[Strawbale] OSB or Not? (rendering versus sheeting)

Dave Howorth dave at howorth....uk
Wed Dec 8 01:57:38 CET 2010

On Mon, 2010-12-06 at 23:18 +0100, asbn wrote:
> In Austria we have a huge (free) database for ecological products,
> the link: http://www.baubook.at/

Thank you for that link. An excellent resource.

> When you are a carpenter and build prefab houses you have to find certified
> CE-products (this is European building law - which is not yet in every
> European country national law) with the best possible ecological AND
> structural quality.
> In a wood-area like Austria you will tend to wood products, in areas with
> less wood and forests you will build more loadbearing structures.
> There is a difference in the building tradition and building officials
> accept loadbearing and directly plastered strawbale walls in some countries
> and in some others (like ours) not.
> The reason is a mixture of building tradition and experience and the
> influence of building lobbies, fighting for their products.
> When I build my own strawbale house (especially when it is a renovation like
> my old converted barn) I'm not bound to such products.
> But as a national strawbale network I'd like as many strawbale houses as
> possible in Austria (and Europe), and this means also to work with
> professional carpenters and build with straw in a sometimes more complicated
> way as maybe needed. But they have their liability...

In the UK there is a somewhat different perspective. Everybody has to
comply with Building Regulations for all building work. If you renovate
your own house, you still have to comply. So we care a lot that the
regulations are not too strict and worry that they are becoming more

But we are fortunate that the regulations are in the form of
requirements rather than a prescriptive code. So we can build
loadbearing straw bale as long as we can demonstrate its strength, fire
resistance, thermal insulation etc are adequate for the requirements.
And thanks to pioneering efforts in many countries, these data are

Many standardisation efforts are associated with trade bodies and often
seem to be attempts to create restrictive practices. CE-marking always
has this suspicion attached to it, though it is sometimes beneficial.

That means that the idea of a European prescriptive code is not warmly
received by many (most?) people here.

Cheers, Dave

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