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You are an early adopter!

Some of your friends are skeptical of your plans to build a rammed earth structure; one has even warned you that your mud hut will wash away in the rain.

At Terra Firma Builders, we know that even just to talk about using SIREWALL can be a daring step! It takes courage to be on the leading edge, and sometimes we need to build ourselves up to that.

As you prepare to take on your building project, we will arm you with the knowledge from our courses which will build your confidence. You’ll be empowered to educate those around you about the reasons you’ve decided to build with rammed earth, and take more control over how your project is perceived.

 

Can I pull this off on my own?

If you are in the trades or have good handyman skills, the answer is yes! You love the look and environmental benefits of the SIREWALL technology, you want build your home on your own, but recognize the need for some support. We have created a support package for the DIY builder so that you can leverage your sweat equity into creating a profoundly beautiful, healthy, durable, and functional home.

 

How do I start?

The best way to get started is by taking one of our courses. As a three-time recipient of Best Homebuilder in BC award from the Canadian Home Builders Associate, we’re well equipped to teach you everything there is to know about SIREWALL technology and help you manage any questions or doubts that may arise. We also encourage you to spend as much time as possible with the owners and builders of other rammed earth structures.

(While we encourage you to take our courses, it is not a prerequisite to purchase the builders’ package.)

 

Here’s how we can help:

DIY Builders’ Package

The builder’s package has everything you need to start building – we call this point ‘build ready.’

How does it work?

You build your own house! You can enlist your friends or else hire workers, but you will be the one in charge!

The Builders’ Package in Canada costs $7,000.00 US + $40 per yard of compacted material.

(works out to under $2.50 per face foot for a typical 12″/4″/8″ SIREWALL)

Note: travel and accommodation to bring the Master Earth Mason to your site is not part of the Builders’ Package and needs to be provided.

*Contact us for prices outside Canada.

 

Here’s what our Builders’ Packages includes:

  1. Prospecting trip – A Master Earth Mason comes to your site to sample and evaluate local soils, graph the results and insert the data into SIREWALL’s proprietary mix design program. Test cylinders are made and sent to a vetted lab. Colour samples are made, and a 3’ x 7’ test wall built.
  2. Mix design – A custom computer-generated soil mix design specifically for the soil in your area that will be used. This is one of the key steps that will ensure you get the strongest rammed earth possible.
  3. Enough SIREWALL Base Admixture (SBA) for your project – We require SBA to be used on all projects we are involved in; it is hydrophobic and adds strength. The quantity required is based on the scale of your project.
  4. Permission to use any of our patented processes for your one project
  5. Eligibility for discounted purchase of SIREWALL products such as tampers designed specifically for rammed earth, rammed earth steel cylinder molds, sieve sets, books
  6. A list of typical quantities of materials that make up a SIREWALL to help with costing
  7. Consultation with a Master Earth Mason in four separate 15-minute sessions – This time can be used to get support in dealing with architects, engineers, or building inspectors. It can be used to get advice on forming details, and selection of mixers, compressors, delivery techniques, and optimal production techniques. It might be used for trouble shooting, brainstorming, or design. How the time is spent is up to you, and more time can be purchased.

 

Build Ready training and technical support:

The very best way to learn how two build SIREWALL is by taking our Practicum course. The course in not a prerequisite to purchasing a Builder’s Package, but we strongly recommend it.

Alternatively, we are able to provide a small amount of on-site training when we visit your site on our prospecting trip. When we come to site we will create quality control and quality assurance protocols so that good quality will be self generating after we leave.

We will help you select the best equipment for your project’s scale and detailing, and can help you with project specific advice on forming, delivery, ramming, reinforcing, and insulation details. We will also support you in getting approval from your building inspector.

Optional TOOLS, PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Attend our SIREWALL Practicum course

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 begins to make sense.

Rammed earth tampers

There are repetitive and familiar failures to most commercially available tampers (which aren’t designed for rammed earth). We are beginning to manufacture a more durable and worker friendly rammed earth tamper, which our limited field trials approve of.

Until we gather robust field data on our tampers’ performance, we will be selling them for the lowest prices you will find the industry.

Compressive testing molds

Most rammed earth builders don’t do compressive testing (and that lack of professionalism gives rammed earth a bad name). Those that do, will typically ram into 6” PVC pipe. The problem with this (aside from supporting the PVC industry) is that the pipe will go fluidly ovoid as the ramming is being done, which isn’t representative of the stiff forms that the rammed earth will be rammed into. The result is strengths that aren’t representative. It is possible to buy off-the-shelf 6” diameter by 12” tall concrete molds made of steel, but the top is really hard to ram.

We have a limited run of 6” diameter by 16” tall rammed earth molds made of steel, available for purchase.

Additional remote support

The Builder’s Package includes a total of 60 minutes of consulting and support – typically by telephone or Skype – to go through all the steps laid out above in the above “Prospecting Trip” item.

One of our Master Earth Masons is available for additional remote or on-site support. Professional rates apply.

I’m ready to purchase a Builders’ package to build my own home. What’s the next step?

We’d love to make your project the best it can be!

We offer a free initial consultation to see if what we do is a fit with what you envision.

Contact us

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