Courses by Terra Firma Builders


Recent Courses by Terra Firma Builders:

2016 courses have now ended.

Congratulations to all our wonderful participants for another successful summer session.

We teach builders, engineers, architects, handymen, building inspectors, potential homeowners, and those with a general interest in green building.

Our courses are overwhelmingly well received, and everyone comes away from our course with an enhanced idea of what SIREWALL is, and whether or not it makes sense in their work/life situation.

We currently offer two courses:

Introduction to insulated rammed earth

This is a weekend-long course that includes intense practical and intellectual stimulation and touring SIREWALL homes.

Day 1:

  • We define and discuss the context for deep green conversations.
  • We explain the history of SIREWALL development, warts and all!
  • Later, a trip to a local gravel pit offers the opportunity to gain an understanding of subsoil and mix design.
  • Participants will have the opportunity to ram their own coloured samples.
  • After a catered dinner, we take a virtual trip around the world to understand the global rammed earth context within which SIREWALL exists.

Day 2:

  • After breakfast, participants can take part in a lively conversation about design and engineering of rammed earth.
  • We then take an extensive tour of existing SIREWALL homes that vary in size and quality of finish.

Spring and Summer 2017 course dates TBD

SIREWALL Practicum

This five-day course directly follows the introductory course, which is a prerequisite.

Participants are immersed in building the SIREWALL way in a hands-on environment. The scope of the walls to be built is tailored to the number of participants.

Each day ends with participants sharing what they have learned so far, which accelerates and deepens the learning. Participating in actual SIREWALL building, in combination with theory, discussion, and explanations, solidifies participants’ understanding of the technology.

Getting intimate with dirt to make something beautiful is when SIREWALL really starts to make sense.

Spring and Summer 2017 course dates TBD

Photos from past courses on Salt Spring Island, BC

Course FAQs

What will students learn by taking a course?

Students will learn exactly what they came to learn. It is extremely rare that participants leave with unanswered questions, despite some of them coming with very long lists! The main benefit to the amount of group-learning we offer is that participants leave with answers, even to questions they hadn’t yet thought to ask.

Why do you teach SIREWALL?

We became disillusioned with conventional homebuilding and made the move to SIREWALL. It is so important that people stop building toxic, disposable homes as such practices wreak havoc on the environment and are largely responsible for climate change. Building with SIREWALL is a sustainable solution that can lead to positive change, and we’re passionate about spreading the word.

Who are the courses designed for?

The courses are designed for people from all walks of life.

Those who have already benefitted from our courses include:

  • architects
  • building inspectors
  • developers
  • DIYers
  • engineers
  • environmental ambassadors
  • first-time builders
  • green-building enthusiasts
  • interior designers
  • technologists
  • tradespeople.

What people get out of the course is driven by what they want to learn. For some people the engineering segment is the most interesting, while others benefit most from touring houses we’ve built.

Some people love the networking with like minded individuals, while others are moved and enlightened by the depth and breadth of our green conversations.

Those who continue on to the practicum gain a deep and tactile understanding of the inherent pleasure in building in a way that not only aligns up with their values, but that is also a fun team-based endeavour.

What is shared by almost all participants is the realization that what is now possible in building goes far beyond what conventional building offers.

Praise for our courses from our wonderful attendees