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Re: GSBN:Fwd: CASBA_ Pea Gravel

David and Anni (or Catherine et al),

I completely agree with your questioning of this requirement. In our dry
environment, we use all sorts of materials between the sills, with fine

IMHO, this brings up the ever-present issues related to what we codify.
Any mention of specific materials makes things like this prescriptive,
not open to performance qualifications, nor the ability to prove intent,
since no accompanying explanation of intent is present. Any future
attempts to codify bale construction techniques should have accompanying
intentions. There are too many environments and situations that will
arise conflicting with any codification of our work.

The recent work by Martin Hammer and everyone else in the past has been
wonderful, but I really think we can do better and qualify our intent,
just as other parts of the code include. There are accompanying text of
intent for code structures in Canada (B.C.) and whole sections of the
I.B.C. that have intent documents.

Anything we do with regards to codes will serve us better by including
our intentions so those of us in questionable circumstances can benefit
from any contributing work in these areas.


Catherine Wanek wrote:
I am forwarding this inquiry from the California Straw Building
Association (CASBA) list from award-winning architects David Arkin &
Anni Tilt. Perhaps this will stimulate discussion on the GSBN e-waves.

From: "David Arkin, AIA" david@...
Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2007 17:21:39 -0800
Subject: CASBA_Mem Pea Gravel
Fellow CASBAnauts (CASBAnuts?):

We haven't used pea gravel between our sill plates for some time now,
using rigid insulation instead. My opinion is that if a bale wall has
enough water in it to need 'drainage' (from any source), those bales
are goners.

The building official in Sonoma is citing it's recommendation in
SB332 as a good enough reason to require that it be there. SB332
says, "There shall also be a drainage plane between the straw and the
top of the foundation, such as a one inch layer of pea gravel." Does
anyone know of the intent of this?

More importantly, does anyone know of any testing as to why this
might (or might not) be a good idea?

Your thoughts (and/or Holiday Greetings) always appreciated,

David and Anni

* * * * *
Arkin Tilt Architects
Ecological Planning & Design

David Arkin, AIA, Architect
LEED Accredited Professional
CA #C22459/NV #5030

1101 8th St. #180, Berkeley, CA 94710

"There is no way to peace. Peace is the way."
Ñ A. J. Muste

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