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Re: GSBN:Cemento (combined responses)

I fully agree with the notion of regarding cement as a precious material to
be used with care and wisely Ð
Hence I regard it as being really dumb to use it in earth buildings as a
stabiliser to make what is effectively poor (I often use a different word)

I hate large foundation trenches filled with more of the material that
necessary where it is mostly used as for bulk stuffing, esp under wide straw
So back to rubble foundation trenches Ð has anyone any idea of how these may
be designed to work in a seismic area where the soils are often wet, and
where we need to keep the bottom of strawbale walls well above the ground
(say 300mm) to keep them dry?

As it happens I have been seriously asked to look into this,  this very
week, but most engineers here are stumped -

Here is a more thoughtful response than some Ð maybe there is some
information to be gathered from out there on this list?

I have seen rubble trenches a lot in books on eco building from the US.
I have no experience with them. I do not know of any recent buildings
that have rubble trench footings in this area. They have significant
advantages in areas subject to heavy frost which is not such an issue
here. With a rubble trench footing you generally need some kind of
concrete footing. I generally always recommend reinforced concrete
footings. A reinforced concrete foundation beam is required for the
earth walls to act as shear walls.  I am a great fan of the concrete
raft type footing and have  utilised them now in
several earth walled buildings.


Graeme North Architects,
49 Matthew Road,
RD1, Warkworth,
New Zealand 0981
Ph/fax +64 (0)9  4259305


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