[GSBN] Earth Building UK to Act as Repository for Global Research/Standards

Feile Butler feile at mudandwood.com
Mon Aug 25 07:11:21 CDT 2014

Hi All

A while back some of us were trying to establish earth-based expertise and what standards, etc. were out there. I am now trying to move this idea along to something more cohesive.

Earth Building UK (EBUK) is coming up to 5 years old and we have a new chair, Dan Maskell, who is very eager to get EBUK more active. I came on board as a director this Spring. We have divided ourselves up into sub-groups and I am leading the New-Build Sub-Group, but am also active in Knowledge, Skills and Education.

Under New-Build we have a roadmap which will probably take a long time to fully realise - but this is the plan:
  1.. Identify all of the existing standards and codes relating to earth building (a lot of work seems to have happened here already and I have contacted Bruce King, Martin Hammer, Jeff Ruppert, Andy Horn and Tara Shammer directly in this regard, thanks to their contributions or their being mentioned last time around). 
  2.. Identify the universities, colleges, associations and research centres that are actively or interested in undertaking research in earth as a construction material. 
  3.. Compile a comprehesive library of all research undertaken on earth in the research centres. This will probably never be fully achieved or it will take years to achieve it, but we have to start somewhere. I am so conscious that there has been so much excellent research carried out but if you haven't attended a specific conference, you will never hear about it and it could be exactly the information you are looking for. 
  d.. Survey the building control officers to find out what are their concerns about using earth as a contemporary building material (this will only happen in the UK and Ireland to begin with - but there is nothing to stop other associations carrying this out at local level), 
  e.. Identify the gaps in our knowledge that are obstructing the construction of contemporary earth buildings. 
  f.. Contact the universities, colleges and research centres with a list of research projects that will directly benefit the earth building community by filling in those gaps. 
  g.. Develop a training programme for building control officers disseminating the most up-to-date information available. Again, this will be geared towards the UK and Ireland, but the programme could be used as a template for other countries, to be adpated as necessary.
At the moment, it is all voluntary - so a huge task to be undertaken in our spare time. However, we are putting a few different fund raising strategies together, so hope to be able to dedicate some (decent?) funds to the task in the future.

So - at the moment I am at Step 1 - Identifying all of the existing standards and codes, Step 2 - Identifying the relevant universities, colleges, associations and research centres and Step 3 - Compiling a library of earth-based research papers. If you can provide any guidance on any of these steps, I would be very grateful. 

As I said, even though it may take years to achieve, if we can create some kind of logical, catalogued repository for all things technical in relation to earth building, it would be an amazing resource and really benefit the whole earth buildng community in our effort to promote earth construction now and in the future.

Please forward this to anyone who you think may be able to help. 

Kind Regards

Féile Butler
MRIAI B.Arch Dip. Arch Conservation Grade III

Accredited PSDP, Assigned Certifier

Co-Director of Earth Buidling UK

Mud and Wood

Grange Beg, Skreen, Co. Sligo, Ireland

T:  +353 (0) 71 930 0488 

M: +353 (0) 86 806 8382

E : feile at mudandwood.com

W: www.mudandwood.com
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