Saturday, June 03, 2006

Yes But No

The local building inspector is having trouble getting his mind around rammed earth. Like many, he asked "why not ICF's?"

(to which a sharp witted rammed earth contractor friend said "ICF's are a really great way to feel good about Polystyrene and cement.")

The building inspector said "ICF's take much less time--and much less labour than rammed earth."

That is true. Pre-fab modular homes take even less time than ICF's. (Just as a McDeathculture hamburger takes a lot less time than a good mensaf.)

Which is all well and good, and clearly there is room for all forms of building under God's green canopy, no matter how filthy, ugly or temporary.

As to the notion of taking less labor--why is that a good thing? One of the many reasons why rammed earth is such a good thing is because it is so labor intensive and the materials are so common, simple and inexpensive. Wouldn't you rather give your money to a person in exchange for their labor than a factory in exchange for their highly processed filthy death culture styrene formwork? Who needs to pay for all that embodied energy that goes into the boring glossy catalogs, the ugly corporate denim shirts the 'reps' have to wear, shipping the factory-made polystyrene to my local big box blight on the land scape who will then mark it up so as to keep alive their particular form of wickedness (glossy catalogs, corporate denim shirts, etc...)

Lastly, ICF's put the concrete in the inside and the polystyrene on the outside. Unless polystyrene is your thing (and that's ok too) you still have to do something to your walls on the inside and outside. Unless you put concrete on the outside of the insulated concrete forms it will need to be replaced long before a rammed earth exterior will.

Who's saving time now?

Keep it simple. Cut out the myriand of middle men, middle women and middle managers. Hire your family. Pay cash. Re-use as much material as you can.

Are you finally getting the jist?

R A M M E D E A R T H I S F O R E V E R Y O N E !


gspeedlace said...

"You need to get your jameed shaneeneh!"

aliveandliving said...

:)i like you rant

dhollisx said...

I like your blog. I have also been interested in rammed earth homes for some time. I think they are positively stunning.

It seems the only places where it has caught on for the common joe dirt is in Australia. In the US (AZ, NM, NorCA) and Canada, it's reserved for the rich folks with a "green" bent. It's a huge undertaking to get your own home built, and most folks feel lost. It's even more difficult to build your own "alternative" home, because of the code Nazis and all the trades that are not familiar and less than willing to adapt thier skills to an unusual design.
I understand why people use pricy arcitects and builders. They need help and don't know where to go. I have spent the last 5 years educating myself on homebuilding. For my first run I decided to go with a more traditional (timeber-framed) option where I know I can do it with another helper and get assistance from the trades for the things I just can't figure out.

Next time around I'll probably try a rammed earth home, after I have the experience under my belt.

scarlet reynolds said...
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