients and proportions, given the soils that are available in a geographic area.
Most rammed earth companies don’t do mix design at all. Some use concrete mix design techniques, usually with poor results; others put soils in a bottle of water and shake to see how the soils settle out. Neither technique employs the science specific to rammed earth that allows for results with strengths higher than basic concrete, with a fraction of the cement.
Without mix design it’s not SIREWALL.
In these circumstances, a solution can be that we extend our stay when we attend your site during our prospecting trip. Typically we would stay for an extra 2—3 weeks, during which SIREWALL training can take place and quality assurance protocols can be established. Contact us to discuss further.
This can be more cost effective than the travel expenses for your crew to attend our course in British Columbia.
We have had success in Edmonton and Winnipeg where the winter temperatures drop below -40°
SIREWALLs have been built to 100’ tall, and to 51’ tall load-bearing (carrying concrete floors and a green roof).
Yes, the most backfill against a SIREWALL so far is over 30’ deep.
Well-built SIREWALLs will last hundreds and possibly thousands of years. Think about how long a concrete wall will last (SIREWALL has equivalent strength), and then add time due to the hydrophobic admixture in the SIREWALL that is not in concrete. This is a material for building a legacy!
Yes. How far it can span depends on how deep the lintel is. It can easily span most doors and windows. Picture windows and compound doors will need some engineering attention. In our consulting service we will provide guidance on this.
In our consulting service we will provide guidance on this but the final decision is in the hands of the Engineer of Record.
This professional, who is taking responsibility for the whole house, engineers the SIREWALLs as part of their scope. We provide support to that engineer in our consulting service.
If they are unwilling or uncomfortable, then we can jump in by suggesting engineers who are comfortable with SIREWALL.
We have a design funnel that expedites colour selection, and yes we almost certainly can make the colours you want. Our one caveat is that we don’t work with blue or green pigments due to their toxicity.
We are beginning to gain control over texture and sheen, but there is still some randomness in the outcome. That being said we are still the best in the world at this.
Yes, we have experience at this.
Yes, we have experience at this. (Learn more about the Living Building Challenge)
Yes, we have experience at this.
Yes, by simply adjusting the insulation levels. We have done work in this area too.
Yes, it has been for many years. (Learn more about what it means to be Red List Ready.)
Yes, ingredients are almost all re-useable for their initial role; for example, soil, foam, rebar, metal conduit and electrical boxes. (Watch this brilliant TED Talk to learn more about Cradle to Cradle.)
Yes, we have done this many times, but as with all winter construction, it is slower.
A simple ballpark estimate for time to build is 1,000 face-feet per month for a simple building. A face-foot is a square food of vertical wall face.
It’s a good idea to lock in a SIREWALL licensee, such as us, as soon as you are able.