Rammed Earth Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Can I use dirt from my own property?
A: Most dirt can be used as long as it is free from contaminants and has been tested properly. Depending on the size of your rammed earth construction an adequate supply of dirt will need to be provided to a certified testing company (such as Coffeys). The results provided will indicate to a qualified rammed earth builder if the soil is suitable to use and if so how much sand and cement are required to be added to the mix.
Q. Will using my own soil save me money?
A: This varies. If you prepare and test soil that comes back as unsuitable to use it may end up costing more. Sometimes by the time you do the samples and tests any saving has been removed. However if your build is quite large or you are in a remote area there can be considerable savings on freighting soil to site.
Q: How much do rammed earth walls cost?
A: Generally rammed earth construction is calculated on face metres. Width of walls, height of walls, curvature of walls (if any) specialty features, location and extent of customised formwork design all impact on price. There is no set per face metre rate. It is the characteristics, thermal mass qualities, aesthetics and design flexibility that make it desirable.
Q. Can I owner build with rammed earth?
A: Technically yes. It is important to understand the process, be sure you are able to identify any factors which may influence the quality of dirt (such as weather) and have the proper equipment required. Without the right techniques rammed earth construction may be unstable and may not pass council inspection. We would strongly recommend engaging a qualified rammed earth builder to supervise the rammed earth element of the build if you do not have experience in the building industry or with stabilised earth.
Q. Can you tell me how to build with rammed earth?
A: Yes. We do provide a consultancy service to assist architects and engineers however for legal liability reasons we do not provide technical information or training to owner builders. We have been involved in some Government training projects for special groups and projects and are happy to do those also. Please contact us if you would like to engage the services of Rammed Earth Australia Pty Ltd for consultancy on a project involving rammed earth.
Q. Can I hire formwork from you?
A: Yes. We often hire straight edge Flexi-form formwork to owner builders who have building knowledge and are confident with rammed earth construction. It is important to note we will only provide information on how to use, set up and pull down the supplied formwork. We will not provide any other training required to construct rammed earth to owner builders.
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