[Strawbale] New project in oxford 6 x 11m building - help!

Ruth Walker walker_re2002 at yahoo....uk
Wed Jan 25 17:47:58 CET 2006

Hello everyone,

Well in my previous posts I may have eluded to the fact that at my 
place of work, a mental health work rehabilitation charity in Oxford, 
for which I am supervisor of a group of gardeners (we grow and sell 
plants and look after the garden), we are making a Cafe in what is 
currently my workshop. So we need to build a new garden workshop. There 
was some talk about building a big timber shed like thing. But having 
just been on LILI's strawbale building course. I said 'lets build it 
out of strawbales' and the idea stuck. I did some drawings and some 
costings (with help) and somehow I have just been handed quite a sum of 
money to build with. So the idea we have is to build a 6 x 11m external 
dimension rectangular 'workshop' out of load bearing bale structure 
pinned with locally sourced hazel and using reclaimed doors and windows 
and hopefully using some reclaimed/ second hand/ ex hardware store 
timber (there is a wood recycling organisation in oxford). With an 
wooden framed peaked roof with corrugated metal and plastic (for 
skylights) sheeting. The gable ends of the roof are intended to be 
board clad with shiplap or similar. Hopefully the foundations will be 
compacted rubble trench and then rammed earth tyres (more recycling and 

We have access to lots of labour and not very much money, it has to be 
built by the end of September when I am supposed to be moving back to 

The planning application is underway, But I'm a bit perplexed about 
building regs. I've just done a project plan which has made me tired 
just thinking about all the work this is going to invlove.

1) Has anyone had a building with rammed earth tyres as foundation? How 
did they do it? How can we get it to pass building regs?
2) What kind of floor should we put in this building? How would it work 
with the tyres.  I was thinking about floorboards with vinyl over as it 
will be a highly trafficed workshop which will need to be easily kept 
clean. Rammed earth floors seems like too much hard work, but would 
consider if easier.
3) Where near Oxfordshire can I get building straw bales? How much 
would I expect to pay?
4) Can anyone help about getting it to pass building regs?

Hope you can help, and anybody interested in volunteering for some 
experience would be highly appreciated.


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