[Strawbale] Straw Bale Panels & Straw Bales

Mark Harrison mark at harrisonembrey...
Tue Sep 15 08:58:04 CEST 2009

Derek Roff expresses his opinion very forcefully on the subject of straw bale panels and though he makes a number of valid points he needs to reflect that the straw bale panel is around because the market also known as the customer wanted it! If you conduct in depth market research as we have done then the profesional construction industry customer expresses their view very clearly on what they want from all renewable fibre materials.

The construction scene here in the UK is a frustratingly complex and ultra conservative industry with everyone working on professional trust backed with insurance support and financial penalties for failure to deliver over the life of a project or building, in support of any guarantees required. It's pretty much the same anywhere with a modern set of building codes, industry best practice and sustainable construction criteria and a meaningful health and safety system.

However having to deal with a professional industry does not mean that a straw bale panel shuts out the owner/builder or makes straw bale building less of a community project. In our model the opposite is the case we actively encourage non-professional builders, owners and even members of the general public to participate fully and with the support of the professional contractors who provide neccesary supervision to ensure professional quality control in line with all aspects of modern construction.

Where Derek is right is the need for a 'construction bale' and guess what we have also incorporated that technical requirement into the model as well, so much so that we can offer a construction bale with an engineered bulk density, and moisture level specification, in different sizes, still made on farm if required but also able to be made off farm too.

Derek's cost argument is also wobbly, we buy our straw at a price that is good for the farmer because we want construction grade material not animal bedding. This allows us to supply a range of products, construction grade straw bales, DIY interior and exterior wall panel components with or without straw bales, part-finished and fully finished panels with the option of site installation and panel finishing services.  

By the way we can manufacture onsite or offsite and still source our raw materials and labour locally in 99.9% of the situations we deal with here in the UK.

With volunteer labour we are no different in cost than onsite loose bale construction per sq metre. Against modern materials we are competitive against brick, block and ballon frame stick timber construction built by the trade skill professionals, we can certainly offer a quicker build and as many design variations as you would like up to four stories high

In conclusion it is clear that there is as in most things a market for everything and though I am fortunate in being able to choose to grow my lettuce myself but I also like the option of being able to choose to buy my straw bale building a number of different way's too! 

Best wishes to everyone!


Mark Harrison
Harrison Embrey

48 East Street
MK46 4DW
United Kingdom

Tel: 0203 2875886
Mbl: 07527 974637

Website: Coming Soon

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