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Re: GSBN:fire test -- your opinions?
I don't know if those numbers will help anyone make a decision, but I
figured I'd throw them out there. There's more reported use of earth
plaster than I expected there to be.
I suspect if an analysis over time were available it would
show earth render gaining in popularity. In NoCal that's
certainly been a trend. As we learn more about using clay
and lime and as building officials become more accepting of
alternatives to cement render, the ratio moves. In the
'early days' SB in this area was almost exclusively cement
plastered. (And some building contractors still won't
consider anything else.)
While I appreciate the limited capacity and time constraints
of the proposed testing, and agree that most
urban/commercial type projects needing a fire rating would
be concrete, it seems that the general fire insurance aspect
might have an impact on all SB structures. If the tests were
to show a two hour rating (or better), the underwriters
might be a little more friendly to bale wall structures.
It's conceivable that insurance could be easier to come by
and rates might be lower which would have an impact on the
whole SB community.
It seems that orientation of the bales would be less
important than type of render. The straw is just insulation
and a substrate for the plaster. I'd suggest both test walls
be edge stacked (answer that popping string question) - one
with portland/lime and the other clay rendered. Do the tests
and see what happens. Write it up and show the videos &c. If
it seems warranted perhaps there could be a later round of
testing based on analysis of the results.