Seems that every "natural" building system has major downsides. Any wood framed (stick/timber) is susceptible to rot and insects unless treated and requires lots of maintenance. Earth construction (bags, rammed, cob etc.) requires massive amounts of labor and many times can't be permitted. The concrete + hemp/air/wood systems are hard to permit and are hardly "natural".
Timber that naturally does not rot is available.
Building practises and design can be used that prevent susceptible timber from rotting.
Any building can be hard work if done by one person, look how many persons actually build a house for instance.
I prefer mudbrick construction in Australia.
Earth bricks either compressed oir puddled in simple moulds.
I use steel [2 to 4 inch] for columns that are lighter than timber tree trunks
John Daley Bendigo, Australia
The Enemy of progress is the hope of a perfect plan
I've done a straw bale workshop, and I like it. It seems to take less time to erect than cob, given that the bales go in mostly full size. It relies on insulation rather than thermal mass for a comfortable inside temperature. In my climate heat is more of a problem than cold. Straw bales are readily available in the area. I do prefer the designs that have a lumber framing system, more versatile. I live in timber country, so access to wood isn't a problem. With help, I could use site harvested lumber, we have plenty.
We are only looking to add tertiary buildings, like rough cabins and detached bedrooms, so we aren't so worried about permitting, although the California Straw Bale Association has done some remarkable work with getting building code changed to allow for straw bale construction in both California and Oregon.
At the workshop I attended, the straw bale walls were sprayed with clay slip and then a clay and straw coating was applied. I guess that I don't see it as very different from having to apply stucco to an exterior wall and having to mud an interior sheet rock wall. Actually I found the clay coating easier to work with than stucco or mud, and a lot more fun. The rough coat after the clay slip we applied with our hands. You just kinda have to get a feel for it. It reminded me of playing with bread dough, everyone needs to find their own technique.
Living a life that requires no vacation.
To do a great right, do a little wrong - shakespeare. twisted little ad:
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