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GSBN:Should you try this at home?



<x-charset windows-1250>The WSJ article concluded: "'The lessons learned is that with straw bale,
everything has to happen perfectly for it to go right' says Mr.. Smith [the
architect, no relation to Dan].'But it turned out to be a beautiful
building."
 
That's an interesting lesson, since in all my years in construction I've
never known "everything to happen perfectly", and if it did, I wouldn't have
much to do.  But the article, overall, does bring up the issue of moving
straw bale to the commercial and large-scale market. Our experience with
Presentation Center, which was by the real Dan Smith, was that that the mind
set of regular commercial builders and subcontractors, very different from
custom residential builders, doesn't always lend itself to the fussiness,
care, and creativity that straw bale construction can demand. This requires
adult supervision from both the architect and the builder--not just one.
 
What's the lesson learned?  I think it might be a good topic for discussion,
and here's my two cents worth:  

*	From the design point of view, it's important in commercial design
for the architect to bring in experienced contractors and other consultants
(engineers) and get differing opinions and ideas from several, in order to
select and detail building assemblies and systems.  We tend to all have our
own pet systems, and the designer needs to do the work to evaluate which
system is appropriate for his project.
*	For construction, recognizing that strawbale will be new to most
people on the job, the builder needs to be prepared to offer the resources
necessary to solve problems, educate subcontractors, and provide an extra
level of care and vigilance.  This might mean a small extra expense and some
effort for the builder, but will provide insurance against costly
construction errors, cost overruns, and building failures.

It still ain't rocket science, or even brain surgery.  You CAN do this at
home.  But if you invite a bunch of commercial builders to do your job, you
had better stay on top of it!
 
John "The Fast Buck Stops Here" Swearingen
 

John Swearingen
 SKILLFUL MEANS
design and construction
 HYPERLINK "<a  target="_blank" href="http://www.skillful-means.com/"www.skillful-means.com";>http://www.skillful-means.com/"www.skillful-means.com</a>

 

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