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GSBN: Digest for 2/13/06



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---------------------------------------------------------------------


-> Re: GSBN:French building code (DTU)
     by Martin Hammer mfhammer@...
-> Danish BY og BYG Resultater 033
     by Martin Hammer mfhammer@...
-> Re: GSBN:Danish BY og BYG Resultater 033
     by "Bohdan Dorniak & Co Pty Ltd" bdco@...
-> RE: GSBN:French building code (DTU): It's no disadvantage
     by "Dirk Scharmer- FSB" ds@...
-> US SB codes rehash (was: French building code)
     by Mark Piepkorn mark@...
-> RE: GSBN:French building code (DTU)
     by "Dirk Scharmer- FSB" ds@...
-> Re: GSBN:Danish BY og BYG Resultater 033
     by Martin Hammer mfhammer@...


----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: 13 Feb 2006 00:40:43 -0600
From: Martin Hammer mfhammer@...
Subject: Re: GSBN:French building code (DTU)

Andre -

Sorry it's taken a few days for me to weigh in on this.  This is a timely
question for me as I am currently steeped in the subject of SB codes.  Both
with my work on the proposed California SB Code and writing/coordinating
articles for the next issue of The Last Straw regarding SB codes worldwide.
Part of me wants to say - Wait 5 or 6 weeks and read TLS.  But at risk of
rewriting some of what will be in that issue, and in the interest of a more
timely and tailored response:

I share Rene's sentiment - "Beware of the pitfalls of a building code." and
that -  "The technology is still rapidly developing . . ."

BUT, I firmly believe that the benefits of a well-written SB code far
outweigh any detriment.  Creating a well-written code is no easy task, and
takes great knowledge, foresight, finesse, wisdom, skill, etcetera.  No
single person has all of that.  It is something I've been struggling with
for some time with the proposed California SB Code.  As well as living with,
and then revising the 10 year California SB Guidelines.  I'm finding that
thorough peer review is essential, and from as many perspectives as
possible.  

Most US SB codes, including California, were derived from the Tucson/Pima
County, Arizona code.  Although groundbreaking and worth much more than the
troubles it has caused, it, its descendents, and the few other unrelated US
SB codes are all seriously flawed.  Because of that, and because of a
request by the State of California, I've been developing a proposed SB Code
for the State.  The process was in limbo for a year, but it has recently
been put back on track.  I had 4 intense and productive peer review meetings
last week.  I am trying to forge it before imminent deadlines from the
State.  It's unclear whether it will be complete and have sufficient support
from the various "players" to go through the current code cycle here.   I do
have high confidence that when "finished" it will be the best SB code
available.

Regardless of whether it is adopted in California this year, I plan to
share/discuss it again at our Spring CASBA conference, as well as at the
September ISBBC conference.  I could do the same with interested GSBN
parties, or simply share it with you, Andre.   Of course it would carry much
more weight for your purposes if it were officially adopted in California
first.  

A year or two ago I put it out via e-mail to certain people for review.  I'm
especially interested in the non-US perspective, because I can see it
traveling across borders, and I have plans to get some version of it into
the International Building Code.  Although the name "International" is
currently a bit of a misnomer (there go those arrogant Americans again, and
will they stop calling their baseball championship the World Series), it is
beginning to be used internationally, either wholesale or in part.  If there
ever is a SB section in the IBC it should be as universal as possible.

The only non-US SB code I'm aware of is in Belarus.  It is an "Official
Technical Code", which Evgeny Shirokov describes as being much like the
Tucson, Arizona code, regarding bales, moisture, density, etc.  There is no
English version of it, so I assume it is no better or worse than what we
have in the US.  There will be an effort in 2006 to create a State Standard,
the highest level in the National Code.

Germany is about to finalize a very limited SB "Code" for a particular wall
assembly.  Certain things about it may help you (See TLS #53!), but it is
not broad enough for your general purpose.

Regarding the Danish 'By og Byg Halmhuse' documents, here's a description
from Lars Keller:
"Jorgen Munch-Andersen (MSc, CivEng)(jma@sbi.dk) was in charge of the
testprogramme at the Danish Building Research Institute.   I THINK: the
tests did not result in Building Codes per se. The tests resulted in
recommendations (Resultater 033). But, being published by the one and only
Institute in Denmark publishing these things, it is a very powerful thing to
bring to your building inspector."

I've attached a distilled version of the full document (in English) as
presented by Joergen at ISBBC 2004.  The full document is over 60 pages
long, mostly in Danish, with 8 pages in English (re: thermal performance,
moisture).   It is a collection of testing documentation and design
guidelines.  Without reading Danish, on the surface it seems to be an
impressive document.  As Rene suggested, it may be useful to you.  I suppose
it is in the public domain, but you should check with Jorgen regarding any
substantial use of it.

In a follow up e-mail I will send it by attachment (large file size) and
give you the download address.

Of the currently adopted US codes, I can't wholeheartedly recommend any of
them.  If I have to pick one I'm partial to California's Guidelines, because
it does not require pinning, but otherwise it is not that different from its
siblings. (See the CASBA website for its text and a summary of the 2002
revisions - www.strawbuilding.org)
 
In spite of what I said at the outset, whether there's a code, a guideline,
or nothing at all, most people say that getting permission to build a SB
building is not that difficult.  Especially after the ice is broken in a
jurisdiction.  At the same time there is the occasional horror story or long
battle, or there are buildings out there that we may or may not know about,
that are being built poorly for lack of officially enforced minimum
practice.  That is - a code.  And a government adopted code goes a long way
regarding insurance and financing institutions.  Both of those are
presenting real problems in a number of places.  So I come back to where I
started, advocating for a good SB Code (and earthen, bamboo, straw-clay,
etc, for that matter!) wherever SB buildings are built.

I will stop here.  You can read more when you receive the next TLS.  If
there is greater urgency for something in particular, I will help in any way
I can.  In the same issue of TLS you will see a wealth of information from
Bruce King regarding the latest on SB testing.  A precursor to his upcoming
book.  This information could be very helpful to you as well.  Testing and
codes go hand in hand.

I hope this helps. 


Martin Hammer
California, USA



> Helo everyone,
> 
> As some of you know, France is similar to Crestone in that we have no
> obligation
> to follow building codes. This 'anarchy' is very much appreciated by the
owner
> builders but has a the downside that we don't have the same common (owner
> builders and proffessional builders) incentive to obtain a french building
> code
> (called DTU).
> 
> T support the/future proffessional builders there is a certain demand for a
> french SB DTU (so proffessionals can more easily be covered by an
insurance).
> 
> We hope to have a national reunion this spring, and a future DTU will
> certainly
> be one of the main subjects. Some feel that 1 building method should be
chosen
> (imagine 15 cheese smelling guys and girls all having a different opinion on
> which method should be chosen) and other feel it should be a general code
not
> excluding anything.
> 
> My basic questions are:
> 
> - Are there any building codes (or other documents) that you feel are so
good
> they could be used as a blueprint.
> - How have you gone about in your country?
> - What's up in the rest of Europe?
> 
> 
> Any input is very much appreciated,
> 
> Andre
> 
> La Maison en Paille
> www.lamaisonenpaille.com



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Date: 13 Feb 2006 01:04:31 -0600
From: Martin Hammer mfhammer@...
Subject: Danish BY og BYG Resultater 033

Andre -

The full Danish Resultater 033 by attachment.  The download address is:

<a  target="_blank" href="http://www.sbi.dk/showfile.aspx?IdGuid={B639A92E-DD78-48DA-9410-42A58BE6B630";>http://www.sbi.dk/showfile.aspx?IdGuid={B639A92E-DD78-48DA-9410-42A58BE6B630</a>
}&amp;CollectionId={8041B1F6-6ECB-43E8-AB1A-F345F7F2DFCE
<<a  target="_blank" href="http://www.sbi.dk/showfile.aspx?IdGuid={B639A92E-DD78-48DA-9410-42A58BE6B63";>http://www.sbi.dk/showfile.aspx?IdGuid={B639A92E-DD78-48DA-9410-42A58BE6B63</a>
0}&amp;amp;CollectionId={8041B1F6-6ECB-43E8-AB1A-F345F7F2DFCE> }

Martin



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----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: 13 Feb 2006 02:19:01 -0600
From: "Bohdan Dorniak &amp; Co Pty Ltd" bdco@...
Subject: Re: GSBN:Danish BY og BYG Resultater 033

Hi Martin
Its looks like a great document
but translation?????
Bohdan
PS
Hows things going your end??
- ----- Original Message -----
From: "Martin Hammer" mfhammer@...
To: "GSBN" GSBN@...
Sent: Monday, February 13, 2006 5:19 PM
Subject: GSBN:Danish BY og BYG Resultater 033


> Andre -
>
> The full Danish Resultater 033 by attachment.  The download address is:
>
> <a  target="_blank" href="http://www.sbi.dk/showfile.aspx?IdGuid={B639A92E-DD78-48DA-9410-42A58BE6B630";>http://www.sbi.dk/showfile.aspx?IdGuid={B639A92E-DD78-48DA-9410-42A58BE6B630</a>
> }&amp;CollectionId={8041B1F6-6ECB-43E8-AB1A-F345F7F2DFCE
> <<a  target="_blank" href="http://www.sbi.dk/showfile.aspx?IdGuid={B639A92E-DD78-48DA-9410-42A58BE6B63";>http://www.sbi.dk/showfile.aspx?IdGuid={B639A92E-DD78-48DA-9410-42A58BE6B63</a>
> 0}&amp;amp;CollectionId={8041B1F6-6ECB-43E8-AB1A-F345F7F2DFCE> }
>
> Martin
>
>
>
> --- StripMime Report -- processed MIME parts ---
> multipart/mixed
>  text/plain (text body -- kept)
>  application/octet-stream
> ---
> ----
> GSBN is an invitation-only forum of key individuals and representatives of
> regional straw construction organizations. The costs of operating this
> list are underwritten by The Last Straw Journal in exchange for use of the
> GSBN as an advisory board and technical editing arm.
>
> For instructions on joining, leaving, or otherwise using the GSBN list,
> send email to GSBN@...HELP in the SUBJECT line.
> ----
>



----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: 13 Feb 2006 03:03:09 -0600
From: "Dirk Scharmer- FSB" ds@...
Subject: RE: GSBN:French building code (DTU): It's no disadvantage

Dear Rene and Andre,
I can see no reason on european and in my case on the german level of
building approval to assume, that regulations that are made in a code
becomes something that Rene calls a 'milestone': imperative rules for straw
bale construction.
The code regulations lightens the execution of doing it in their way, but
don't make it difficulter to do it in another way.

How does anyone come on this apprehension?

If only something is allowed, there is no reason to assume every other way
is forbidden.
Or is there somewhere a code, in which this or that way is strictly
forbidden. Most regulations allows the described ways, so there is no need
of doing other evidence. It's a benefit!

Although in the upcoming german sb-code (next issue of TLS) the direct clay/
earth plastered straw bale wall is not included, the code will open a lot of
doors to the apliance of straw as a building material (for example a
financial promotion of the goverment of 25EUR/m3 for every used straw bale).
It will push away the objections of many building experts and officials and
most important: It reduces the need of obtaining a case by case permisssion.

I cannot evaluate what it will be in france but can the fear of a rollback
be the reason for doing nothing?

My experience on our meanwhile 3 years- way of doing lots of tests an
certificates. Most of the officials are correct in their job and  are not
payed by the bad industry as I heared before. They've tryed to find a way
for straw to pass rules and tests, which are based on reasonable thoughts.

So: If you ask me: Go ahead france- make your own sb-code! Good luck!

Dirk

- -----Original Message-----
From: GSBN [<a  target="_blank" href="mailto:GSBN@...";>mailto:GSBN@...] On Behalf Of Andre de Bouter
Sent: Friday, February 10, 2006 8:18 PM
To: GSBN
Subject: Re: GSBN:French building code (DTU)

Dear Rene,

On a personal level I share your opinion. But as 'lots of people' want a
french
DTU to come about, I would like it to have as few mill stones as possible
if/when it comes about.

Do you know if the 'Danish By og Byg Halmhuse' doc available in English?
Lars???

Bye,

Andre



Selon Rene Dalmeijer rene.dalmeijer@...:

> Andre,
>
> Beware of the pitfalls of a building code. What gets into a code might
> turn out to be a mill stone in the future. The technology is still
> rapidly developing and changing a once accepted code is difficult.
>
> At present one of the best examples of building practice that I am
> aware of, besides the various US county codes, is the Danish By og Byg
> Halmhuse document containing best practices and relevant data. I think
> personaaly that this type of document/research is the best way forward.
>
> Rene
> On Feb 9, 2006, at 14:41, Andre de Bouter wrote:
>
> > Helo everyone,
> >
> > As some of you know, France is similar to Crestone in that we have no
> > obligation
> > to follow building codes. This 'anarchy' is very much appreciated by
> > the owner
> > builders but has a the downside that we don't have the same common
> > (owner
> > builders and proffessional builders) incentive to obtain a french
> > building code
> > (called DTU).
> >
> > T support the/future proffessional builders there is a certain demand
> > for a
> > french SB DTU (so proffessionals can more easily be covered by an
> > insurance).
> >
> > We hope to have a national reunion this spring, and a future DTU will
> > certainly
> > be one of the main subjects. Some feel that 1 building method should
> > be chosen
> > (imagine 15 cheese smelling guys and girls all having a different
> > opinion on
> > which method should be chosen) and other feel it should be a general
> > code not
> > excluding anything.
> >
> > My basic questions are:
> >
> > - Are there any building codes (or other documents) that you feel are
> > so good
> > they could be used as a blueprint.
> > - How have you gone about in your country?
> > - What's up in the rest of Europe?
> >
> >
> > Any input is very much appreciated,
> >
> > Andre
> >
> > La Maison en Paille
> > www.lamaisonenpaille.com
> > ----
> > GSBN is an invitation-only forum of key individuals and
> > representatives of regional straw construction organizations. The
> > costs of operating this list are underwritten by The Last Straw
> > Journal in exchange for use of the GSBN as an advisory board and
> > technical editing arm.
> >
> > For instructions on joining, leaving, or otherwise using the GSBN
> > list, send email to GSBN@...HELP in the
> > SUBJECT line.
> > ----
> >
>
> ----
> GSBN is an invitation-only forum of key individuals and representatives of
> regional straw construction organizations. The costs of operating this
list
> are underwritten by The Last Straw Journal in exchange for use of the GSBN
as
> an advisory board and technical editing arm.
>
> For instructions on joining, leaving, or otherwise using the GSBN list,
send
> email to GSBN@...HELP in the SUBJECT line.
> ----
>
>


- ----
GSBN is an invitation-only forum of key individuals and representatives of
regional straw construction organizations. The costs of operating this list
are underwritten by The Last Straw Journal in exchange for use of the GSBN
as an advisory board and technical editing arm.

For instructions on joining, leaving, or otherwise using the GSBN list, send
email to GSBN@...HELP in the SUBJECT line.  
- ----



----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: 13 Feb 2006 08:43:06 -0600
From: Mark Piepkorn mark@...
Subject: US SB codes rehash (was: French building code)

Ten years ago, Environmental Building News ran a piece about the
first SB code being adopted in the US. They asked me to write a short
update for the current issue (I'm on the editorial staff), in which I
relied heavily on Martin Hammer's deep code research and work
(thanks, Martin!), also quoting Joyce Coppinger and Chris Magwood
(thanks, you two!)... but its heart springs from the
more-than-a-decade-old topical discussions of folks like Matts
Myhrman and David Eisenberg and Bruce King in the years prior to
Tucson/Pima more than anything current. It ran with a photo of a
gorgeous project-in-the-works by Dan Smith's firm.

It's on the BuildingGreen website as free content, if anybody wants
to have a gander - seven decent paragraphs and a plug for TLS. The
presentation is geared for the more mainstream (and often academic)
green-building crowd. There's nothing particularly new in it for the
people here, but I thought I'd bring it up in case it's somehow
useful to anybody.

<a  target="_blank" href="http://www.buildinggreen.com/auth/article.cfm?fileName=150208d.xml";>http://www.buildinggreen.com/auth/article.cfm?fileName=150208d.xml</a>




Mark Piepkorn
mark@...
802-257-7300 x 104
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
BuildingGreen, Inc.
Publisher of Environmental Building News,
Green Building Products, and GreenSpec.
Available in print and electronically.
www.buildinggreen.com
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
122 Birge St., Suite 30
Brattleboro, VT 05301
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: 13 Feb 2006 10:51:58 -0600
From: "Dirk Scharmer- FSB" ds@...
Subject: RE: GSBN:French building code (DTU)

Dear Andre,
Frank Thomas, Australia has an english translation made by a accredited
translation service of our german fire resistance test report (90 minutes
based on EN 1365-1 and EN 1363-1, so it should be applicable in the hole
EU). He wants to have a small fee to recoup the translation costs.
46cm straw bales, 3cm earth plaster on both sides.
May be it's interesting for you, too. Emailadress of Frank:
strawbales@...
The free german versions of all our testings you'll find on www.fasba.de,
klick on info, then on downloads, and so on.

Soon you'll there find the document(s) of our general approval for straw
bales as an insulation material.
Hope to get Renes support for an english translation of it! :-)

Dirk Scharmer

- -----------------------------------------------
Fachverband Strohballenbau Deutschland e.V. 
Auf der Ruebekuhle 10
D- 21335 Lueneburg
Tel. 00 49 4131- 727804
Fax. 00 49 4131- 727805 
Internet: www.fasba.de
Email: ds@...

- -----Original Message-----
From: GSBN [<a  target="_blank" href="mailto:GSBN@...";>mailto:GSBN@...] On Behalf Of Andre de Bouter
Sent: Friday, February 10, 2006 8:18 PM
To: GSBN
Subject: Re: GSBN:French building code (DTU)

Dear Rene,

On a personal level I share your opinion. But as 'lots of people' want a
french
DTU to come about, I would like it to have as few mill stones as possible
if/when it comes about.

Do you know if the 'Danish By og Byg Halmhuse' doc available in English?
Lars???

Bye,

Andre



Selon Rene Dalmeijer rene.dalmeijer@...:

> Andre,
>
> Beware of the pitfalls of a building code. What gets into a code might
> turn out to be a mill stone in the future. The technology is still
> rapidly developing and changing a once accepted code is difficult.
>
> At present one of the best examples of building practice that I am
> aware of, besides the various US county codes, is the Danish By og Byg
> Halmhuse document containing best practices and relevant data. I think
> personaaly that this type of document/research is the best way forward.
>
> Rene
> On Feb 9, 2006, at 14:41, Andre de Bouter wrote:
>
> > Helo everyone,
> >
> > As some of you know, France is similar to Crestone in that we have no
> > obligation
> > to follow building codes. This 'anarchy' is very much appreciated by
> > the owner
> > builders but has a the downside that we don't have the same common
> > (owner
> > builders and proffessional builders) incentive to obtain a french
> > building code
> > (called DTU).
> >
> > T support the/future proffessional builders there is a certain demand
> > for a
> > french SB DTU (so proffessionals can more easily be covered by an
> > insurance).
> >
> > We hope to have a national reunion this spring, and a future DTU will
> > certainly
> > be one of the main subjects. Some feel that 1 building method should
> > be chosen
> > (imagine 15 cheese smelling guys and girls all having a different
> > opinion on
> > which method should be chosen) and other feel it should be a general
> > code not
> > excluding anything.
> >
> > My basic questions are:
> >
> > - Are there any building codes (or other documents) that you feel are
> > so good
> > they could be used as a blueprint.
> > - How have you gone about in your country?
> > - What's up in the rest of Europe?
> >
> >
> > Any input is very much appreciated,
> >
> > Andre
> >
> > La Maison en Paille
> > www.lamaisonenpaille.com
> > ----
> > GSBN is an invitation-only forum of key individuals and
> > representatives of regional straw construction organizations. The
> > costs of operating this list are underwritten by The Last Straw
> > Journal in exchange for use of the GSBN as an advisory board and
> > technical editing arm.
> >
> > For instructions on joining, leaving, or otherwise using the GSBN
> > list, send email to GSBN@...HELP in the
> > SUBJECT line.
> > ----
> >
>
> ----
> GSBN is an invitation-only forum of key individuals and representatives of
> regional straw construction organizations. The costs of operating this
list
> are underwritten by The Last Straw Journal in exchange for use of the GSBN
as
> an advisory board and technical editing arm.
>
> For instructions on joining, leaving, or otherwise using the GSBN list,
send
> email to GSBN@...HELP in the SUBJECT line.
> ----
>
>


- ----
GSBN is an invitation-only forum of key individuals and representatives of
regional straw construction organizations. The costs of operating this list
are underwritten by The Last Straw Journal in exchange for use of the GSBN
as an advisory board and technical editing arm.

For instructions on joining, leaving, or otherwise using the GSBN list, send
email to GSBN@...HELP in the SUBJECT line.  
- ----



----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: 13 Feb 2006 15:12:28 -0600
From: Martin Hammer mfhammer@...
Subject: Re: GSBN:Danish BY og BYG Resultater 033

Bohdan -

No translation for the Danish documents that I'm aware of.  Try sending an
e-mail to Jorgen Munch-Ansdersen (jma@sbi.dk).  It does have many graphs,
numbers, drawings, photos, that need no translation.  I'm not sure if
attachments are going through, so the here's the download address for
Jorgen's condensed slide presentation in English:

<a  target="_blank" href="http://www.sbi.dk/download/pdf/jma_slides_halmhuse.pdf";>http://www.sbi.dk/download/pdf/jma_slides_halmhuse.pdf</a>

And the address again for the full document BY og BYG Resultater 033:

<a  target="_blank" href="http://www.sbi.dk/showfile.aspx?IdGuid={B639A92E-DD78-48DA-9410-42A58BE6B630";>http://www.sbi.dk/showfile.aspx?IdGuid={B639A92E-DD78-48DA-9410-42A58BE6B630</a>
}&amp;amp;CollectionId={8041B1F6-6ECB-43E8-AB1A-F345F7F2DFCE

(I mistakenly sent it in duplicate last time)

On a tangent note, I'm happy Dirk Scharmer is chiming in about his work in
Germany.  I didn't mean to minimize its relevance in my previous e-mail.
The imminent German code and the supporting testing is good work, and lays a
good foundation for future steps.  (Thanks Dirk)

Martin


> Hi Martin
> Its looks like a great document
> but translation?????
> Bohdan





----------------------------------------------------------------------

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