[Strawbale] Futility of quantifying properties of natural materials (was Re: compressing or not

RT archilogic at yahoo.ca
Mon Mar 17 14:03:21 CET 2014

On Fri, 14 Mar 2014 13:43:37 -0400, Menno Houtstra  
<mennohoutstra at yahoo.com> wrote:

> the fire department in my place,  amsterdam, objected against such an  
> unplastered wall because of little straws falling on the ground that  
> might catch fire!

It's been maybe 17 or more years so I forget the families' names, but I do  
remember messages sent in to the original SB List from either victims or  
friends of victims,on at least two separate occasions, reporting on  
catastrophic fires that completely consumed their SB houses while still  
under construction, when the bale walls were at the unplastered stage.

I also remember the sense of awe in the message of one of those fire  
victims, where he talked of the rapidity and intensity of the fire which  
consumed his house .

While it is true that tightly compacted bales don't burn easily, loose  
straw does, very well, and the resultant fire can be of sufficient  
intensity to quickly ignite exposed floor and roof framing ... and with no  
running water on site (which is usually the case with buildings under  
construction) the likelihood of the building being irrepairably destroyed  
before the fire department arrives (usually from long distances away since  
most SBH are not constructed in urban areas) is high.

The lessons learned were that keeping a tidy building site, (ie keeping  
straw duff cleaned up and under control during the building process (and  
after) when the exposed SB are still vulnerable) is of utmost importance.

A couple of the memories of those messages are returning jut now -- in one  
of those fires, it happened when someone was soldering a plumbing  
connection.  In another, it was when someone was welding steel  
reinforcement. With the benefit of hindsight it might be easy to say that  
one can avoid potential fire situations but the reality is that no one  
plans on having an accident. $#!+ happens.

=== * ===
Rob Tom					AOD257
Kanata, Ontario, Canada

< A r c h i L o g i c  at  Y a h o o  dot  c a  >
(manually winnow the chaff from my edress if you hit "reply")

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